How to stop your shower head dripping, advice from a professional plumber

Have you noticed your shower head dripping even when it's turned off? We asked a professional plumber to diagnose the problem

Three images of shower rooms
(Image credit: Sara Cosgrove / Drummonds / Future)

So, you've perfected your bathroom setup and stocked up on your favorite toiletries for a heavenly shower experience. Congratulations! There's just one stumbling block: your shower head is dripping, even when it's shut off.

Don't fret. Leaky faucets and shower heads are more common than you may realize. In fact, alongside low water pressure in a shower, it's one of the most common issues plumbers face daily.

But what can be done about a dripping shower head? Does it need to be replaced or simply cleaned and descaled? We asked a professional plumber to share her industry secrets.  

How to stop your shower head dripping, 

'There are a few different reasons that your shower head might continue to drip after the water is shut off, but it is easy to fix after you determine the cause,' assures Audrey Monell, President of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning.

Diagnosing the problem

marble shower with seating

(Image credit: Future)

'Some leaks can be caused by loose connections or fittings within the shower faucet,' Audrey explains. 'For example, if the connection between the shower arm and shower head is not tight enough, the showerhead may be more prone to dripping as water can leak from the gaps.' 

Alternatively, mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate inside the shower head or faucet, which may be causing your shower head to leak. 'If sediment and calcium deposits obstruct water flow from your shower head, you might notice it dripping, even when your shower is turned off,' Audrey continues. 

Headshot of Audrey Monell from Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning,
Audrey Monell

Audrey Monell is President of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning. She has been in the plumbing and HVAC industry her entire life and since taking over the family business, Monell has led the company to a bright future even against turbulent times including the 2008 recession and the pandemic.

How to fix it

Shower room with textured tiles

(Image credit: West One Bathrooms)

If loose connections or fittings are the cause of your problem, the solution to your bathroom woes may be as straightforward as checking and tightening the different components of your shower head.

'However, if cleaning and tightening connections don't solve the issue, you may need to replace worn-out or damaged parts,' says Audreys. 'Over time, the internal components of the shower faucet can wear out, leading to leaks. You can find replacement parts at your local hardware store, and many manufacturers provide instructions for replacing them.'

If sediment buildup is the cause of dripping, Audrey suggests removing the shower head and cleaning it to eliminate these mineral deposits. 'To remove the more stubborn buildup, soak it in a DIY solution of vinegar and water first, then scrub it gently with a brush.'

Act + Acre Filtering Shower Head |

Act + Acre Filtering Shower Head | $120
This universal shower head filters hard water, heavy metals, chlorine, and other contaminants from your water. Plus, it's proven to improve scalp health and hair strength too.

When to call a plumber

Shower light

(Image credit: Keuco)

If DIY attempts fail to resolve the problem, it’s time to call in an expert. There may be a more complex issue that requires professional attention sooner rather than later.

'Some signs that you are dealing with a more serious issue are water damage and persistent leaks,' explains Audrey. 'Look out for any water damage around the shower area or adjacent walls, it could indicate a more serious leak that needs to be addressed by a professional plumber. In this situation, it's best to call a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem properly.'

Alongside maintaining your shower head and keeping it limescale-free, it's always a good idea to learn how to remove limescale from your shower glass too, to keep your shower clean and looking pristine year-round. 

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.