Do You Get Cleaner in the Bathtub or Shower?

We, at South Side Story, are always on the lookout for stories that will have a profound effect on you, our faithful readers. We have tried to provide you with the answers to some of life’s most pressing concerns because we understand how important these issues are in ensuring that you lead fulfilling and productive lives.

After much digging, we have uncovered the dirt on that oft asked question – Do baths or showers get you cleaner?


About 65% of Canadian use the shower exclusively and forgo baths completely.

So before you turn on the shower or start running the water in the tub, read on to find out the best approach to take when scrubbing behind those ears or having some frolicking fun with your rubber duckie.

First off, a little history would not be remiss. Archaeologists have found evidence of early bathrooms in the palace at Knossos on the island of Crete that date from 2000 B.C.. They have determined that Minoans, the nobility at least, luxuriated in bathtubs that could be filled with hot and cold water that was conveyed by means of stone pipes and was emptied via a drain that disposed of waste water into an organized system of aqueducts.

By 1500 B.C. the Egyptians outfitted their homes with copper pipes and bathing became a focal point of their religious celebrations. The Romans continued bathroom remodelling by making bathing a social occasion and by making their bath rooms works of art. Public baths offered citizens a variety of health and beauty options and were designed to hold gardens, art galleries and libraries as well as bathing rooms. Initially men and women bathed, shopped and read separately at these public spas but by about 200 B.C. mixed bathing became the fashion. People stayed clean until about 500 B.C. until the fall of the Roman Empire. The invaders destroyed these tiled bathrooms at the same time that the Church began to impose its wrath on people who exposed their whole bodies while bathing. Their view was that it increased temptation and therefore was sinful and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

So most people stayed dirty for quite a few centuries. Even rich people forsook bathing and instead chose to liberally douse themselves in perfume. Poor people smelled even worse. The bathroom technology invented by those early civilizations was soon forgotten and outhouses and chamber pots were soon put to use again.

By the 1800s outbreaks of cholera and other diseases lead to the re-invention of the toilet and soon after the bathtub and shower. Interestingly enough, it has taken us more than 4,000 years, with the re-introduction of jacuzzis and hot tubs, to restore the bath room to the sinfully, luxurious room that it once was.

So now we come to the dilemma. Which way gets us cleaner?

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty or just plain grit, bathing and showering both offer enormous psychological benefits. Bathing is a relaxing ritual. Stress is sloughed from your mind just like dirt. Water temperatures that are hotter than your normal body temperature offer many benefits. As your body attempts to get rid of the heat generated by the hot water it expands the blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Your circulatory system gives up and goes with the flow so to speak and your blood pressure gently falls. Note though, that when more blood is concentrated in your skin, less oxygen is going to your heart and so people with heart trouble should not take baths with very hot water.

Showers on the other hand are invigorating. Has anyone ever heard a reclining, bath tub lounger belting out “Wake me Up Before You Go-Go” at the top of their lungs? In a shower part of your body is exposed to hot water while other parts are brushed by cool air. It is these fluctuations in temperature that increase your circulation and give you the strength to reach the high notes.

Spotify list of shower songsAccording to dermatologists the main goal in washing is to remove dirt, oil and dead skin. When you soak in a tub you hydrate your skin so that dead skin just floats away. No matter how hard you scrub in a shower you will not be able to remove as much dead skin. Fact – bathing removes more dead skin.

When you are in a shower all the dirt, oil and dead skin immediately go down the drain even though you are not getting nearly as much of that guck off of your body. People who bathe however, are the cleanest, provided they never get out of the tub. The minute they stand up, all the dirt and dead skin that have been floating on top of the water coat their bodies leaving them no cleaner than they were before immersion.
Fact : A cleaner you exits the bathroom after a shower. However you can only claim to be moderately clean but take heart, you are still cleaner than the bathtub person.

So the absolute best way to make sure you come out of the bathroom squeaky clean is to engage in the cleaning and relaxing benefits of a bath followed by the invigorating and rinsing off benefits provided by a shower.
One final thing to note. Dermatologists are quick to note that both bathing and showering are not necessary at all. Your skin couldn’t care less if it’s clean or dirty.


In 1911, Elm Street became the first paved street in Sudbury.
Other articles you may be interested in:
“After 50, you have to stop seeing your heart as a muscle and more as an unexploded bomb.” Hal Cruttenden

Advertise for as little as $100/week

Contact Us