How do Shower Filters Protect Your Health?
Shower filters protect your health by removing chlorine and other harmful elements from your shower water. These chemicals are more toxic in your shower than in your drinking water. Here’s why:
- Chlorine is re-vaporized in the shower, inhaled into the lungs, and transferred directly into the bloodstream. In fact, the chlorine exposure from one shower is equal to the chlorine you would ingest from drinking a day’s worth of tap water.
- The heat in your shower opens your skin’s pores. This allows your skin to absorb chlorine and other harmful chemicals in the water. This can cause skin damage and make existing skin problems worse.
- You’ll breathe easier when you’re not inhaling concentrated chlorine in every shower. You’ll see improved skin and respiratory health and possibly more overall energy.
- You’ll have smoother skin and softer hair within a week of installing a shower filter. Chlorine dries skin and hair by stripping it of its natural oils. After installing your shower filter, your skin and hair will take about a week to replenish their natural oils.
My youngest son Hugo suffered from excema patches – until we installed shower and bath filters and then all his eczema cleared up within 3 weeks. Although he can now swim in a salt water pool without any irritation, a chlorinated pool (or bath or shower) instantly brings out all the itchy patches again. Here’s our video where we test all of the filters in our house and choose the best one:
What to Look For in a Shower Filter
To effectively filter your shower water, choose a filter that contains both KDF and a complementary filter media, such as high quality carbon or Chlorgon.
Most water filters contain carbon filtration. However, carbon alone is not enough for a shower water filter and a small carbon filter cannot handle the volume of water that passes through a shower water filter. For carbon alone to work, the filter would need to be so big it couldn’t be attached to your shower head.
Thus, KDF is the key to effective shower filtration. KDF is a finely granulated alloy of copper and zinc, which removes or neutralizes chlorine, iron, dust, sediment, balances the water pH and softens it. KDF-55 (used in Sprite shower filters) reduces surface tension while removing damaging minerals, giving you softer water. This means you’ll rinse cleaner – and so will your shower. Soft shower water will help your shower stay clean longer, so you’ll also spend less time cleaning.
Also, don’t buy a filter that puts a carbon cartridge before a KDF-55 cartridge. Activated carbon takes oxygen out of the water, but the KDF needs oxygen to work properly.
Choosing Your Shower Filtration Media
Here are 4 types of filtration media commonly used in shower filters:
KDF is a mixture of copper and zinc. When water flows through KDF, a tiny electrical charge is created.
This electrical charge forces free chlorine to combine with minerals in the water (usually calcium or another alkaline mineral). The combination of chlorine and these minerals is a harmless chloride. KDF is most efficient at warmer water temperatures typically used in the shower.
Carbon removes impurities from water because it has a sticky surface. Carbon media comes in many grades but a high grade must be used in the shower because of the warm water temperatures. Carbon is primarily a cold water filter. It is most effective at temperature ranges of 50-80 degrees (F). So at higher temperatures, carbon needs to be used as a second-stage filter.
Chlorgon converts free chlorine and some combined chlorines into harmless chlorides. Chlorgon is very efficient at a wide range of water temperatures, so it’s a great combination with KDF.
Crystals, Magnets & Mineral Balls are used to soften water by reducing the size of the clusters of water molecules. This makes the water feel softer and makes soaps and shampoos sudsier.
Let’s have a look at shower filters that use each of the above filtration mechanisms.
Aquasana shower filters have a unique two-stage filter process for the healthiest shower possible. Stage 1 removes chlorine and enhances pH balance with a natural copper/zinc mineral media called KDF-55D. The second filtration stage uses a carbonized coconut shell medium for the removal of synthetic chemicals, THMs and VOCs that vaporize from tap water and are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, potentially causing adverse health and cosmetic effects.
If you’re sensitive to chemicals, or have a respiratory illness, activated carbon can make a noticeable difference by filtering volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) and trihalomethanes (THC’s) from your shower – as well as chlorine.
Sprite shower filters use KDF and then Chlorgon as a second stage filter. They remove chlorine, iron, dust, sediment, balance water pH and soften water. The main difference between the various Sprite shower filter models is how long the filters last and the design features of the shower head. All Sprite shower filters are certified to NSF Standard 177.
Removing these elements from your shower will not only result in healthier skin, hair and lungs, your shower will also be easier to clean since these filters soften the water and balance the pH.
Sprite Bath Ball filter uses KDF and mineral balls to remove chlorine, iron, dust, sediment, soften your water, and neutralize pH.
In my house, we have the Aquasana shower filter on one shower, the other two showers have Sprite filters - the Royale is my favorite – and we have a Sprite Bath Ball for the bath. Of course, in a pinch, you can fill a bath using your chlorine filter on your shower, but this takes a long time and you lose a lot of heat from the shower spray and distance the water has to travel before reaching the tub.
The only points to keep in mind with this bath filter is that (a) your bath faucet has to be straight (like the one in the photo) and cannot be curved – otherwise you cannot attach the filter and (b) you need to be able to adjust the flow of water coming out of your bath faucet. The water flow from your bath tap into the filter has to be slow enough so the filter has time to filter the water, without it overflowing.
If you’re unsure as to whether removing chlorine is necessary for you, I encourage you to just try one shower filter and see/feel the difference in your skin, hair, lungs, etc.