Rather than relying on KDF or GAC, some shower filters work by adding vitamin C to the water. This can take many forms, but most often, it’s simply ascorbic acid.
When chlorinated water comes into contact with the ascorbic acid at the highest level, it is de-chlorinated and effectively neutralized – making it not nearly as harsh on your skin or hair. Vitamin C shower filters work exceptionally well on the water with chlorine in it – like from a well or municipal water source.
However, a vitamin C shower filter will not be as effective if your water also has chloramines (which are common in many places), sediment, or other particulates.
The Case For Vitamin C Filters
If you have been reading about vitamin C filtration, you probably have seen some compelling arguments in favor of them.
Here’s what they are:
- They don’t reduce water pressure: Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) and Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filters can often reduce water pressure as they trap contaminants, sediment, chemicals, and other particles. When water interacts with the ascorbic acid pellets in a vitamin C shower filter, it is effectively neutralized, so there’s no need for them to be trapped and, therefore, no reduction in water pressure.
- Only vitamin C filters work at higher temperatures: While yes, vitamin C filters can work in water up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, KDF filters, such as the Aquasana AQ-4100, can safely filter water up to 115F, which is still quite hot.
- Better skin and hair conditions: Some people see tremendous improvements in their skin and hair conditions after using a vitamin C shower filter. While no scientific studies confirm this, the ascorbic acid in the water may be hydrating and nourishing in a way that other filtered water isn’t.
- Improved respiratory conditions: Chlorine has been known to cause respiratory distress (source). When removing chlorine from water, people with respiratory conditions may see an improvement.
This is in addition to all the other great benefits that shower filters provide.
The Case Against Vitamin C Shower Filters
There are some convincing arguments in favor of vitamin C shower filters, but there are also some good arguments against them.
Here’s what they are:
- They are expensive: While the initial cost of a vitamin C filter may be comparable to a KDF or GAC filter, over time, they will be more expensive. This is because the ascorbic acid pellets need to be replaced every three to four months, while other shower filters can last up to six to eight months before needing replacement.
- They can be unstable: Because vitamin C is an organic compound, it can break down over time – especially when exposed to high temperatures. After a couple of months, the ascorbic acid pellets in a vitamin C shower filter may not be nearly as effective as they were when they were new. You will need to retest your water periodically to see if the filter is still working effectively.
- They don’t filter other particulates: If the water doesn’t go through a filtration media before it hits the ascorbic acid pellets, then any sediment, rust, or other particulates will not be filtered out. While sure your water might not have chlorine, it still may have other contaminants, including heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Related: Best Shower Filters
So, What’s the Final Answer on Vitamin C Shower Filters?
You must evaluate your situation to see if a vitamin C shower filter is right for you.
We recommend taking a closer look at your water. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Reach your water treatment facility and ask for a water quality report. This will tell you what’s in your water, how it’s treated, and more.
- Purchase a water quality test kit and test your water yourself. These are widely available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, and online.
- Collect a sample of your water and send it to a state-certified testing lab (EPA has a list here).
After evaluating your water and understanding what’s in it, you can better decide if a vitamin C shower filter is right. This way, you can enjoy all the benefits – without any drawbacks.
Vitamin C shower filters can be an effective way to remove chlorine from your water. However, they are not perfect. They can be expensive and may not filter out all particulates from your water. Ultimately, you need to decide if the benefits of using a vitamin C shower filter outweigh the drawbacks.