What is the mechanism behind a sonic shower in the STU?

A shower with water does various things, namely; get rid of odors, raise body temperature, acts as a disinfectant, has a soothing massage effect, can make a person more alert, can be soothing, removes debris, etc.

Does a sonic shower functions in all of these ways? How?

  • 6
    It works quite well, thank you.
    – KSmarts
    May 14, 2015 at 18:43
  • It's probably meant to work similar to an ultrasonic cleaning device, adding water and then vibrating it remove surface contamination. Presumably, they've solved the issue where humans, as big bags of water, don't handle the ultrasonics too well. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrasonic_cleaning
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 14, 2015 at 18:58
  • Come to think of it, the weirdest part about the "sonic shower" is that - assuming it's a mature technology - they'd probably just call it a shower, no specification about the type of shower would be necessary unless there were other types of showers available. And if there are liquid showers, it begs the question, do people just prefer sonic showers to water showers? Hm.
    – Captain P
    May 25, 2015 at 3:57
  • 1
    How does a sonic shower work? Very well, thank... wait, does anyone else smell that? Jul 31, 2022 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


According to Torres, the sonic shower uses pulses of ultrasonic sound to "dissolve" dirt and grime. Dax (in DS9: If Wishes Were Horses) suggests that the pitch is somehow involved. Beyond that it's merely hand-waved as a mature technology that doesn't really need explanation:

TORRES: I don't know about the rest of you but I could sure use a sonic shower.

NEELIX: I'd love to soak in a hot bath for a day or two.

TORRES: Oh no, not me. I want to feel those sonic pulses dissolving every last atom of this grime off my body. VOY: Juggernaut

We can actually see one in operation later in the series. As you can see, the pulses somehow remove both dirt and sweat which strongly implies that it's dealing with the smell issue. Torres also seems to find it soothing, which answers the other part of your question.

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