Cleanliness: Baths Vs. Showers

Written by kenneth w. michael wills
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Cleanliness: Baths Vs. Showers
Whether you bathe or shower is not important -- both offer a good personal-hygiene option. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

It really doesn't matter if you take a bath or if you shower; what's important is consistent personal hygiene. It is important to bathe or shower once a day, washing every part of your body with soap and warm water. Avoid extremely hot water, vigorous scrubbing and harsh soap as these irritate and dry out the skin. Make sure you dry your body well after a shower or bath. Personal hygiene has a long, illustrious history with some dark ages peppered throughout. This history demonstrates the importance of personal hygiene and as well as individual benefits of both showering and bathing, underscoring that both offer excellent opportunities for good personal habits.

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History of Personal Hygiene

Peering into the past, you will find scores of written accounts of bathing and showering for hygiene and ritual purposes. The ancient Egyptians went as far as installing public bathing facilities in the tombs of the dead. If you have read the Bible or are familiar with the Torah, you will find the ancient Israelites placed a premium on personal cleansing and hygiene. The ancient Greeks installed hot and cold water systems for bathing and used pumice for scrubbing. The Romans are famous for extensive public bathing facilities.

Thereafter, however, it seems we forgot our history, and the European Dark Ages neglected bathing, introducing us to plagues and widespread disease. The Middle Ages bought bathing back in style, but by the Renaissance it had fallen out of favour again. It took a while, but slowly minds changed, aided by scientific discoveries, and today we place a premium on personal hygiene, teaching our children from about 2 years old the importance of cleanliness.

Importance of Personal Hygiene

The emphasis on personal hygiene is pure and simple: Good personal hygiene kills germs and bacteria and helps prevent illness and the spread of disease. Today we teach our children when to wash their hands and why, such as after using the bathroom or before eating dinner. We stress washing our hands before eating or preparing food to prevent contamination. If history tells us anything, it is that when humans neglect personal hygiene, disease can strikes, often with devastating consequences. We can still see this in societies that do not have access to ample clean water supplies where bathing or showering is neglected as a survival tactic.

Benefits of Bathing

Taking a bath offers some unique benefits. For people with dry skin, bathing can be a better option than showering -- regular baths can help maintain sufficient moisture in the skin and prevent cracking and peeling.

Benefits of Showering

On the other hand, showering can help conserve water. If you keep your shower short -- right around five minutes -- you can save quite a bit of water. A low-flow showerhead can reduce the amount of water dispensed. You can also turn the shower on when you wet your body, turn it off when lathering, and turn it on again to rinse off .

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