A shower is a place in which a person bathes under a spray of
typically warm or hot water. Indoors, there is a drain in the floor.
Most showers have temperature, spray pressure and adjustable
showerhead nozzle. The simplest showers have a swivelling nozzle
aiming down on the user, while more complex showers have a showerhead
connected to a hose that has a mounting bracket. This allows the
showerer to hold the showerhead by hand to spray the water at
different parts of their body. A shower can be installed in a small
shower stall or bathtub with a plastic shower curtain or door.
Showering is common in
Western culture due to the efficiency of using
it compared with a bathtub. Its use in hygiene is, therefore, common
practice.[page needed] A shower uses less water on average
than a bath: 80 litres for a shower compared with 150 litres for a
1.1 Modern showers
2.3 Wet room
4 Types of shower heads
5 Use and ecology
6 Cultural significance
7 Structure and design
9 See also
A typical stall shower with height-adjustable nozzle
A combination shower and bathtub
The original showers were neither indoor structures nor man-made but
were common natural formations: waterfalls. The falling water
rinsed the bathers completely clean and was more efficient than
bathing in a traditional basin, which required manual transport of
both fresh and waste water. Ancient people began to reproduce these
natural phenomena by pouring jugs of water, often very cold, over
themselves after washing. There has been evidence of early upper class
Egyptian and Mesopotamians having indoor shower rooms where servants
would bathe them in the privacy of their own homes. However, these
were rudimentary by modern standards, having rudimentary drainage
systems and water was carried, not pumped, into the room. The ancient
Greeks were the first people to have showers. Their aqueducts and
sewage systems made of lead pipes allowed water to be pumped both into
and out of large communal shower rooms used by elites and common
citizens alike. These rooms have been discovered at the site of the
Pergamum and can also be found represented in pottery of the era.
The depictions are very similar to modern locker room showers, and
even included bars to hang up clothing.[page needed] The
ancient Romans also followed this convention; their famous bathhouses
(Thermae) can be found all around the Mediterranean and as far out as
modern-day England. The Romans not only had these showers but also
believed in bathing multiple times a week, if not every day. The water
and sewage systems developed by the Greeks and Romans broke down and
fell out of use after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The first mechanical shower, operated by a hand pump, was patented in
England in 1767 by William Feetham, a stove maker from Ludgate Hill
in London. His shower contraption used a pump to force the water into
a vessel above the user's head and a chain would then be pulled to
release the water from the vessel. Although the system dispensed with
the servant labour of filling up and pouring out buckets of water, the
showers failed to catch on with the rich as a method for piping hot
water through the system was not available. The system would also
recycle the same dirty water through every cycle.
This early start was greatly improved in the anonymously invented
English Regency shower design of circa 1810 (there is some ambiguity
among the sources). The original design was over 10 feet (3 m)
tall, and was made of several metal pipes painted to look like bamboo.
A basin suspended above the pipes fed water into a nozzle that
distributed the water over the user's shoulders. The water on the
ground was drained and pumped back through the pipes into the basin,
where the cycle would repeat itself. The original
prototype was steadily improved upon in the following decades until it
began to approximate the shower of today in its mode of operation.
Hand-pumped models became fashionable at one point as well as the use
of adjustable sprayers for different water flow. The reinvention of
reliable indoor plumbing around 1850 allowed free-standing showers
to be connected to a running water source, supplying a renewable flow
of water. Modern showers were installed in the barracks of the
French army in the 1870s as an economic hygiene measure, under the
guidance of François Merry Delabost, a French doctor and
inventor. As surgeon-general at Bonne Nouvelle prison in Rouen,
Delabost had previously replaced individual baths with mandatory
communal showers for use by prisoners, arguing that they were more
economical and hygienic. First six, then eight shower stalls were
installed. The water was heated by a steam engine and in less than
five minutes, up to eight prisoners could wash simultaneously with
only twenty liters of water. The French system of communal showers was
adopted by other armies, the first being that of Prussia in 1879, and
by prisons in other jurisdictions. They were also adopted by boarding
schools, before being installed in public bathhouses. The first shower
in a public bathhouse was in 1887 in Vienna, Austria. In France,
public bathhouses and showers were established by Charles Cazalet,
Bordeaux in 1893 and then in
Paris in 1899.
Domestic showers are most commonly stall showers or showers over a
bathtub. A stall shower is a dedicated shower area which uses a door
or curtain to contain water spray. The shower over a bathtub saves
bathroom space and enables the area to be used for either a bath or a
shower and commonly uses a sliding shower curtain to contain the water
spray. Showers may also be in a wet room, in which there is no
contained shower area, or in a dedicated shower room, which does not
require containment of water spray. Most domestic showers have a
single overhead shower head, which may be adjustable.
Many modern athletic and aquatic facilities provide showers for use by
patrons, commonly in gender segregated changing rooms. These can be in
the form of individual stalls shielded by curtains or a door or
communal shower rooms. The latter are generally large open rooms with
any number of shower heads installed either directly into the walls or
on posts throughout the shower area. Open showers are often provided
at public swimming pools and at popular beaches. Military forces
around the world set up field showers to enable the washing away of
dangerous residue from modern weapons such as caustic chemicals,
deadly biological agents, and radioactive materials, which can harm
forces on both sides of a conflict.
A wet room is a bathroom without internal dedicated or raised areas
which has an open shower. Structurally, a wet room requires the
bathroom to have a gradient or slope towards a drain hole, and a foul
air trap connecting the floor to the waste pipes.
Brazilian electric shower
Air shower, a type of bathing where high pressure air is used to blow
off excess dust particles from cleanroom personnel.
Digital shower, a shower system that works in a similar way to mixer
or power showers, but provides more control over the temperature of
the water with the use of a digital control panel.
Eco shower, a shower system that comes in mixer or electric
variations, but also features a regulator to regulate the flow of
water with a view to saving water.
Electric shower, a shower stall device to locally heat shower water
with electrical power.
Emergency showers, installed in laboratories and other facilities that
use hazardous chemicals, are required by law in the United States;
designed to deluge continuously at around 30–60 US gallons
(110–230 l) per minute  for at least 15 minutes  and
should be located at most 10 seconds away from potential users.
Mixer shower, a shower system that takes water from existing hot and
cold water supplies and combines them within the unit.
Navy shower, a method of showering that allows for significant
conservation of water and energy
Power shower, a shower stall device that works similarly to a mixer
shower by mixing existing hot and cold water feeds, but locally
increases the water pressure available to the shower head by means of
an electric booster pump.
Roman shower, a shower that does not use a door or curtain.
Steam shower, a type of bathing where a humidifying steam generator
produces steam that is dispersed around a person's body.
Vichy shower, a shower where large quantities of warm water are poured
over a spa patron while the user lies within a shallow (wet) bed,
similar to a massage table, but with drainage for the water.
Types of shower heads
Fixed shower heads—Traditional fixed shower-heads are mostly common
shower-faucets because as they can easily connect to the plumbing
fixtures with-out any additional hardware.
Shower handsets—Hand-set shower-faucets are connected by a flexible
hose, and can also mounted and used like a fixed shower-head.
Ceiling-mounted faucets—Ceiling-mounted shower-faucets are typically
rain-drop shower-heads mounted in one shower ceiling. Water-rains
down, at low or medium pressure, using the gravity to shower on one
from directly above.
Adjustable shower heads—Adjustable shower faucets often have
numerous settings, including the pulsating massage settings and
Shower panels—Unlike a single showerhead, these are wall-mounted
with sprayers aimed horizontally at various parts of the body.
Use and ecology
Hydro-massage on Lake Moynaki, Yevpatoria, Crimea
Shower usage in the latter half of the 20th century skyrocketed.
Personal hygiene became a primary concern, and bathing every day or
multiple times a day is common among Western
cultures.[page needed] Showering is generally faster than
bathing and can use less water. An average shower of four minutes at
2.5 gallons per minute uses about 10 US gallons (38 L) of
water, but modern low-flow shower heads are limited to only two
gallons a minute (in the US), corresponding to 8 US gallons
(30 L) for a four-minute shower. Various measures can be taken to
increase safety for those, especially elderly people, taking showers
or baths. When a person takes a shower may indicate their social
position. Blue collar workers have been found to be more likely to
take a shower in the evening after work, whereas white collar workers
have been found to shower in the morning before work. An equal
number of reasons can be offered for showering at night as for
showering in the morning. Contrary to myth, there are no adverse
health effects from showering at night. Some people take more than
one shower each day: in the morning, after working out, and at night.
People also shower to cool off in hot
weather.[better source needed] The ideal amount of
showering may be less frequently than daily because showering,
especially with hot water, can dry out and irritate the skin, remove
beneficial bacteria, and cause small cracks that can lead to
infection. According to some dermatologists, too much cleanliness for
young children can lead to allergies or eczema. Used shower water
can be employed as greywater.
Showering is mostly part of a daily routine primarily to promote
cleanliness and prevent odor, disease and infection. Advances in
science and medicine in the 19th century began to realize the benefit
of regular bathing to an individual's health. As a result, most modern
cultures encourage a daily personal hygiene regimen. Showering has
also developed the reputation as a relaxing and generally therapeutic
Structure and design
Repairing damaged tile in a shower stall with a caulking gun
Designs for shower facilities vary by location and purpose. There are
free-standing showers, but also showers which are integrated into a
bathtub. Showers are separated from the surrounding area through
watertight curtains (shower curtain), sliding doors, or folding doors,
or shower blinds, in order to protect the space from spraying water.
Showers with a level entry wet room are becoming very popular,
especially due to improvements in waterproofing systems and
prefabricated components. Places such as a swimming pool, a locker
room, or a military facility have multiple showers. There may be
communal shower rooms without divisions, or shower stalls (typically
open at the top). Many types of showers are available, including
complete shower units which are all encompassing showers that include
the pan, walls, and often the shower head, as well as pieced together
units in which the pan, shower head, and doors are purchased
separately. Each type of shower poses different installation issues.
Though the installation requirements of each of shower will differ,
the installation of a shower in general requires the laying of several
water transportation pipes, including a pipe for hot water and for
cold water, and a drainage pipe. It is important that the wet areas of
a bathroom be waterproof, and multiple layers of waterproofing can be
Grout is used to fill gaps between tiles, but grout and tile
setting materials are generally porous. Tiles are generally
waterproof, though a shower pan must be installed beneath them as a
safety to prevent water leakage. Thus small mosaic tiles offer
less of a defense than large format tiles. Sub-tile waterproofing is
important when tiles are being used. Best practice requires a
waterproofing material to cover the walls and floor of the shower area
that are then covered with tile, or in some countries with a sheet
material like vinyl.
Shower repair showing drain piping with trap
This diverter valve about to be installed behind a shower mixes hot
and cold water.
Some shower areas utilize a second emergency drain outside of the
shower in case of overflow. In Australia and some European countries,
plumbing codes require this second emergency drain (but not in the
United Kingdom nor North America).
A shower head.
A shower head is a perforated nozzle that distributes water over solid
angle a focal point of use, generally overhead the bather. A shower
uses less water than a full immersion in a bath. Some shower heads can
be adjusted to spray different patterns of water, such as massage,
gentle spray, strong spray, and intermittent pulse or combination
Hard water may result in calcium and magnesium deposits
clogging the head, reducing the flow and changing the spray pattern.
For descaling, various acidic chemicals or brushes can be used or some
heads have rubber-like jets that can be manually descaled. A homemade
remedy is to immerse it in a solution of water and vinegar for a
while, since the vinegar is able to dissolve limescale. Some
governments around the world set standards for water usage and
regulate shower heads. For example, in the United States, residential
and most commercial shower heads must flow no more than 9.5 liters per
minute (2.5 gallons per minute) per the Department of Energy ruling 10
CFR 430. Low-flow shower heads, less than or equal 7.6 liters per
minute (2.0 gallons per minute), can use water more efficiently by
aerating the water stream, altering nozzles through advanced flow
principles or by high-speed oscillation of the spray stream. USEPA
administers a voluntary water saving program, WaterSense, which can
certify low-flow shower heads.
Shower curtain" redirects here. For the physical phenomenon, see
Shower curtains are curtains used in bathtubs with a shower or shower
enclosures. They are usually made from vinyl, cloth or plastic. The
shower curtain has two main purposes: to provide privacy and to
prevent water from flooding or spraying outside the shower area.
Shower curtains usually surround the bath inside the tub or shower
area and are held up with railings or curtain rods high on the wall or
ceiling. To accommodate the different types of bathtub shapes,
railings can come in different sizes and are flexible in their design.
Some people use two shower curtains: one that is inside the tub, which
is mainly functional or decorative as well, and an outer shower
curtain, which is purely decorative. The bottom portion of the inner
curtain often comes with magnetic discs or suction cups which adhere
to the bathtub itself.
Raisable shower door.
Shower doors are doors used in bathrooms that help keep water inside a
shower or bathtub and are alternatives to shower curtains. They are
available in many different styles such as framed or frameless,
sliding or swing. They are usually constructed of aluminium, clear
glass, plexi-glass or tempered glass.
Shower doors can come in many
different hardware finishes and glass patterns that can match other
bathroom hardware such as faucets and shower heads. There are also
shower doors that are in a neo angle design for use on shower pans
that have the neo design as well. The design of the shower pan is
extremely important as the shower door must be the type required for
the pan in order to work. A shower door requires plastic lining along
the edges of the door to protect against water leaking out.
Pressure balanced valve, a device to provide constant shower water
pressure and prevent temperature fluctuations
Shower cap, a cap worn while showering or bathing, to protect hair
from becoming wet
Shower radio, a radio that is waterproofed to allow it to be used in a
bathroom or other wet environment
Sunshower, a device to locally heat shower water with solar power
Washing mitt, a tool for applying soap to the body
Water heat recycling
Water heat recycling units to reclaim much of the waste water's heat
and recycle it to the shower head and minimize heat lost to the drain
Shower Caddy, a storage system inside the shower, typically for
shampoo and conditioner
Solar heated shower
^ a b c Shove 2004.
^ Gillespie, Ed (4 September 2009). "Let's talk dirty…how long do
you spend in the shower?". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
^ a b "The Stand-Up Bath". theplumber.com. Archived from the original
on 30 November 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
^ James & Thorpe 1995, p. 460.
^ Humphrey, Olsen & Sherwood 1998, p. 280.
^ James & Thorpe 1995.
^ "A 19th Century Regency Era Shower". Janeaustensworld. Retrieved 30
^ "History of
Plumbing in America".
Plumbing & Mechanical
magazine. July 1987. ISSN 8750-6041. Archived from the original
on 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2011. by 1845, the
installation of sanitary sewers began to pay off ... In 1874, ... an
unknown plumber solved the problem of venting.
^ Izak, Shcultz. "
Shower heads Archives". Beyond Shower. Retrieved
^ Biot, Roger (2005). Fameux Rouennais, Rouennais fameux. Rouen:
PTC-Normandie. ISBN 9782350380117.
^ Hervé Dajon, La douche, une invention d’un médecin des prisons,
le docteur Merry Delabost, Criminocorpus, 2010 Online text - in French
^ Feltgen, Dr. (8 November 2000). "Dr. Merry Delabost, inventor of the
shower?" (PDF). Hopitaux de Rouen. Archived from the original (PDF) on
12 January 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
^ Moses, Huda (4 June 2010). "Types of
Shower Heads". Finest Shower.
^ Jones 2004.
^ "1910.151: Occupational Safety and Health Standards — Medical
services and first aid". Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 18 June 1998. Retrieved
1 June 2010.
^ Mayer 1995, p. 155.
^ Vincoli 2000, p. 343.
^ Brauer 2006, p. 533.
^ Rowan, Gerald; Sanford, Steve (2013). Compact Houses: 50 Creative
Floor Plans for Efficient, Well-Designed Small Homes. North Adams,
Mass.: Storey Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 9781612121024.
Shower vs. Bath". Consumer Energy Center. California Energy
Commission. Archived from the original on 2012-04-21. Retrieved 5
^ Mullick 2005.
^ Look Out, Are You About to Join the White Underclass?, Joe Bageant,
The Silver Bear Cafe
^ Showering morning vs night
^ Is Taking A
Shower At Night Bad For Health?, Malaysian News Agency
^ Take A Cold
Shower To Cool Off This Summer, John Westenhaver, Energy
Watcher, 20 June 2009
^ How Often You Really Need To
Shower (According To Science), Rachel
Wilkerson Miller 12 January 2015
^ "Curbless Showers - An Installation Guide" (PDF). NC State
University. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
Brauer, Roger L B (2006). "Personal protective equipment". Safety and
health for engineers (2nd ed.). John Wiley and Sons.
Humphrey, John W; Olsen, John P; Sherwood, Andrew N (1998). Greek and
Roman Technology: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.
James, Peter; Thorpe, Nick (1995). Ancient Inventions. New York:
Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-40102-1.
Mayer, Leonard (1995). "Emergency systems". Design and planning of
research and clinical laboratory facilities. John Wiley and Sons.
Oxford University Press, ed. (2009). Oxford New Desk Dictionary and
Thesaurus (3rd ed.). Berkley. ISBN 978-0-425-22862-3.
Shove, Elizabeth (2004). Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience The
Social Organization of Normality (New Technologies/New Cultures). New
York: Berg. ISBN 978-1-85973-630-2.
Vincoli, Jeffrey W (2000). Lewis' dictionary of occupational and
environmental safety and health. CRC Press.
Jones, Jerry (29 October 2004). "Decontamination shower system
revamped". Reporter. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Medical
Center. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
Mullick, Abir (2005). "
Bathing for Older people with Disabilities". UB
School of Architecture and Planning. Retrieved 5 December 2010.