The question of whether to have a bath or a shower is answered differently by different people. A dancer I know insists she would be a big knot of tired, tense muscles without her bath. The chance to soak requires her to take time out of her busy schedule, which affords her greater peace of mind. She is partial to lavender bath salts.
An athlete at my gym who works for a marketing agency is equally adamant about his cleaning routine, except he prefers showers. He takes a shower every day after his workout before heading to the office. He says it makes him feel relaxed, renewed and ready to make the transition to company time.
What are the factors involved in deciding the question? The energy cost of bath vs. shower has been debated for decades. A four-minute shower using a water-saving, low-flow showerhead uses 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 the bather.) In the energy efficiency category, a shower seems to be the clear winner.
The dancer admits that her daily bath uses a great deal of water. This is especially true since, after her soak, she takes a quick shower to rinse off the residual soap and grime clinging to her from the dirty bath water. She has decided it’s a necessary part of her health and fitness routine. She needs it to support her career.
The athlete takes three-minute showers, so he is even farther ahead in terms of energy efficiency. He points out, however, that his wife takes eight-minute power showers to relax fully after a day of chasing the kids. They have an old-fashioned showerhead, which sends water through at twice the rate of a newer, efficient one. That’s 40 gallons of water every time the wife showers.
The question is more complicated than it sounds. A bath is a real luxury. It is also a practical necessity in households with young children. A shower can be an efficient way to keep clean. It can also involve a luxury installation of dual showerheads, steam rooms and heavy flow.
Someone who is concerned about environmental impact will prefer a shower, because it can be regulated to use the least water. Unless you’re talking about sponge baths, a bath always takes a great deal of water. Household water use is of major concern in preserving water supplies. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day.
A bath takes up more room in the home. 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 tub in its bathrooms has less value on the real estate market. That’s true despite the fact that showering is by far the preferred cleanliness ritual today. People don’t take that many baths anymore.
Showers get you cleaner, but they don’t give you a chance to soak. Baths take too long for today’s busy schedules, but when you do need a break, baths are incomparable.
The practical home solution would seem to be a tub/shower combination with a movable showerhead. This solution provides the most options for a household. Daily showers can soothe, energize and refresh. Occasional baths can restore health, relieve stress and relax tensed muscles. Water use can remain efficient. The only drawback would be getting a teenager to turn off the shower in a reasonable amount of time.
JT Spas are UK based luxury bathroom suppliers.