Here’s some news that could make your next shower a little less relaxing: A new study found that showerheads are rife with bacteria-filled slime that could make us sick.
Showering may cleanse our bodies of sweat and dirt, but over time, our showerheads develop scum-also known as biofilm-due to the warm, wet conditions. Curious to know what was living in this biofilm, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder collected samples from 656 households across the United States and Europe.
It turns out, showerheads are crawling with bacteria. Many aren’t harmful, but the team did find traces of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in showerheads across the United States. NTM is particularly prevalent in parts of Southern California, Florida, and New York – all areas with higher reported incidences of NTM lung disease, the study authors note. They believe showerheads may transmit the disease.
What does all this mean for you? You definitely shouldn’t stop showering, but you might want to think about cleaning your showerhead every now and then. Using vinegar, which has been shown to kill many types of mycobacteria, is a good bet.