Our current apartment has an awful hard water problem. It's kind of strange, because we only moved across town, but the water here is harder enough that our soap usage has almost doubled. Even worse, as the hard water deposits start forming on our showerhead, the water pressure in our shower would drop dramatically, and the water would come out in strange directions which tended to make quite a mess.
Now, to deal with this we could have looked for a commercial product, like C-L-R Calcium Lime and Rust Remover, but that product has 2 ingredients listed as OSHA hazards. Not to mention that it's listed as an irritant to virtually every soft tissue on the human body. Surely, there has to be a safer and easier way.
Like in almost all cleaning issues, I turned to Jill Potvin Schoff's book, Green Up Your Cleanup. The answer she provided, was simple, and really quite effective. White Distilled Vinegar.
Now, she suggests putting the vinegar in a plastic bag and rubber banding it around the head, keeping everything together. This wasn't really going to work for us, since we have a large shower head, which is wide enough to make it impractical to do the plastic bag trick. However, simple removing the showerhead and setting it in a pan with a deep enough layer of vinegar accomplished the same effect.
This isn't exactly a fast operation, mind you. But given that we don't need to run our shower all day, taking the shower head off for a couple hours (which given the amount of build-up, probably was a bit overkill). After we felt it had had plenty of time, I just took a terry washcloth, and rubbed the vinegar off the showerhead, with it came all the white mineral deposits. After putting the showerhead back on, the stream was stronger, and best of all it was straight.
Given the low cost of vinegar, I know we'll be putting this tip into practice more often. Hopefully, you can too.