Ready to swim? Don’t Skip the Shower!

It’s a familiar summer scene. You’ve been working in the yard, at a baseball game or just in from a bike ride. It’s hot and humid and you need to cool off fast. So, you skip the shower and jump straight into the pool, right? Not so fast….

If you skip that shower, you could be introducing substances into your pool that could make your family and friends sick. Even if your pool chemistry is perfect, those chemicals don’t kill everything right away. Some of the germs that cause recreational water illness can take hours, or days, to kill.

But a quick shower is a fast and easy way to keep your pool safe and fun for everyone.

How do pre-swim showers help?

A thorough shower with soap helps remove perspiration, body oils, cosmetics and traces of other body waste on the skin. Sending those substances down the shower drain goes a long way toward reducing the “yuck factor” for everyone who shares the pool, but there is much more to consider.

The pre-swim shower helps minimize the strong and irritating “pool smell” that can get on your skin and irritate your eyes. Most people think this is the smell of chlorine and that it’s a sign of a well-treated pool. In fact, that strong odor is not from chlorine, but from the irritants that are produced when chlorine reacts with the impurities on your skin. A well-managed pool has no strong chemical smell.

Why are showers so important?

If reducing red, irritated eyes, “pool smell” and “pool cough” aren’t enough to make you enforce the shower first rule at your backyard pool, consider this:

The chlorine in your pool does kills germs that cause recreational water illness, but the time it takes to kill each germ can vary from one minute to 10 days!

Additionally, if chlorine is chemically bound to high levels of impurities in your pool, it may not be able to perform its primary germ-destroying task, especially if the pool chemistry is not being carefully adjusted.

One of the best ways to keep your pool clean and safe is to keep germs out in the first place.

So, if you’re hot and sweaty, don’t jump straight in the pool, shower first! That shower will help keep your family and friends safe and healthy this summer.


Just in case you’re still not convinced, earlier this year the CDC hosted a video contest to help raise awareness about preventing recreational water illnesses. Here’s the winning video: