Legionella Pneumophila or the Legionella bacteria occurs and lives naturally in water. In the right conditions, these harmful bacteria can rapidly and easily multiply throughout different types of water systems inside and outside your home.
When water is contaminated with Legionella, it is released into the atmosphere in vapor form, such as the mist produced from shower heads. The bacteria can then be inhaled deep into the lungs. Inhalation of contaminated water droplets may lead to a person developing or contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
Most people use the shower once a day for taking a bath. However, they may not be aware of the dangers of using the shower, especially when the shower head is not cleaned regularly and thoroughly. As already mentioned, shower heads, particularly dirty ones, can cause the spread of legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease.
To make sure that the showers you have at home are hygienic and will not be “breeding grounds” for Legionella and other types of harmful bacteria, you need to clean them regularly. Below are some tips you can follow to properly and thoroughly clean your shower heads:
• Every six months, run hot water for several minutes through the shower nozzle to flush away and get rid of the bacterial bio-film.
• Spray the holes in your shower nozzle with equal parts white vinegar and warm water and scrub them with an old toothbrush or your fingertips. After which, run the shower for at least a minute to dislodge any residue you’ve loosened. Repeat this process as necessary until it is totally free of debris.
• If you can easily remove your shower head, you can place the shower nozzle in a bowl of distilled white vinegar. Make sure that all the holes of the shower nozzle are completely immersed. Soak the nozzle in the vinegar for around 15-20 minutes. After soaking it, use an old toothbrush or other types of stiff brushes to scrub the nozzles clean.
• Finally, replace your shower heads every two years. Shower heads are generally low-priced and such, it makes good sense to replace them when they have accumulated germs overtime. Cleansing with vinegar and other types of descaling products can prevent massive bacterial and dirt build up but ultimately, germs and other harmful microorganisms will simply return and thrive in an old shower nozzle. Many home improvement and health experts recommend that homeowners buy and have metal shower heads installed in bathrooms since they appear to be less likely than plastic ones to grow or acquire microbial bio-film.