Body hygiene- Which is healthier and cleaner: shower or bath?

And the victor is.....SHOWERS!

If we're talking purely about cleanliness, I have to believe that showers would be better than baths, as a general rule. After reading this request, I decided to do a quick google search and found opinions on both sides of the debate. On one hand, when you take a bath, you can completely immerse yourself in the water, which inevitably makes it easier to get filth out of places where, well, the sun doesn't shine. Those spots may not be so easy to reach when you're trying to get yourself clean in the shower. So in that regard, a bath could be superior. But here's the rub. Where does all the filth go? That's right, into the very water that your hairy butt is sitting. So how clean are you getting? That's why I would presume that a shower would be more hygienic than a bath, because a nice warm bath can quickly become a cesspool, depending upon how dirty the body is and how long the body remains in the bath.

I have a recollection of watching a television show back in the early 80's titled "That's Incredible." They had an enormously funny sketch one time about little bugs that literally cover your body, and there's nothing you can do about them. In fact, when you bathe, THEY MULTIPLY! BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS!

Then we have to consider other forms of wellness. Let's face it, our mental health needs a good cleaning from time to time, and when those times call, there is nothing as therapeutic as a nice long soaking bath. Why, just earlier today, when my kids were going absolutely bonkers, I turned to my wife with a smile and said, "Calgon! Take me away!" (Do they even sell Calgon any more?)

Then there's this little matter known as negative ions. Ever hear of those? Basically, wherever there are bodies of water, there are negative ions. Negative ions are good, and therapeutic, which is why sitting by the ocean and just soaking in the rays can be incredibly relaxing.

To be sure, there are negative ions floating around showers and baths, but my mother used to tell me to take a shower instead of a bath because it would save water. So in that regard, I would say the shower would win the battle of the ions.

One last point that I think should seal the debate. My four year-old daughter, ever since she was a baby, as soon as she gets into the bathtub just can't help but to relieve herself right into the water....the very same water that she'll be spitting out of her mouth in a matter of minutes. Yes, I know, it's gross, but I've learned after many a battle that it is a battle I will not win.

By the way, did you know that the average human being will eat about 15 pounds of dirt during their lifetime? Of course, what they don't tell you is that about 10 pounds of it come in the first 10 years of life!


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Comments 56 comments

dlhoh 8 years ago

That is a very interesting topic. I enjoyed it a lot.

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 8 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks for the note, I enjoy writing pages like this that other hubbers have requested, because it forces me out of my routine of writing the same types of topics over and over and get the picture. Thanks for stopping by!


OneFunMum 8 years ago

Brilliant response! I laughed out loud when you mentioned your 4-year-old. My two boys (aged 2 and 4) do the exact same thing! And I don't fight it anymore either. For me, relaxation-wise it has to be a bath. But, having said that, our bathtub here in the U.S. is so pathetically short it's more of an exercise in contortionism than a calming soak. And with two little boys, I normally have a 30-second window to squeeze in a quick shower before I hear the sounds of blood-curdling screams.

sarah and michael 8 years ago

me and my brother michael have been having a debate on this i sed that shower are more hygenic and he said that baths are.

After reading som information as the info above we have come to the conclusion that both are good for the body in different ways. In the end you are still going to have dirt on your skin and in your body.

So as long as your are cleaning your skin and looking after it, you will get rid of as much dirt as possible.

(by the way another litle fact is, 1 in every 6 keyboards has twice as much germs on it that a public toilet seat. So you might wana clean your keyboard and this also applies to your mouse!!!)

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 8 years ago

I think both are hygienic. Whether you shower or bathe, as long as you clean yourself. lol. I hope you're right about negative ions. I never understood chemistry.

AndyBaker profile image

AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

I'm voting for a shower !

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Jim, when our house was built, I remembering opting to have a shower than a bathtub. LOL I think soaking in the tub with bubbles and all is more for relaxation than anything else. And for kids, haha to play and have fun. But I love showers and I guess it is more hygienic too. :)

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 8 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks for the comment ripplemaker!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 8 years ago from Sydney

I agree having a bath is more about relaxing than cleaning. However, a good soak in the bath is very good for removing a build-up of dead, hardened skin for those who have that problem.

Did you know, the French used to think the British were terribly dirty people because it was unusual for the British to even have a shower in their houses until the 1970's or 80's - they only had baths. The French thought that sitting in dirty water was terribly unhygienic!

featherhead 8 years ago

do you think, if i suffer from cvi (Chronic venous insufficiency), is it better for me to stand and shower or sit and bath?

chinlong 8 years ago

Bath - without a doubt. My grandmum had cvi for years and soaking in a warm bath did wonders. She had one of those tubs with the water jets and would focus them on her legs but not for too long as over stimulation can worsen your symptoms

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 8 years ago from Florida Author

I don't know enough about CVI to be able to comment on it at all.

Y'all might be interested to know that even after voting for a shower, my family recently acquired a hot tub. I can imagine soaking in that while the kids are swimming in the pool!

kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Hi! It doesn't have to be an either/or - you can take a bath and then rinse of with clean water! My personal preference!

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 7 years ago from Florida Author

Kartika - My daughter now prefers to take "shower baths," where she has me start the shower, then she sits down in the tub, washes, and then plays. Sounds similar to your practice, a bit.

Thanks for the comment!


sistaelle 7 years ago

Imagine that.. the French thinking themselves superior in hygiene.

I would think that a shower at best removes surface dirt well.

Soaking in a hot bath opens up the pores and helps draw out toxins etc. Anyone who bathes and uses a hand held sprayer to hose off at the end gets the best of both.

nicole 6 years ago

I vote for showers. They are okay as long as you clean your whole body well.

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 6 years ago from Florida Author

OK, we have another vote for showers! Do I hear anyone for a good old fashioned bath? Maybe a bubble bath?


NasiaPrettyGirl 6 years ago

yess , i believe that a bubble bath is better than showers because it cleanses the private parts of your body

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 6 years ago from Florida Author

I dunno about that. If the water is filthy from all the dirt that washed off the rest of the body, gee, I think I'll stick with showers. Thanks for the comment, though!


Alisha 6 years ago

I myself prefer baths. I don't see how you can clean every inch of your body (including the private parts)standing up and not submerged.

Richard 5 years ago

Baths for sure. I don't feel near as clean after getting out of the shower as I do the bathtub.

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 5 years ago from Florida Author

If I had a nice big hot tub to soak in, I might agree with you. I'm just too big to fit in my tub. Thanks for the comment Richard!


U.H.U Tv Forum  5 years ago

When your baby comes into the world, you wish to smother it with all the possible care and nurturing you are able to. All your friends, loved ones, and others who live nearby turn up to visit your newborn and desire to share in this happiest of events …

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 5 years ago from Florida Author

U.H.U. - Not quite sure what this has to do with showers or baths, but we'll go with it. Thanks for the comment!


Tana 5 years ago

I honestly believe that bathing gets you cleaner...unless you are absolutely covered in months worth of dirt and grime, I doubt it sticks back on you. If you've ever experimented with bath colour you'll know what I doesn't stain your skin it just runs right off! same with going swimming in the ocean. the sand and dirt doesn't stick to you (it does get stuck in bathing suit on the other hand)...

Shiree 5 years ago

In nursing school they teach that a bath is actually more hygienic. Also, why are you basing your logic of saving water on your mothers opinion? If you actually test it out you'll see that unless your shower takes less than 4-5 minutes, bathing actually saves water.

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 5 years ago from Florida Author

Shiree - I would be curious to know specific details of why they taught that a bath is more hygienic. And perhaps it has to do with water-saving shower heads, or some such thing, but my experience (not just mom's) is that it takes much longer to fill a bathtub using the shower head instead of the faucet. Thanks for the comments!

alan 5 years ago

I would tend to think that a bath would get you cleaner, in that you get a deep soaking type clean where as a shower 'skims the surface' so to speak.

wix.mamma 5 years ago

As a bath person myself, I will always prefer taking one over a shower, but it was particularly validating to read this:

Thanks for the fun topic!

Allison 5 years ago

Showers are unquestionably more hygienic, it's not a matter of opinion. One involves wading in your own filth, the other involves constantly rinsing it off (and on a side note, showers are less wasteful because they generally use less water than baths--unless you shower for, say, half an hour at a time). If you "feel" cleaner after a bath that's only because you feel more relaxed in a bath, and when you feel relaxed, you psychologically feel cleaner. Gravity may drain your dirt down the drain, but not while the tub is still filled with water; all your body germs are swirling around in there with you. Still want to dunk your head underwater?

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 5 years ago from Florida Author


Thanks for the comment - sorry I missed it for so long! I must agree with your thoughts, particularly the last one. When my youngest son was little, it was almost a guarantee that before he plopped his posterior into the water, he had to urinate INTO the tub. I was so mortified....

Jim, aka Crash

VIVIAN 5 years ago


as 4 years ago

i love baths

Spyros 4 years ago

Healthier and cleaner? The two, combined.

First you bath. And then you take a quick shower to get rid of what's left.

lila 4 years ago

i see where both people are coming from i do like baths but if im very dirty i shower and i have a back /neck injury so it hurt to wash my hair especailly in the shower a bath is less painful;

Kourt 4 years ago

"People who are really obsessive about personal cleanliness can take a bath, then stand up and turn on the shower for a minute before they dry off. Then they should get dressed and see a therapist."

lol love it! I like both bath and showers but like the article say baths are more effective bc you cant scrub dead cells from showers unless you soak in water first. Also the oil and dirt binds to the soap, not you. and the little water you have left on your skin is usually patted off with a towel.

Tiffany 4 years ago

A bath because it makes u feel relaxed and for little kids they can play in the bathtub grown ups just relax and think about wonderful things and also if u really love showers u may mess alot of spots even if the ones u cant reach and if u take a bath it will be easier to clean urself without missing spots.

BILL 4 years ago

well, BBBBAAATTTHHH is too awesome for me

ImaDemitribute16 3 years ago

I think one of the best ways to get clean and relaxed is to soak in soapy water and then turn the shower on and wash your hair then get back in the tub, and then when your done, you can rinse in shower water.

It sounds like much, but it works.

Riley, aka, Demi God Tribute.

Emily 3 years ago

Think about it: if you get a shower or bath every day, or every other day, so it doesn't make that much sense that you would build up tons of dirt on your skin and "soak in your own filth". I definitely enjoy showers more (I went through a period when I broke one of the bones in my foot where I could only get baths) but don't really understand how people could think that baths are totally unhygienic. Most people took them as a small child. Were you perpetually dirty then?

jswana 3 years ago

Both are excellent as long as they are consistent. I do either every - single -day. Every other day should never be attempted! The fact is that you're cleaning and preening yourself and it's adding up, although skin/bacteria-wise that showers could be better.

hman 3 years ago

shower shower shower shower shower !!!!! want a bath to soak have at it but wash off with a shower !!!! its private in the bathroom !!! so lather up and wash those private parts good don't be afraid and if you cant scrub your privites or you don't scrub your private parts while in the bath you wont in the shower either way and your just a dirty scum bag.. lazy people take bathes only

dkstone 3 years ago

Wrong. This was studied and neither is right. If you don't soak your not getting the worst parts clean but your sitting in your filth. Your only clean if you bath and then shower off.

crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 3 years ago from Florida Author

Well now that is a new take on it! The question becomes, who really does that? Thanks for the comment DKStone!

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

You would have to think showers are more hygienic, since with a bath you are kind of marinating in dirty water. But for my taste, a bath is far more relaxing.

Bather 2 years ago

Misconceptions of bathing 101:

Showers cannot clean vaginas, bathing came first. Water gets into the places you need cleaning and then comes out. Vaginas are NEVER fully 'cleaned' in showers, ever.

Rings of dirt are formed around the tub because human skin is waterproof and repels dirt away when emersed. That's why baths are not 'dirtier'. Otherwise, why is the dirt on the side of the bath when you get out?

Skin is softened by soaking not showering. People who shower tend to have rougher skin.

Your feet stand in everybody else's 'gunk' in a shower. Foot feaces.

Showers by men 'save' water... Not by women who tend to have longer hair and therefore shampoo and condition their hair. It would take less water to run a bath.

Shower cleanliness is a misconception. Many a time I have visited a house only to see filthy, mouldy showers and spotlessly clean tubs...

...I know which I'd use given the choice.

Kyle Ryan Toth 2 years ago

Let us renew this debate by changing the subject ever so slighty. Which is healthier and cleaner: bathing in a river or showering in a waterfall?

Al G. 2 years ago

A bath is a more effective cleanser while a shower is the more effective rinsing method. Debate concluded.

Elyza 2 years ago

Grade A stuff. I'm unosiuteqnably in your debt.

ben 2 years ago

best answer soak yourself in a tub and clean your self as you would then drain the tub and have a quiick two min shower to get rid of the already loosened dirt on your body

karen 23 months ago

Anybody who knows anything about hygiene and pee in the tub should know that urine is sterile. In the bathwater it remains sterile. Bathwater has chlorine. In a shower, most people, especially kids, are going to do just what they say they say...I'm going to take a quick shower or I'm going to grab a shower. A bath is therapeutic for sore muscles, relaxing, floating dirt off in places thet your shower will never even think of. Can you tell I'm a bath advocate!

lisa 23 months ago

I was curious about what was better for u bath or shower I always asumed it was a shower but too clean yourself out now I know a bath is good too clean out your private areas. But clean your bathwater out don't just stay in the filthy water.

Cass 20 months ago

I have never understood this silly argument who actually sits in a tub after the washing part? Hence how are you sitting in your own filth? So both are very effective at getting you clean.

ringingthebells 19 months ago

Bathroom then shower for cleaning

SwedishDolfinn 18 months ago

First of all, you aren't sitting in your own filth, but instead getting it off, similar to the shower. As Bather said skin is waterproof, so dirt in water actually has no way of touching you.

Singing in the Shower 5 months ago

Bath first rinse yourself in shower. Use lots of water but it certainly cleans you well. Wash feet after shower seperately. After that you can only say: I've done a top job.....

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