Personal Care

Shower versus bath

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The question of shower versus bath is a matter of personal preference in hygiene

Everyone wants to be squeaky clean, but which makes you squeakier: a shower or a bath? Everyone has an opinion about showers versus baths and most think the other side is all wet. Your answer depends on how you look at showering or bathing - no, not that way!

With the cost of water and the energy for heating it, along with concerns for water quality, there's a lot more to think about besides soaping up and rinsing off.

Take energy conservation - the utility kind of energy, not what it takes to scrub yourself clean. The consensus says showers are more energy-efficient as long as a few rules are flowed. First and foremost is to keep the shower short. Twenty-minute showers don't get you any cleaner and use more water than a bath. A full bathtub averages around 70 gallons of water, while a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons.

If you don't want to wear your watch in the shower, look for a waterproof timer. If you shave or pedicure in the shower, turn the water off until you're done. You can cut your water bill even more with a low-flow showerhead which will reduce your usage substantially while cutting the pressure only slightly. Showers also use less hot water so your electric or gas bill will go down as well.

If you can't give up your bath, reduce your water consumption by filling the tub halfway or - if you have a like-minded partner - bathing with a friend. Whichever you choose, remember that less water usage also means less pollution entering our waterways.

For cleanliness, the shower versus bath competition is a little closer. The force of the shower spray gets soapy cloths and sponges filled with shower gel sudsier and rinses off both the soap film and the dirt, grime and dead skin better.

On the other hand, a total immersion in tub of steamy water filled with cleansing bath salts and other pampering bath products gets you clean all over, especially in spots you might miss with a shower. Baths offer much more than just cleaning; a long soak in soothing bath oils softens skin and relaxes your body after a long stressful day.

That puts baths ahead of showers on the wash cycle, but their bubbles lose their fizz on the rinse. You just can't remove soapy water with more soapy water. Not only that, along with the soaps, salts and oils in the water, you're sitting in water you've washed off. Without getting too gross, what you really need at this point is a good clean rinse.

Tally up the pros and cons and it looks like showers are the choice for cleaning and conservation while baths are better for relaxation and skin care.

If you still can't decide, why not try a little of both?

Start with a quick shower to get your body clean. Give your skin a good scrub to remove germs and dead skin. Rinse everything off so you're nice and clean, then fill the tub halfway with hot water and your favorite bath soak for a short but soothing immersion. The water will be clean and you won't need another rinse when you're done. You'll be lean, refreshed and ready to squeak for another day.

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