Shower filter for both chlorine AND chloramine?
March 14, 2022 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Showers hurt me. My city alternates between chlorine and chloramine and my skin and sinuses seem to be sensitive to both. I'm having a hell of a time finding a shower filter that a) filters both and b) actually measurably works.

We rent, so we can't just install a whole-house filter.

Every time I find a highly-reviewed shower filter, when I dig into the negative reviews I find out that it doesn't filter (and is often in fact clogged by) chloramine, or that when the reviewer did before & after water testing they discovered that the shower filter wasn't actually filtering anything.

So are there any shower filters out there that actually work? Or is the entire industry just a big scam???
posted by Jacqueline to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How RedGreen are you willing to put up with? One could take a small whole house filter; replace the shower head nipple with a straight nipple; screw the whole house filter onto the nipple then screw the shower nipple into that.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

This information is dated by several years, but an espresso machine manufacturer I worked closet with, noted repeatedly that NO filters on the market, can remove chloramine by testable levels (even R/O filters). Companies claiming to be able to do so are not being truthful, or at best working on assumption. Chloramines damage very expensive espresso equipment over time, and requires vigilance in areas where it is used; they have a huge incentive to find a solution to that problem. There’s was a standing $500 offer to find otherwise in technical literature or research white paper. Always in search of a few hundred bucks, my ass couldn’t find a research paper outlining a successful method.

They may have been referring to cartridge style filters, not R/O; I honestly cannot remember but R/O systems are very expensive to both purchase and maintain.

There are no federal level regulations for the claimed effectiveness of water filters. The entire industry is self regulated. Which is not to say there aren’t good filters, but the technical know how to validate good vs bad is beyond the average consumer (and there are a lot of garbage filters out there).
posted by furnace.heart at 12:54 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I have a Rainshow’r filter, and just subjectivity, it seems to work well for chlorine. I notice a difference in both smell and effect on my skin.
posted by Comet Bug at 7:55 PM on March 14

Best answer: There is a difference between removal and neutralization. My feeling is that for your purposes, you do not need to remove it completely but just to convert the chlorine/chloramines to a non-irritating form.

It is true that to actually remove chlorine or chloramines from your tap water, you need a more complex system such as reverse osmosis, filter (different types available), or distillation system. These types of systems are pricey and may be overkill for your needs.

To speak to RO and other filters not being effective with removal, they actually can be effective with some caveats. Any effective system has to have the right chemistry (depends on your specific issues) combined with sufficient contact time. Point-of-use systems such as filters on taps, shower heads, or inline filters on water lines (like they have on coffee machines), do not provide the contact time for full removal. Good enough for aesthetic purposes, but maybe not full removal. In those cases, systems that address the water coming into the building are recommended.

I have been a drinking water scientist for over 20 years. My lab regularly works with chlorine-sensitive folks. We suggest they try a simple showerhead system first, and this works for 99.9% of the people.
posted by jraz at 6:58 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]

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