Shower Head Not Working? Here’s Why

When they work, they’re wonderful, and when they bust, it’s annoying as all get out. A shower head not working is an absolute pain. Luckily, DreamyHome is here to help you troubleshoot and get your shower in tip-top shape in no time!

The most common causes of a shower head not working are a clogged shower head, a valve getting shut off, or an issue with your shower head and shower arm.

Keep reading to learn exactly why your shower head is not working, and how to fix it!

Shower Head Not Working: Issues and Fixes

Let’s start by diagnosing the problem. Depending on how exactly your shower head is not working, you’ll have to do different things to fix the issue. The most common problem you’ll encounter is either having no water (or very little) coming out of your shower head. Alternatively, it could be leaking or dripping, or even have the inverse of the first problem – too much water pressure! Depending on what the issue is, hop to the respective section to diagnose the problem.

Problem 1: Little or No Water Pressure

If you went from a normally functioning shower head to one with little or no water coming out, this is likely where you want to start. Let’s begin with the easy fixes, and move on to the more involved ones in time.

Clogged or Dirty Shower Head

Over time, minerals build up in anything that tap water touches. This is natural, though an absolute pain when you encounter it. Begin by removing your shower head and soaking it in a vinegar and baking soda solution (roughly 3:1 ratio). Let it soak for ~20 minutes, then push out any blockages you see with a pin and your finger. If this works, great! If not, you may have an older shower head that just you’ll need to replace.

Replace an Old Shower Head

Theoretically, you should be replacing your shower head every year. Now, I don’t do that, nor does anyone I know – but that’s what the professionals say. So if your shower head is as old as you – it’s time for an upgrade. Go buy a replacement that you like at the hardware store, making sure it will fit your shower.

Shutoff Valve

If water is coming out of none of your taps, you’ll need to locate your main shutoff valve. You could have shut it off at some point by accident. If it’s on, however, it’s time to call a plumber for help. No need to mess with repairs that take time and knowledge that you likely don’t have.

Problem 2: Leaking or Dripping Shower Head

If you’ve noticed your shower head dripping when it’s off, or leaking when turned on, this is where you want to look. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Clogged Shower Head

You can refer to the above section on this same issue. It’s odd, but a mineral deposit can cause leaks or drips. The seals in your shower faucet valve could have been worn by stress from deposits and water pressure.

Poor Seal

If the water leak is coming from where your shower head meets the shower arm, you’ll need to replace the seal tape. This is actually really easy! Just go buy some Teflon sealing tape from your local hardware store. Then, you just remove the shower head and wrap a hefty amount (at least three full times around) of tape around the grooves to screw on the head. This will help form a seal and hopefully restore your water pressure.


If your shower head is new, you could have simply gotten the wrong head for the type of shower arm you have. Remember above, when I said to make sure you have the right kind? This is where that comes into play. To fix this, you’ll need to get a new shower head that actually fits.


Some shower heads (such as rainfall heads) actually hold water in the head. Once running water turns off, larger shower heads are supposed to drain backwards. Sometimes they don’t! To fix this, simply tilt the shower head down and give it a bump after your shower to help it drain.

Problem 3: High Water Pressure

If your water pressure is so high that you’re worried you’ll lose skin, this is the section for you. Generally, this isn’t a problem, but there are some fixes out there, so let’s talk about them for a moment.

Shower Head Settings

Often, shower heads can be adjusted to various settings (as I’m sure you know). Occasionally, these settings can be changed without you knowing (perhaps a housemate changed it), so it’s good to ensure your settings are where they should be. There is generally a visible knob or attachment which you can turn or press to change settings.

Home Water Pressure

If the water pressure across your home has increased recently, it’s possible that your water pressure regulator could be out of whack. The pressure in your home should be roughly 80 PSI – if you think it may be above that, call a professional plumber to take a look.

Final Thoughts

If your shower head is not working, there are several things to keep an eye out for. Firstly, you need to figure out what exactly is wrong – is there too little or too much water pressure? Perhaps it’s leaking or dripping? Whatever the presenting issues are will inform you as to what you need to do to get the problem fixed.

Generally, the first step you should take is cleaning your shower head in a 3:1 vinegar and baking soda solution. This will clear any mineral buildup in the head or base, and makes the water you’re bathing with slightly less mineral-dense. After that, it all comes down to what you think the issue is. Replacing the Teflon sealing tape (or the shower head itself) will generally fix the issue if cleaning didn’t. But if you are stuck on what to do, please just call a professional to diagnose your issue. Plumbers exist for one reason alone – to make your life easier.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.