How Often Should You Have a Bath and Why Do I Have to Take a Shower?

The whole point of a bath or shower is to eliminate dirt, oils, and odors from the body to a socially and culturally acceptable level.

If it doesn’t dry out your skin, bathing once every day works well.

If a bath every other day accomplishes these goals, then there is nothing wrong with that schedule, either.

Most people feel a lot better after taking a bath.

This is especially true in the summer or if you like in a hot and humid location like Florida.

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  • Carole Heath

    My mother always said to me once a week to wash your hair and take a bath was enough. But i don’t think it is in my opinion. Especially the bathing of the body i normally take a bath every 2 to 3 days and i wash my hair as well, i use a soapless wash for the intimate area not soap as i find it can make me sore at times. I also use wipes which helps to keep you fresh as well, i think some people do not bathe enough and body odor is a horrible smell in my opinion. I once worked with a woman who had terrible odor in the intimate area and when you got into the lift with her it took your breathe away. She looked clean we thought it may have been an infection, she was told about it and said she couldn’t get into the bathroom much as her husband was always in there, but after awhile the smell went so she must have taken more care with her hygiene after that. Shower gels and soaps are very cheap nowadays you can buy four bottles of shower gel in Lidl for about a £1.00p so really there is no excuse to have bad hygiene in this day and age.

  • Charles

    How often is more of a social matter than anything.

    The single largest factor is the availably of water and/or heating fuel.

    During the European occupation of the Americas, the priests had a lot of trouble with the natives, who, in their opinion, bathed far too often for good health.

    European population growth created a shortage of clean water and fuel fairly early. This led to decreased bathing–and the perfume industry.

    The Romny (Travelers, Gypsies) will not bath in standing water. A Western-style bath involves cleaning off your body and then sitting in the wash water. This is not a great way to get really clean.

    In the early years of the US is was common for people to bath once per week (usually Saturday.) In large part this had to do with the fact that water needed to be hauled, firewood cut & chopped and water heated on a stove–a lot of hard work! Often people would reuse the bath water for the whole family. In many areas people talked about the ‘once or twice a year’ bath, though how common this actually was I don’t know. The price of a bath in the late 1800’s in many US cities might cost anywhere from the price of a meal to the price of dinner for 5.

    While a bath might have been rare, a ‘sponge’ bath (localized cleaning with small amounts of water,) was common in many areas.

    In Japan and in ancient Rome, a bath is/was a form of relaxation, having your body washed (or in ancient Rome, scraped,) clean before entering. In either culture entering a bath without cleaning first would be discourteous.

    Cleansing is a chemical and mechanical process, as such, time is an important factor in determining how clean one gets.

    Soap and water act to maintain the dirt in suspension so that it can be rinsed away, scrubbing loosens dirt and removes dead skin cells mechanically so that the soap & water can do their job.

    From a health standpoint, your skin is home to many different micro-organisms, some of which Staphylococcus, act to prevent invasion by disease organisms. Overuse of disinfectants can prevent these bacteria from doing their job, actually making infection more likely!

    After your shower or bath, when you are cleanest, you have more bacteria than before! The difference is in the types of bacteria.

    Water-saving changes over the late 1900’s set the maximum flow rate for most showers in the US at 2 gallons per minute. Such savings are increasingly important as our population nears the maximum the planet can support.

    Buckminster Fuller invented a shower-fog device which could clean a person using under a pint of water using compressed air and water to make a ‘fog.’ I’ve been unable to find any sign that it ever made it beyond the prototype, or exactly how it works.

    The US Navy recommended shower method uses a minimum amount of water by using only enough to wet you before soaping and to rinse after scrubbing. On sailing vessels and coastlines with little water, it is common to wash ‘n rinse in sea water with a final rinse or wipe down with fresh water.

    There are a number of conditions which can lead to strong body odours even with regular cleansing, and poor hygiene often is a sign of depression.

    An ex-prostitute I know once told me that she always preferred to shower with a client prior to sex, as it gave her a chance to check for STD’s–good advice for any first sex together. People lie, their bodies don’t.

    Wigmakers prefer hair from people who seldom wash their hair, as the hair is in better condition. These days, that usually means a developing country.

    Head lice are not indicative of lack of cleanliness–bathing will not eliminate lice.

    They do, however, require a quite specific and narrow temperature/humidity in order for their eggs to hatch–this is found in the rear-most 2-3″ of hair on the head, shaving this area will eliminate lice as the lack of hair leaves no place to lay eggs and the wrong temperature/humidity profile for them to hatch.

    Shaving is by far the most reliable, easiest, quickest and least dangerous way to eliminate lice