AskDefine | Define showers

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of shower


  1. third-person singular of shower

Extensive Definition

A shower stall (also called shower bath) is a booth for washing, usually in a bathroom, having an overhead nozzle that sprays water down on the body. A full bathroom may include a shower stall where a half bathroom will not.

Structure and designs

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, 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, & prefabricated components. Best practice requires a waterproofing material to cover any walls and floor of the shower area, that are thereafter tiled, or in some countries covered with a sheet material like vinyl.
Places such as a swimming pool, a locker room, and a military facility, have multiple showers. There may be shower rooms without divisions (typically sex-segregated) or shower stalls (typically open at the top; often in shower rooms which are sex-segregated anyway).
Dustin Stewart of Arizona State University researched the aspect of why shower curtains billow inwards during showering ("shower-curtain effect") and received for it the Ig Nobel Prize in 2001.
A shower head is a perforated nozzle that distributes the water over a large solid angle. Thus less water can be used to wet the same area. Low flow shower heads can use water even more efficiently by aerating the water stream. Some shower heads can be adjusted to spray different patterns of water. Hard water may result in calcium and magnesium deposits clogging the head, causing it to lose effectiveness.

Shower curtains

Shower curtains are curtains used in bathtubs with a shower or shower enclosures and are usually made out of vinyl, cloth or plastic. The shower curtain has two main purposes: to provide privacy and to prevent water from flooding the bathroom. Shower curtains usually surround the bath inside the tub and are held up with railings or curtain rods on the ceiling. To accommodate the different types of bathtub shapes, railings can come in different sizes and are flexible in their design. Many people use two shower curtains, one that is inside the tub that can be purely functional or can be decorative as well, and an outer shower curtain, which is purely decorative.

Wet Room

A shower within a bathroom with a barrier free floor, level with its surroundings. Consists of two phases of construction, whatever the building structure. Phase 1 - Structural. Consists of a Gradient or Slope, an outlet hole, & a Foul Air Trap connecting the floor to the waste pipes. Phase 2 - Waterproofing. Best practice would suggest multiple layers of defence. Grout is used to fill gaps between tiles, but this material is generally porous. Tiles are generally waterproof, so larger surface area's of grout are less waterproof. Thus small mosaic tiles offer less of a defence than large format tiles. This means sub-tile waterproofing is important when tiles are being used.


The hygiene regimen in the form of a shower goes back to the time of the Greeks, as evidenced by extant vases and murals. During the Scottish Enlightenment, Lord Monboddo showered every morning with cold water on his front porch to emulate the Greeks and profess his belief in the practice as healthful; his habit, while eccentric, was well publicized with the intelligentsia of that era. Another step toward the spread of showering was when the Prussian military installed showering rooms in their barracks in 1879.

Cultural significance

Showering is mostly part of a daily routine, but is also practiced for wellness and relaxation.
Group nudity is commonly accepted in many cultures in which nudity is much less commonly accepted when showering or bathing, as long as it is not mixed-gender bathing.

Showering procedure

Showering results in a few phases, in which the skin, and usually the hair, are wet with water. Then cleansing products are applied, allowed to work, and subsequently rinsed out. If necessary, soaping and rinsing is re-performed.

Elderly and disabled

Showering is easier and more secure than bathing, for elderly and disabled people as it requires less effort to step out of and also presents a lower risk of slipping and falling. This is certainly true for the elderly and/ or disabled in their boat setting. Companies such as Premier Bath, Inc. and others that have copied their design are selling walk-in tubs and showers for home-owners who would like to safely age-in-place at home. This is a great solution for anyone who is still relatively ambulatory, but as mobility decreases so does the effectiveness of this type product.
Institutional showering in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities was replaced for several years by whirlpool tubs. During the mid-1970s until the late-1900's these tubs were how residents were mostly cleaned. For several reasons, whirlpool use has been greatly reduced and the trend is back to showering. Some of the reasons that whirlpool bathing has been abandoned are:
  • Time constraints: to fill a whirlpool with the 60+ gallons needed to bathe takes about 12 to 15 minutes (depending on water pressure and size of the water pipes of 1/2 or 3/4 inch), 12 to 15 minutes to bath, and 12 to 15 minutes to disinfect the tub for the next resident to go in. Staffing challenges and higher acuities of residents has made this very inefficient.
  • Cross-contamination: 90 to 100% of today's institutional residents are bladder and/or bowel incontinent. Whirlpool tubs, by design, take the water that the resident is emerged into a hydraulic pump which is then forced out of a series of jets. This very feature that relaxes the healthy with a pleasant spa experience becomes a source of cross-contamination for incontinent residents and care-givers alike.
  • Disinfection: Disinfecting between bathing incontinent residents becomes an even bigger task because of all the internal plumbing and pump: concern arises as to whether the disinfection process removed all of the matter that was sucked into the pump and out of the jets: this is impossible to verify without dismantling the tub or testing water samples.
  • Clostridium difficile: C-Diff is a dangerous bacteria that is only transmitted by fecal-oral contact. Is is especially deadly to the very young and the very old. C-Diff has claimed many lives, causing Canada and the UK to outlaw the use of whirlpool tubs with incontinent people. Ohio State CDC has kept records of C-Diff and the effect on the elderly.
The only real advancement to showering over the past 70 years has been from metal constructed shower chairs to PVC plastic construction. The process has always been to undress the resident in their room, place them onto a shower chair, wrap a sheet around for modesty and wheel them down to the central shower area with all of their toiletries in their lap. Occasionally, in new construction designs, an institution will have roll-in showers in each room or shared between two rooms. This eliminates the shrouded trip down the hallway for the resident, but it also drives up the construction cost of facility and takes away square footage for other uses.


Various purposes of showering include routine hygiene, as well as safety (as in chemical spills, mass decontamination, etc.).

Types of shower

  • Communal shower, a common enclosure having multiple overhead spray nozzles
  • Electric shower, a shower stall device to locally heat shower water with electrical power
  • Air shower, a type of bathing where high pressure air is used to blow off excess dust particles from cleanroom personnel
  • Field shower, the washing of one's body with water performed by military personnel in the field
  • Navy shower, a method of showering that allows for significant conservation of water and energy
  • Sonic shower, a fictional device used for personal hygiene onboard starships, shuttlecrafts and starbases in the television show Star Trek
  • 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 she / he is lies in a shallow (wet) bed, similar to a massage table, but with drainage for the water

Equipment used in showers

  • Pressure balanced shower valve, a shower stall device to provide constant shower water pressure and prevent temperature fluctuations
  • Shower cap, a shower stall device product worn as a cap while showering or bathing, to protect hair from becoming wet
  • Shower gel, a shower stall product used for cleaning the body while showering
  • Sharko Shower, a tethered showerhead used for massage
  • Shower radio, a shower stall product that is waterproofed to allow the radio to be used in a bathroom or other wet environment
  • Shower Shock, a shower stall product made of a caffeine impregnated soap bar
  • ShowerBow, a shower stall product to counter the shower-curtain effect and add extra space within the shower stall
  • Sunshower (commercial product), a shower stall device to locally heat shower water with solar power

See also

  • Showering, a washing activity similar to bathing, but typically performed while standing upright in a shower stall to receive a spray of water
  • Bathroom
showers in German: Dusche
showers in Spanish: Ducha
showers in French: Douche
showers in Italian: Doccia
showers in Hebrew: מקלחת
showers in Lithuanian: Dušas
showers in Dutch: Douche
showers in Japanese: シャワー
showers in Norwegian: Dusj
showers in Polish: Prysznic
showers in Portuguese: Chuveiro
showers in Romanian: Duş
showers in Russian: Душ
showers in Simple English: Shower
showers in Finnish: Suihku
showers in Swedish: Dusch
showers in Yiddish: טוש
showers in Chinese: 淋浴
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