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Memory Alpha

The sonic shower was a technology that used sonic pulse vibrations to remove dirt, grime, contaminants and possibly dead skin from a humanoid body. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager)

Technical information[]

B'Elanna in sonic shower

B'Elanna Torres taking a sonic shower

Sonic showers have been in use aboard Federation starships at least as early as the 2250s, and were described as relaxing. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War") High-pitched sonic showers serve a similar effect as to what a "cold shower" serves. (DS9: "If Wishes Were Horses"; VOY: "Juggernaut")

Quark once claimed that one thing that would make a Human "as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon" would be if they did not have access to sonic showers. (DS9: "The Siege of AR-558")

The technology was a means to eliminate the need for water used in bathing. However, various Starfleet vessels are still equipped with conventional water dispensing hygiene applications such as a shower or a bath tub. (SNW: "Under the Cloak of War"; (TNG: "Genesis"; Star Trek: Insurrection; VOY: "Caretaker", "Q2") In 2375, the visiting Kadi monk Tomin could not use the sonic showers aboard the USS Voyager as they only washed with purified water, necessitating the installation of an ablutionary fountain in his quarters. (VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me")

Sonic shower control

Beckett Mariner operating the sonic shower controls

Although the technology was generally considered very effective, it did have limits on certain applications. In 2380, Commander T'Ana, a Caitian, noted that it was very difficult for sonic showers to remove cheese from fur. (LD: "Terminal Provocations")

Components and malfunctions[]

Ilia in sonic shower

Ilia in a sonic shower

One of the components of a sonic shower was an acoustic inverter. When an acoustic inverter broke, the sound created by the sonic shower has been described as being able to "make your hair stand on end". Another separate sonic shower malfunction aboard the USS Voyager was enough to shatter a nearby mirror. (VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper") When repairs were needed, a decoupler was the standard device used for checking sonic shower relays. (DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong"; VOY: "Day of Honor")

Separately, sonic showers can be reprogrammed for more nefarious purposes, as was the case during Wesley Crusher's first week at Starfleet Academy, where Adam Martoni reprogrammed Crusher's sonic shower to cover him with mud. (TNG: "The Game")

One of the ways in which Benjamin Sisko occupied himself when the USS Defiant was on its way to Ajilon Prime in 2373 was to check the sonic shower relays. (DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong")


During the Occupation of Bajor, Bajoran comfort women were told to use Terok Nor's sonic showers for the Cardassians, who value cleanliness. (DS9: "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night")

In 2364, a woman was found frozen to death by Geordi La Forge in the sonic shower aboard the SS Tsiolkovsky with all her clothes on. (TNG: "The Naked Now")

The sonic showers on Deep Space 9 sometimes malfunctioned. Rom and Leeta's broke down in early 2374 and Ezri Dax's needed to be repaired in late 2375. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Extreme Measures") Miles O'Brien was going to fix the latter until he became embroiled in an elaborate search – which he and Julian Bashir carried out – for a cure for a morphogenic virus. (DS9: "Extreme Measures")

In 2376, Seven of Nine canceled a singing lesson with Neelix because she felt that his vocal cords were incapable of producing basic diatonic tones and he had other rhythmic shortcomings. Neelix complained that he sounded good in the sonic shower, and Seven suggested he confine his efforts to that location. (VOY: "Pathfinder")

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