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A dirty showerhead is a risk to hygiene and health

Lifestyle

A dirty showerhead is a risk to hygiene and health

Bathroom experts have revealed that neglecting showerhead cleanliness can be potentially very unhealthy…

Showerheads can harbour harmful bacteria, such as Mycobacterium avium, which is associated with lung infections. Bathroom and kitchen specialists Plumbworld have shed light on a concerning issue that demands immediate attention—the dangers of not maintaining the cleanliness of showerheads.

A spokesperson from Plumbworld:

“While it’s easy to overlook the showerhead during routine bathroom cleanings, its maintenance is crucial for health. Beyond the essential cleaning steps, consider incorporating the habit of running hot water through the shower for a minute before use. This simple practice can help flush out any stagnant water that could harbour bacteria. Additionally, improving bathroom ventilation can significantly reduce moisture levels, further discouraging biofilm formation.”

Dangers of Not Cleaning Showerheads:

  • Proliferation of Pathogens: Showerheads provide a moist and warm environment that is conducive to the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. Over time, a biofilm—a complex structure of microorganisms—can develop, acting as a protective layer for bacteria to thrive.
  • Exposure to Harmful Bacteria: Among the bacteria that can colonise in showerheads, Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is particularly concerning. MAC is a group of bacteria related to tuberculosis that can cause respiratory infections, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, or those with underlying lung conditions.
  • Increased Risk of Respiratory Infections: When the shower is used, water disperses the bacteria as tiny droplets, which can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to infections. This mode of transmission is particularly efficient in enclosed shower spaces, where water aerosols are more likely to be breathed in.
  • Development of Antibiotic Resistance: Biofilms can also promote the development of antibiotic resistance, making infections harder to treat.

Preventive Measures and Cleaning Recommendations:

  • Regular Cleaning: It’s advised to clean and disinfect showerheads at least once a month to prevent biofilm build-up and reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Use of Vinegar Solution: A simple and effective cleaning solution can be made by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water. Vinegar is acidic and can help break down the biofilm, making it easier to remove the bacteria.
  • Soaking the Showerhead: Detach the showerhead and soak it in the vinegar solution for about 30 minutes to an hour. For fixed showerheads, a bag filled with vinegar solution can be tied around the fixture to soak.
  • Brush Cleaning: After soaking, use an old toothbrush or a small brush to scrub the nozzles and the interior surfaces of the showerhead to remove any remaining biofilm and mineral deposits.
  • Rinsing and Drying: Thoroughly rinse the showerhead with water after cleaning. Allow it to air-dry completely before reattaching or using it again.
  • Regular Use: Regular use of showers can also help mitigate the risk by preventing water from stagnating, which discourages bacterial growth. Ensure good ventilation in the bathroom to reduce moisture levels and further discourage the development of biofilms.

A spokesperson from Plumbworld:

“To further safeguard your bathroom environment, it’s also advisable to invest in a showerhead with antimicrobial coatings. These specially designed showerheads are treated with substances that inhibit the growth of bacteria, mould, and mildew, adding an extra layer of protection against potential pathogens.By adopting regular cleaning practices and being mindful of the conditions that promote bacterial growth, you can ensure your shower remains a place of rejuvenation, not risk.”

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