The debate over which, between taking a shower and taking a bath, is better has been raging for a long time and ending it will take yet a long time still.
While it might be easy for one of the two to win the battle over the other, we are still going to continue arguing because each has positive factors going for it, while there are also negatives.
Some people argue that taking a bath is not very hygienic because one soaks in their own dirt for minutes on end.
Needless to say, taking a shower is quicker than taking a bath. I have woken up late on some days and all I had to do was walk right in and out of the shower, fifteen minutes tops, and I am on my way to wherever!
Logically, this means that some places might remain untouched during the shower, because the water just cascades down the body while the soap rub will just reach certain areas.
As for saving water, a lot of people have mixed reactions towards both. Some people argue that the shower only wastes water during a power shower or when taken for a long time while some sternly believe that showers are better than baths when it comes to saving water.
“International research has shown that an average 5 minute shower uses about 30-40 liters of water and a full bath uses between 200 and 225 liters of water,” said Matida Mmipi, the Public Relations Officer at the Water Utilities Corporation. “(We at the) WUC prefer people to take 3-5 minute showers. These save water, unlike full bath tubs.”
She added: “WUC advises people to take a shower. If one has to take a bath, we advise that the water level in the tub should not be above the ankles.”
The other bone of contention is which, between the two, is more hygienic than the other?
Two years ago, I found myself arguing over the same issue with a friend whom I had teased about not taking a bath regularly. Her come back had me dumbfounded.
She confidently told me that taking a bath was like taking my own filth and continuously splashing it all over my body again and again! The clever girl I was, I never had seen bathing that way, and it was, technically, true.
“It’s not even about hygiene. As long as you don’t share a bath, I think it is ok to take a bath,” said Dr Rahman of Gaborone. “But when a woman is soaking in a tub, vaginal acidity changes and this might cause a discharge.”
Other than “splashing your own dirt” on yourself all over, the other thing is rinsing the soap off after a bath. It is difficult to do that in a bath yet it is easier to do in a shower.
I cannot forget how many times I have seen some people with white patches from soap at the back of their necks or in their ears. This does not happen in a shower.
Even though this is the case, some scientists however believe that showers have another down side regarding our health.
In 2009, a group of scientists in the US claimed that showers could be dangerous to one’s health. The researchers found out that pathogens, which occur naturally at low levels in water supplies, can accumulate in high concentrations in “biofilms” inside shower heads.
The team probed 50 shower heads from nine cities in seven states, including Chicago, Denver and New York City.
In 30 per cent of them, they found “significant levels” of mycobacterium avium and related pathogens – specifically, “more than 100 times the background levels of municipal water”. Mycobacterium avium is a pathogen linked to pulmonary disease that most often infects people with compromised immune systems but can occasionally infect healthy people.
Those in the bath camp, however, rate it for its relaxing nature. Most people use baths to relieve tensed muscles and soothe aching muscles.
They particularly enjoy the time for themselves while soaked in therapeutic herbs or bath salts. It also aids in blood circulation in the body.
Admittedly, showers are fast and one could be done with a shower in less time than it takes to fill a tub.
Showers are also effective because “they allow you to wash and rinse”. Baths, on the other hand, allow you to wash, but you can’t really rinse off the soap or dirt.
But baths do feel really good.
“Water users in Botswana should consider using showers as they save not only water but electricity as well,” insists Mmipi. “We should all have a paradigm shift and make water conservation become a way of life and we should conserve water even when nobody is watching, in the comfort of our bathrooms.”