Shower filters are effective at removing some harmful contaminants from your shower water. However, one must know what contaminants a filter can and cannot remove before purchasing one.
So today, we’ll be discussing how much a shower filter can remove from water. We’ll also give you a few tips on what to look for when choosing a shower filter.
What Will a Shower Filter Remove
As we discussed previously, many different types of shower filters are available on the market. The type of filter you choose will determine what contaminants it removes from your water.
However, here’s a list of some of the most common contaminants that shower filters can remove:
- Chlorine: Many water treatment plants across the country will clean water using chlorine. While this does an excellent job of killing bacteria, it can also leave harmful chemicals in the water. Many shower filters containing either a KDF or vitamin C will neutralize chlorine and transform it into a harmless substance (chloride).
- Heavy Metals: In some places, water may contain heavy metals, including mercury, lead, nickel, and chromium. These metals can be harmful if ingested and can also cause skin irritation. KDF-55 and KDF-85 filters can remove up to 99% of these heavy metals (source).
- Dirt: Some multi-stage filters often contain a sediment filter that will remove dirt, sediment, and other particulates from your water. This can be especially helpful if you live in an area with hard water.
- Bacteria: While most municipal water supplies are treated to remove bacteria, there’s always a chance that some could remain. Some shower filters contain silver or nanofiber filters, effectively eliminating bacteria from your water.
- Limescale: You may notice a white or chalky substance on your shower head or faucets. This is called limescale and is caused by hard water. While shower filters won’t remove all of the limescale from your water, they can help to reduce it. As part of a multi-stage filter, a sand filter can be especially effective at reducing limescale.
- VOC (volatile organic compounds) Reduction: VOCs are chemicals found in water and can cause various health problems. Some shower filters contain activated carbon, to specifically target VOCs in your water supply.
Now that we’ve gone over some common contaminants that shower filters can remove let’s take a look at what they can’t remove.
Recommended Reading: Best Shower Filters
What Shower Filters Won’t Remove
As great as shower filters may be, there are some contaminants they can’t remove from your water. Here’s a list of some of the most common:
- Chloramide: Some water treatment plants will use chloramine instead of chlorine to treat and clean water before consumption. While this does an excellent job of killing bacteria, it can also remain in the water and potentially cause health problems. Unfortunately, shower filters will not remove chloramine from your water – only slighty reduce the concentration. If you are curious if your water contains chloramine, you can contact your local water treatment plant.
- Fluoride: While some filters claim to remove fluoride, most of them aren’t very effective. Here’s an interesting test that the Truth About Fluoride ran to check how much fluoride a popular shower filter could remove – spoiler: it didn’t remove much.
- Pharmaceutical & Pesticide Reduction: In some cases, drugs or pesticides can end up in our water supply. Most shower filters may reduce, but not altogether remove, these contaminants. To remove these, a whole house filter capable of reverse osmosis is recommended.
- Hard Water: A persistent problem in many areas, hard water is caused by a high concentration of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Water softeners perform an ion-exchange process that can remove these minerals, but shower filters will not.
Determining What is in Your Water
Curious about what might be in your water? There are a few ways to find out:
- Check with your local water treatment plant – they should have a report that lists the contaminants in your water. Furthermore, their website may also have this information.
- Get a water test kit – a quick trip to your local plumbing supply store or a search online will provide you with several options. These kits contain test strips that will check for various contaminants in your water, including lead, iron, copper, total chlorine, zinc, bacteria, pesticides, and more.
- Contact a state-certified laboratory – the EPA has a list of state-certified laboratories that can test your water for various contaminants. This way, you can be sure that your results are accurate.
Depending on your water test results, you may or may not need a shower filter. However, a shower filter can still benefit even if your water is relatively clean. This is because shower filters can help remove many impurities that cause skin irritation, dryness, and other problems.
Shower filters can be a great way to improve your water quality, and there are many different types to choose from. When selecting a shower filter, be sure to keep in mind what contaminants you are trying to remove. This will help you to choose a filter that is best suited for your needs.