When Can I Shower After Shocking My Well?

You might know that drinking well water immediately after shock chlorination is dangerous – but showering in water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach is fine, right?

Wrong. After you shock a well, you should put a pause on showering and bathing until your water vapor is safe to inhale.

In this guide, we’ve answered the question, “When can I shower after shocking a well?”

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • Wait at least 24 hours to shower after you shock chlorinate a well.
  • Don’t just guess. Test your water with a water quality test to make sure the chlorine levels are safe before you take a shower.
  • If you chlorine is still present in high amounts, continue to flush your well until you can’t smell chlorine, then test your water again.

⏱ How Long Should I Wait To Shower After Shocking A Well?

You should wait at least 24 hours after shock chlorination before you shower in your well water.

Why 24 hours? Because experts advise you to allow the chlorine to sit in your well system for at least this long before flushing your faucets, so it has a chance to kill bacteria.

Ideally, wait for 2+ days. Your well’s chlorine levels will only decrease when the chlorine bleach solution is completely flushed out of the system, and the chlorinated water is replaced by clean, chlorine-free water in the well.

This is our advice regardless of the type of bleach you use, whether it’s ordinary liquid laundry bleach or a special bleach product sold specifically for shocking wells.

👨‍🔬 You shouldn’t be able to smell a chlorine odor once your well water is safe to use after shock chlorination. So, if you can still smell chlorine in your shower or tap water, wait a few more hours before showering.

Woman showering

🤔 Why Can’t I Shower Straight After Shocking A Well?

You shouldn’t shower straight after shocking a well because chlorine presents a number of possible health concerns.

Shock chlorination is one of the best ways to fight and eliminate bacterial contamination in a well – but that doesn’t mean that chlorine is good for your water, either.

You’re essentially replacing one problem with another. You need to get rid of the chlorine contamination as soon as it’s had the chance to deal with potentially harmful bacteria in your water treatment system.

Think about how much bleach enters your well water supply during shock chlorination. Most experts recommend mixing 2 quarts of household bleach in 10 gallons of water and pour that into the well. That’s significantly more than you’ll find in a normal chlorinated city water supply.

If you shower in water containing dangerous levels of chlorine, you’re at risk of:

  • Brittle hair
  • Dry skin
  • Itchy, inflamed skin/ skin rashes
  • Throat irritation
  • Respiratory problems
  • Irritated eyes
  • Triggered allergies & asthma
  • Brittle nails
  • Nausea and vomiting

Thankfully, chlorine dissipates over time, and you’ll get rid of most of it by flushing the well system after 24 hours.

Dry hair and itchy skin

🧐 How Do I Know When It’s Safe To Shower After Chlorinating Well?

You know our general guidance for when to shower after shocking a well – but how do you know for certain when it’s safe to shower after shock-chlorinating your well?

The best solution is to test your water. Up to 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or 4 parts per million (PPM) of chlorine is considered safe in drinking water.

So, if a chlorine test detects chlorine at 4 PPM or lower, your water is safe to use. But if your well’s chlorine content is higher than this, you shouldn’t shower in the water.

📌 Note: even if your cold water contains only low levels of chlorine, your hot water (which you’ll use for showering) might still be highly chlorinated due to a backlog of chlorinated water in your hot water heater. Test both your hot and cold water supplies to cover all the bases.

Water testing with tap score

How to Use Chlorine Test Strips

To use chlorine test strips to test the levels of chlorine in your well water, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your water samples.
  2. Dip test strips in the water samples and wait a few minutes, according to the test instructions.
  3. When the test strips change color, compare them to the color chart to determine the amount of chlorine in your water.
  4. Repeat the testing as many times as needed.

👨‍🔬 Make sure to test the water at various points around your home, including your hot water faucets and any outside faucets, as some parts of your water supply might contain more chlorine than others.

Testing water with test strips

📊 How To Speed Up The Shock Chlorination Process

If 24 hours have passed and a chlorine test still detects bleach in potentially health-harmful levels, what can you do?

The only way to speed up the shock chlorination process is to flush your well for as long as it takes for the chlorine smell to disappear.

To flush chlorine out of the well water system, open an outdoor faucet and let water run into a drain or onto the ground (away from any septic systems or nearby bodies of water) until you can no longer smell chlorine.

Then switch on all the faucets in your home to flush the chlorine solution out of your pipes and plumbing. Again, the chlorine smell should be gone.

Test your water again. Hopefully, the chlorine levels in your water should have now dropped enough for you to safely take a shower.

❔ When Can I Shower After Shocking A Well? FAQ

Is it safe to shower after bleaching a well?

It’s safe to shower after bleaching a well – but not immediately. You’ll need to flush the majority of the chlorine bleach out of your water distribution system to prevent the potential health issues associated with skin contact with chlorinated water and inhaling chlorine vapor.

How long should you wait to shower after shocking the well?

You should wait at least 24 hours after shock chlorinating your well to shower in your well water. Ideally, rather than going off a timeframe, test your water with chlorine test strips. If moderate or high chlorine levels are detected, continue to flush your well water system until you can no longer smell chlorine, then try the test again.

What happens if you shower in chlorinated water?

Showering in chlorinated water could cause a number of side effects, ranging in severity, depending on the amount of chlorine in the water. Some of the possible effects of showering in water containing chlorine include itchy or dry skin, brittle hair, and even respiratory problems. That’s why you shouldn’t shower in water with a high chlorine content (e.g. shock chlorinated well water).

Related: Can you use well water in a fish tank?

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