what is a shower filter

What is a Shower Filter and Should You Get One?

Are you tired of feeling like you’re showering in a pool full of chemicals? Do you struggle with itchy, dry skin or dull, lifeless hair?

Don’t let your daily shower routine be a source of discomfort and frustration. Consider a shower filter.

In this article, we’ll explore the types of shower water filters and how they remove impurities from your shower water. We’ll also discuss the potential benefits of using a shower filter, including improved skin and hair health, reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, and better air quality.

Read on for an overview of what a shower filter is, what it can do, and how you can know if one is right for you. 

What is a shower filter?

A shower filter is a device that attaches to your showerhead and works to remove impurities from the water as it flows through the shower water filter. 

Have you ever wondered what’s lurking in your shower water? While tap water is treated to remove any impurities, it can still contain traces of chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals like lead and mercury. These impurities can cause dry, itchy skin and damage to the hair over time. That’s where shower filters come in.

Most shower filters use different filtration methods, such as activated carbon, KDF, or vitamin C, to remove impurities from the water.

Premium shower filters can help improve the overall quality of your shower experience by removing impurities from the water. You may notice that your skin feels softer and less dry after showering and that your hair is shinier and more manageable. Additionally, using shower water filters can help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and improve the air quality in your bathroom.

shower head filter

Shower Filter Benefits

Have you ever noticed your hair and skin are dry and itchy after showering? This could indicate that your shower water contains impurities damaging your hair and skin. Fortunately, using shower water filters can help to improve the quality of your shower water and provide a range of benefits for your overall health and well-being.

patch of dry skin

Here are some of the potential benefits of using a shower filter:

  • Improved skin health: Shower filters can help to remove impurities like chlorine, which can cause dryness and irritation to the skin. By removing these impurities, shower filters can help to keep your skin feeling softer and less dry, reducing the risk of irritation and other skin problems.
  • Healthier hair: Impurities in shower water can also cause hair damage, leaving it feeling dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. A shower head filter can help remove these impurities and keep your hair shiny, healthy, and full of life.
  • Reduced exposure to harmful chemicals: Chlorine and other chemicals in your shower water can harm your health over time. By using a shower head filter, you can reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals and help to protect your health in the long term.
  • Improved air quality: The impurities in shower water can also affect the air quality in your bathroom, as they can be released into the air when water is heated. By removing these impurities with a shower head filter, you can help to improve the air quality in your bathroom and breathe easier.
What is a Shower Filter and Should You Get One? 9

Types of Shower Head Filters

You’ll find several different types if you want to use a shower water filter. Here are some of the most common types of shower head filters available on the market:

  • Carbon filters: Carbon filters use activated carbon to remove impurities like chlorine, sediment, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the water. Granular activated carbon (GAC) is the most common type of carbon filter used in a shower water filter, but filters with activated carbon blocks are also available.
  • KDF filters: Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) filters use a mixture of copper and zinc to remove impurities like chlorine, lead, and mercury from the water. They also effectively reduce the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water.
  • Vitamin C filters: A Vitamin C filter uses ascorbic acid to neutralize chlorine in the water. Vitamin C filters are a good option for people with sensitive and dry skin, as they can help to reduce skin irritation and dryness. Some even use essential oils for an added bit of luxury.
  • Ion exchange filters: Ion exchange filters remove hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water, which can cause dryness and damage to skin and hair.
  • Magnetic filters: Magnetic filters use magnetic fields to reduce the size of minerals in the water, making them less damaging to the skin and hair.
  • Universal filters: Universal filtration media are designed to fit most standard shower heads, making them a versatile option for people who don’t want to change their existing shower head.

When choosing a shower head filter, it’s important to consider the type of impurities that you want to remove from your shower water. Some filters are better at removing certain types of impurities than others. It’s also important to consider the cost and maintenance requirements of the filter, as some types may require more frequent replacement or cleaning than others.

Close-up of limescale on shower head. Calcification of a shower

What Contaminants Do Shower Filters Remove?

You’re probably asking yourself, do shower filters work?

Shower filters are designed to remove a range of impurities from shower water, but it’s important to note that not all filters are effective at removing all types of contaminants. Here are some of the common contaminants that a shower filter can remove, and some that it cannot:

  • Chlorine: Chlorine is a common additive in tap water that can cause dry, itchy skin and damage to hair. Most shower filters can remove chlorine.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): VOCs are chemicals that can be found in tap water due to industrial pollution and other factors. Most shower filters that use activated carbon are effective at removing VOCs from the water.
  • Heavy metals: Heavy metals like lead and mercury can be harmful to health when consumed over time. Some shower filters, such as KDF filters, are effective at removing heavy metals from the water.
  • Bacteria: Shower filters that use KDF or ceramic filtration media can effectively remove bacteria from shower water, helping reduce the risk of skin infections and other health issues.

On the other hand, there are some types of contaminants that cannot be effectively removed by shower filters. For example:

  • Hard water minerals: Shower filters are generally not effective at removing hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water, which can cause dryness and damage to skin and hair over time. Ion exchange filters are an exception, as they are specifically designed to remove hard water minerals.
  • Fluoride: Fluoride is a common additive in tap water that is intended to improve dental health. However, most shower filters are not effective at removing fluoride from the water.
  • Pesticides and herbicides: Some shower filters may be effective at removing certain types of pesticides and herbicides from the water, but not all filters are designed for this purpose.
  • Forever chemicals: Forever chemicals, also known as PFAS or PFOA, are a group of man-made chemicals that are used in a variety of products, including nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foam. These chemicals are difficult to remove from water, and most shower filters are not effective at removing them from the water.
  • Chloramine: Shower filters may not be effective at removing chloramine from water due to its molecular structure. Chloramine is a compound made from chlorine and ammonia that is used as a disinfectant in some water treatment systems.

NB: If your water has been tested and you find some of the contaminants on the list above that a shower filter can’t remove, you will need to invest in a whole house filter to remove them.  For instance, if you’re wondering if shower filters soften water, the answer is not really. They can remove some minerals but not enough to properly soften the water. For that you need a whole house water softener which will remove all of the lime scale and other minerals.

whole house water softener
As required by maintenance log salt is added to a water softener in a garage

How to Choose the Right Shower Filter

Now that you know the benefits of using a shower filter and the types of shower head filters available, you may wonder how to choose the right water filters for your needs. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a shower filter:

  • Type of filter: As we discussed earlier, there are different shower filters, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Consider the impurities you want to remove from your water and choose a water filtration system that effectively removes those specific impurities.
  • Compatibility with existing showerheads: Some shower filters are designed to fit specific types of shower heads, while others are more universal. Make sure to choose a shower filter compatible with your existing showerhead to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Cost: The cost of shower filters can vary widely, depending on the type of filter, brand, and other factors. Consider your budget when selecting a shower filter, and choose an affordable filter that provides good value for the money.
  • Maintenance requirements: Some shower filters require more maintenance than others. For example, some filter cartridges may need to be replaced more frequently or require periodic cleaning. Consider the maintenance requirements of the filter and choose one that is easy to maintain and fits your lifestyle.
  • Reviews and ratings: Finally, consider the reviews and ratings of the shower filters you are considering. Look for filters with high ratings and positive customer reviews, and avoid filters with consistent negative feedback.
plumber shower installation

Installation and Maintenance

Installing a shower filter is typically a quick and easy process that can be completed by most homeowners. Here are the general steps for installing a shower filter:

  1. Remove the existing showerhead from the shower arm.
  2. Attach the filter to the shower arm, making sure that the rubber gasket is in place to prevent leaks.
  3. Attach the showerhead to the filter, making sure that it is securely fastened.
  4. Turn on the water and check for leaks. If there are any leaks, try tightening the connections or replacing the gasket.

Once your shower filter is installed, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure optimal performance. Here are some tips for maintaining your shower filter:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Different types of water filters may have different maintenance requirements, so make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow their recommendations.
  2. Clean the filter regularly: Over time, shower head filters can become clogged with sediment and other impurities, reducing their effectiveness. Make sure to clean the shower head regularly to remove any buildup and ensure optimal performance.
  3. Replace the shower head filter as needed: Most shower filters have a recommended lifespan, after which they should be replaced. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and replace the filter as needed to ensure continued performance.
  4. Check for leaks: Periodically check the connections between the filter and the shower arm and the showerhead to ensure that there are no leaks.


Bottom Line

In conclusion, a shower filter can be a great investment for anyone looking to improve the quality of their shower water and protect their skin and hair from damage. By removing impurities like chlorine, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds, a shower filter can help to keep your skin and hair healthy and nourished, while also improving air quality and reducing exposure to harmful chemicals. 

With proper installation and maintenance, a shower filter can provide years of reliable performance and help you to enjoy cleaner, healthier shower water every day. So why not give it a try and see the difference it can make for your skin, hair, and overall health?

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