I'm assuming Data doesn't need to go number 1 or 2, but an android's bioplast sheeting (his skin) can and has been seen dirty on-screen (in Star Trek: Nemesis, B-4 was found quite dirty from dust/dirt).

How does Data keep himself appearing clean?

  • 5
    Why do you assume he is unable to take showers? As for internal care, Geordi is often seen performing maintenance on him. Commented May 29, 2013 at 22:23
  • 3
    If questions like this, and this can exist open, I don't see how this question is a Fail.
    – Solemnity
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 0:38
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    The difference for me is, his ability to take a bath is no different than anyone else's. He does not sweat, he does not have bacteria, so baring injury, a bath (or sonic shower) is a bath, whether he is an android or a person. I just don't see any particular value in asking how he bathes himself; because the obvious answer is "just like everyone else". Commented May 30, 2013 at 0:48
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    @Monty129 - to be fair, Starfleet vessels were not equipped with water showers by 2272 and replaced by sonic showers. Maybe sonic showers did something to his skin, who knows, hence the question?
    – Jared
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 1:01
  • 2
    I think it's time y'all take this to chat or meta.
    – user1027
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


As there are no legitimate case examples in the canon stating that Data is incapable of using normal tools/methods for his personal hygiene, it is reasonable enough to suggest that he simply uses a sonic shower like the rest of his crew mates. I can't find any reference which states that Data is somehow damaged or susceptible to some negative effect from sonic waves. Even if this were the case, there would always be the option for him to simply use water to remove said dirt/dust/grime. From what I understand of Data's composition, he has a fully enclosed artificial integumentary system which, though it doesn't perfectly simulate human skin, does protect the parts of his internal framework. Also, though Data is not completely waterproof, that wouldn't stop him from actually washing the surface of his skin if he kept any orifices sealed (just like we as humans should probably not take deep breaths underneath the water while take a bath). In fact, there are several times in the series which show him fully capable of operating while wet, even when submerged.

I'm not seeing any sparks shooting out of his ears here...

Oh Data... you so silly

Now, the argument against his ability to use water might be that "there are no water showers/sources of water for cleanliness on the Enterprise!" However, that would be a wrong assessment of the situation as well. There are multiple examples throughout the franchise of water being used as a method of hygiene: Captain Archer had his infamous shower malfunction, the first scene of Neelix actually on Voyager was one in which he bathed water, captain Janeway had her own personal bathtub, etc, etc. However, the one example that is most relevant would be the fact that Dianna Troi had a bathtub in her quarters (which she was pictured as starting devolving into an amphibian in) on the Enterprise. It wouldn't be to far of a stretch for Data to have one too if need be.

I hope this helped a little. If Data used some other kind of device or method for keeping clean, there isn't any reference I can find that states so, and the evidence would seem to suggest that he is capable of using the exact same facilities that his biological counterparts use as well.

  • In ST: Insurrection, Deanna was giving Will a shave in her bathtub when Admiral Dougherty called (audio only, fortunately). Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 17:46
  • That image is from a really ridiculous scene, and according to the ST:TNG episode Descent: Part 2 Data was not "designed as a flotation device", and when he "decided to go swimming" and "jumped out of the boat you sank straight to the bottom"... "It took almost two weeks to get the water out of [Data's] servos." IMDB even calls it a Goof
    – Xen2050
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 12:07
  • @Xen2050: I agree, that scene was completely ridiculous. That said, I'm sure someone as intelligent as Data (and who has shown willingness to modify himself in the past) would have been unlikely to leave such a glaring weakness (unable to swim) uncorrected after it was discovered. He may have given himself a buoyancy system (and possibly improved waterproofing) following that incident.
    – Jeff
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:11
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    @Jeff Good point, I just watched the Data & Lore & Dr.Soong episode where Lore had that interesting fingernail communicator/transporter button, probably a modification (unless he & Data just have a button under their fingernail for some reason?). Still, being modified after manufacture is not the same as having been designed that way, so at least technically the Insurrection writers or Data were wrong on semantics ;-)
    – Xen2050
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 2:41

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