How to Take a Bath

Three Parts:Preparing Your BathEnhancing Your Bathing ExperienceTaking Your Bath

Treating yourself with a hot or warm bath can feel like the height of luxury. It can help you unwind after a long day, warm you up on a winter's night, or heal sore and aching muscles. With just a little preparation, you can transform your bathroom into your own private spa and step out feeling clean, comforted, and relaxed.

Part 1
Preparing Your Bath

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    Rinse the bathtub if it hasn't been cleaned recently. The ideal time to clean a tub is immediately following a bath, but if it's been a while, you want to make sure you won't be bathing with any dirt or mildew.[1]
    • Spray your tub with a mixture of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 white vinegar. Allow the solution to stand for 15 minutes, then wipe with a cloth or sponge. Rinse with clean water, then wipe again. Alternatively, you can use a purpose made bathroom cleaning product, wipes and sprays are available.[2]
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    Plug the drain and begin filling the tub with water. You may have a to flip a lever near the faucet, or you may have a rubber stopper or bath plug that blocks the drain. If you're not sure if your plug is working, fill the bath with just a little water. The water level won't change if your plug is effective. If your plug is broken, missing, or ineffective, you can make a temporary stopper so you can still enjoy your bath:
    • Use a flat rubber jar gripper--the thing you use to help open stubborn lids--and lay it over the drain.
    • Wet a large hand towel and twist it, stuffing it into the drain. Just don't push it down too far.
    • Place an unused single-cup coffee pod in the open drain.
    • If it's a pop-up plug, get some plumber's putty and make a seal around the plug.
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    Adjust the temperature of the water so that it is no hotter than 100°F (38°C). While you may find a scalding bath relaxing, too-hot water actually agitates your nervous system and can cause a drop in your blood pressure. Your heart will start pumping harder, and you may feel dizzy or sick. On top of that, it can actually make it more difficult for you to relax and fall asleep after a hot bath.[3]
    • Use a thermometer if you want to ensure you don't run your bath too hot--this is especially important if you are pregnant.
    • Test the water with your wrist, not your hand. This will give you a more accurate sense of how the water will feel on the rest of your body.[4]
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    Fill the tub until it is about 2/3 full, then turn off the water. Remember that once you step into the tub, the water level will rise. If you fill it to the very top, water is going to spill over the sides and create a spillage and water could go everywhere.
    • Place a bath mat or towel on the floor to catch any water that might slosh out while you bathe or drip off your body when you get out. This will help prevent you from slipping and falling when you step out of the bath.
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    Bring something cool to drink and a washcloth soaked in cold water if desired. As you soak in the warm water, your body will start to try cooling you down by sweating. You can quickly become dehydrated, so make sure you are replacing those fluids by drinking plenty of water. Applying a cold washcloth to your forehead can keep you from overheating.[5]
    • Drink lemon or cucumber water and skip the diuretics (like soda, coffee, alcohol, or caffeinated tea), as these will further dehydrate your body if liked. [6]
    • If you find you get a headache after a bath, drinking water and releasing heat by cooling your forehead, hands, or feet should help.[7]

Part 2
Enhancing Your Bathing Experience

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    Create a soothing environment. If the purpose of your bath is to relax, bright, overhead lights and the sounds of arguing neighbors won't help you unwind. Dim the lights or light a few candles in the bathroom. Turn on calming music, like a classical station or some ambient noise, such as ocean waves or bird calls.[8]
    • If your bath has a curtain, draw it all the way or part-way to trap steam and heat. Just make sure the curtain is not in the bathtub with you.
    • If you have a heater in the bathroom, turn it on to make sure the temperature outside the bath water isn't jarringly cold. Running the bath with the bathroom door closed can also help create a warm environment. Ensure the heater doesn't get wet.
    • Don't use electronics in the tub. This can be dangerous (and potentially deadly). And while your phone or e-reader probably won't electrocute you if you drop it in the tub, it will be ruined.
    • Bring a magazine or book to read. Paperbacks are easier in the bath than heavy, hardback books.
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    Add bubbles, salts, or essential oils. Personalize your bathing experience by adding fun bubbles or bath bombs; essential oils for aromatherapy and to keep skin moisturized; or things like Epsom salts, honey, or oatmeal to soothe or heal skin and muscles.
    • Add oils or other extras when the tub is halfway full to ensure they disperse evenly throughout the water.[9]
    • Use at least an entire cup of oil per bath to reap the moisturizing benefits.[10]
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    Use a facial mask or hair treatment. Now is a great time to really pamper yourself. Exfoliate your body with a sugar scrub. Apply a mud or face mask and lay slices of cucumber over your eyes to soothe and de-puff. Try an oil hair treatment and deep condition your hair.[11]
    • Try a hydrating mask if your skin is dry or you're worried about it drying out in the bath.
    • Use a clay mask for super smooth skin. These are great if you have large pores or oily skin
    • Tea tree oil can help treat dandruff and moisturize dry hair.
    • Try just a little Moroccan oil on your hair for silky, not oily, tresses.
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    Give yourself a massage. Bring a small ball into the bath and place it between your body and the tub. Move your body around on top of the ball to massage your back muscles. You can control the pressure by allowing your body to float up if it's too intense.[12]
    • Try a relaxing face massage, too.
    • Massage your temples with the tips of your fingers, using a circular motion. This can help relieve tension and reduce headaches.
    • If you have a cold, try massaging the bridge of your nose to open up your sinuses. Pinch the bridge of your nose and slide your fingers down toward your nostrils.
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    Invest in a fluffy robe or towel, and have it ready post-bath. You want your bliss to continue once you've stepped out of the bath, and nothing says luxury like a big, fluffy robe or a soft, plush towel.[13]
    • Keep your robe or towel in the bathroom with you so you can immediately swaddle yourself.

Part 3
Taking Your Bath

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    Keep your bath under 30 minutes. There is some disagreement on the proper length of a bath, but it falls somewhere between 15-30 minutes. You run the risk of severely drying out your skin if you stay in too long. Wrinkled fingers is a good indication that you should start wrapping things up.[14]
    • If you do take an extra long bath, make sure you moisturize as soon as you step out of the bathtub.[15]
    • Bath salts can ease sore muscles, but quickly dry out skin. Keep your bath short if you're using salts.[16]
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    Skip the soap or save it for the end. Hot water can dry your skin, but it's actually soapy water that can do the most damage. Soap can strip the natural oils from your skin, so you may want to use a body wash or gel instead. Otherwise, just wait until the end of your bath so you're not sitting in soapy water for at least another 15 minutes.[17]
    • Look for bubble bath that includes a hydrating oil, or add oil to your bubble bath to keep your skin from drying out.[18]
    • Use a superfatted soap, which contains a lot of oil and will moisturize your skin.[19]
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    Take a quick shower before or after your bath.(optional) Again, there is a dispute over whether it's better to shower before or after bathing. Showering beforehand makes it easier to exfoliate and means you're already nice and clean when you soak.[20] A post-bath shower will help you rinse off any oils, masks, and conditioner that may linger on your body.[21]
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    Apply a moisturizer and pat your skin dry. Wet skin acts like a sponge, so using moisturizer immediately after your bath means your skin will absorb as much as possible. Gently pat your skin with a towel and avoid harsh rubbing, which can irritate your skin and may wipe off your moisturizer.[22]
    • Try coconut oil, shea butter, or cocoa butter for ultra-moisturizing action. "Butters" and "oils" are far more intensive than "lotions."[23]
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    Drain the tub and wipe it down with a clean rag. Taking a moment to wipe off oil and excess moisture will go a long way in preventing the build-up of soap scum, grime, and mildew.[24]
    • Give the tub a quick rinse with clean water, then use a clean, dry squeegee, microfiber cloth, or soft sponge to wipe it down.[25]


  • Never use electronics in or around the bathtub. This is extremely dangerous, and can result in electrocution and death.
  • Always test the water before getting into the bath to make sure that it is not too hot or cold.
  • Be careful not to slip when getting in or out of the tub.
  • Falling asleep in the bathtub could result in drowning; You can avoid this by only filling the tub with a small amount of water.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Bathing