In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, shower heads were found to contain bacteria potentially dangerous to those that had weakened immune systems. Moreover, the researchers found that not only will cleaning with bleach not kill the bacteria, but in one case the levels were found to be three times higher post cleaning. 

While the risk to those in good health is low, the question remains how can a shower head effectively be cleaned?
Shower Head Cleaning TipsAccording to an FAQ document provided by Laura K. Baumgartner, Ph.D., a researcher who worked the project, shower heads are full of nooks and crannies that provide an ideal home for bacteria and other microbes. This also makes cleaning them very hard. Even though products with bleach remove many microbes, these mycobacteria grow back (and chlorination does not keep them out) after cleaning.
For most people, this is not really a concern. If you are immune compromised, you might want to consider changing out your shower head regularly. Additionally, microbes attach more easily to plastics than metal - if you are concerned, you may want to hunt down an all-metal (not metal-coated plastic) shower head.
However, Baumgartner suggests that people who have an immune issue (or are otherwise concerned) can:
  • Install an all-metal shower head (not metal-coated plastic), as many studies have shown that bacteria attach and grow better on plastic than metal
  • Change out your shower head every six months
  • Install a filtering shower head. There are several designed those that have immune issues such as this shower head, which was found effective in another study.
  • Take baths, which will create fewer aerosols.
Most importantly, the researchers do not believe that taking a shower is dangerous.  The best practice is to simply stay outside of the shower when you first turn it on, as that first blast may contain a higher load of bacteria.

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It's a good idea to clean

It's a good idea to clean your showerhead with a boiling water soak, or more effectively overnight in a bleach/water combo at least once a month. Not only will this destroy bacteria but can help dissolve minearl build-up that restricts water flow.


Bathing in your own dirt? Yes! I learned not to do that when I was in junior high school back in the 60's. That was a while back. But I did take a shower before I went to see my first rock concert ...Jimi Hendrix. :)
Much love to you. Going to soak my shower head in bleach and just see what happens.

I'll try that!

I'll try that!

shower head

Hi..I saw your note on The Money Pit and Im trying to find out if I should replace my shower head or just try to clean it with something...what model name of shower head did you get for $2.99? I like that idea ..of not spendig alot of money..where did you buy can contact me at I am a beginner in this DIY thing lol.Linda


to --> "No thing fearful"

this is also useful for birth control

While I'm not sure about the

While I'm not sure about the bacteria issues, drinking the first blast of water form the tap is always a bad idea because metals can leach out of the faucet and be in a higher concentration in that first blast of water.  Better to let it run for just a few seconds first.

Don't bother

Another part of the study says that bleach is ineffective at removing and preventing bacterial growth, it actually can make it worse and can promote bleach resistant bacterial growth.

showerheads and monty python

Tonight On Who Cares...

Oh well

Every week we take down our shower curtains bleach them and leave the shower heads soaking in bleach for a couple hours- always have. No one had to tell us there may be a potential for bacteria- just looking at the thing tells you that much.

no thing fearful

Greetings to you peoples- in my lands we are having many the traditions- One such as this for making the bacteriums not visit- One wearing one dozen glove of garlic in loop about the neck- or 2 clove garlic in each pant pocket for men, and around waist for the women- you will to be having long life and not fall to illness- you try you will see yes- Blessings to you hearts- Forgive English - I am much old and gypsy woman