Most people agree you should wash yourself regularly. While there’s no set number of times a week you should bathe or shower, most people do so daily or every other day, depending on their need. One thing people are more split on is which method of cleaning yourself is better — showering or bathing. There are arguments on both sides, so we looked into them to settle the debate. Which is better, showers or baths?
Maybe the most important aspect of “better” is which gets you cleaner. Luckily, the answer here is pretty straightforward. Showering is cleaner than bathing, and for a pretty obvious reason. When you wash off in the bath, everything you scrub off you — the dirt, the sweat, and the oils — stay in the water. That said, even though baths may have bacteria in them, you’re unlikely to get sick unless you have a weakened immune system or any cuts or abrasions. The germs only become an issue if you’re taking a bath for too long or if it’s too hot. This can lead to dry skin and attract certain pathogens.
If cleanliness is your only concern, a quick shower to rinse off before or after you bath may offer you the best of both worlds.
Showers, on the other hand, rinse the dead skin and dirt off your body as you scrub and it all runs down the drain. The direct water contact from the shower head also break apart the dirt and sweat that may be clinging to your skin as you scrub it away. If cleanliness is your only concern, a quick shower to rinse off before or after you bath may offer you the best of both worlds.
Another common concern in the washing debate is efficiency and environmental impact. It’d be easy to assume that baths are more environmentally friendly, since you don’t have a constant stream of water flowing over you. You have your set amount of water, and that’s it, but that’s not necessarily the case. A standard shower uses about a third of the water of a bath, meaning it’s generally greener.
A short shower will use less water than a bath, but a longer shower can use more.
However it is a bit more complicated than that. A short shower will use less water than a bath, but a longer shower can use more. It depends largely on your type of showerhead and how much water it allows per minute. For example, it’s estimated that a standard shower puts out anywhere from four liters to about 18 liters per minute. Most people use about 114 liters to fill their tub, so if you’re taking a 20 minute shower, there’s a good chance you may be using more water than with a bath — some estimating that it may be as short as a 10 minute shower. So, keep this in mind if you’re trying to conserve water and prevent waste.
Our final consideration is a bit of an extension on the previous section. It makes sense if you’re concerned with how much it costs annually to shower vs bathe, which largely depend on how much water you’re using. If you’re taking short showers, you’ll generally be using less water and spending less to wash yourself. If you enjoy longer showers, it may get to the point where you’re spending more. Ultimately, if saving money is your concern, try to take shorter showers.
Ultimately, no matter the method, choose which is best for you to keep you clean, happy, and healthy!
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So, there you have it, showers appear to be cleaner and greener, both for the environment and your wallet. They’re clearly the correct option, right? We’re not ready to say that. As we noted in the hygiene section, baths aren’t demonstrably dirtier than showers and can have add-ins like oils, salts, or other ingredients for extra benefits. Also, we revealed that baths aren’t always more wasteful than showers. Unless you’re taking very short showers, you may not notice a massive difference. When you consider the benefits that baths can have, the choice really comes down to preference, since showers also can be good for you. Ultimately, no matter the method, choose which is best for you to keep you clean, happy, and healthy!