The question of whether to bathe or bathe is answered differently by different people. One dancer I know insisted that he would become a mass of tired, tense muscles without a bath. The opportunity to soak required him to take time out of his busy schedule, which gave him greater peace of mind. She likes lavender bath salts.
An athlete at my gym who works for a marketing agency is equally adamant about her cleansing routine, except she prefers showers. He showers every day after working out before going to work. He says it makes him feel relaxed, renewed, and ready to make the transition to company time.
What factors were involved in deciding the question? The energy cost of shower vs shower has been debated for decades. Take a four-minute shower using a low-flow, water-saving showerhead using 10 gallons of water. A full tub contains 30 to 50 gallons of water. (A completely full tub holds 70 gallons, but then there’s no room for swimmers.) In the energy-efficiency category, the shower seems to be the clear winner.
This dancer admits that her daily bath uses a lot of water. This was especially true because, after soaking, she took a quick shower to rinse off the excess soap and grime that had stuck to it from the dirty bathwater. He has decided it is an important part of his health and fitness routine. He needed it to support his career.
The athlete took a three-minute shower, so he has the upper hand in terms of energy efficiency. He pointed out, however, that his wife took an eight-minute hot bath to fully relax after a day of chasing the kids. They have old fashioned showers, which circulate water twice as fast as newer showers and are efficient. That means 40 gallons of water every time the wife takes a shower.
The question is more complicated than it sounds. Bathing is a real luxury. It is also a practical necessity in households with small children. Bathing can be an efficient way to maintain cleanliness. It can also involve the luxurious installation of double showerheads, steam rooms and jetted showers.
Someone who cares about the environmental impact would prefer to take a bath, because it can be regulated to use as little water as possible. Unless you’re talking about sponge baths, showers always require lots of water. Domestic water use is a major concern in conserving water supplies. The US Geological Survey estimates the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day.
Bath takes up more space in the house. A shower stall can be installed in a fairly small space. Additional space is freed up for other uses. A realtor will point out, however, that a house without at least one bathtub in its bathroom has a lower value on the real estate market. That’s true despite the fact that bathing is by far the preferred hygiene ritual today. People don’t bathe that much anymore.
Rain makes you cleaner, but doesn’t give you a chance to soak. Showers take way too long for today’s busy schedule, but when you really need a break, there’s no comparison.
A practical home solution seems to be a tub/shower combination with a movable showerhead. This solution provides the most choices for a household. A daily bath can be relaxing, energizing and refreshing. An occasional bath can restore health, relieve stress and relax tense muscles. Water use can remain efficient. The only drawback is getting a teenager to turn off the shower in a reasonable amount of time.
JT Spa is a UK based supplier of luxury bathrooms.