Difference between a shower and a bath
Most contemporary homes have bathrooms either with a shower, a bath or something that can be used for either. People typically prefer one over the other, as they are both effective methods for cleaning oneself. Despite serving the same purpose, there are still a couple differences between the two.
Water delivery method
When showering, an individual stands under a spray of either warm or hot water. The water falls around them in droplets then falls to the ground and through a drain. Because the water sprays, there is usually a curtain or door located around the shower in order to prevent it from spraying outside of the shower area. These can be decorative and either exist as a fixed part of the shower, such as when there is a door, or removable, as is the case when a shower rod is installed to hang a curtain. The curtain itself can be either one or two layers.[i]
While showering involves the falling of water onto and around a person, bathing consists of the immersion of the individual into a standing basin of water. Unlike when showering, the drain is closed so that the water may collect. Once there is enough water for a person to immerse themselves, the water is typically turned off. Once in the bath, a person typically washes their body with the water and soap in order to clean.[ii]
A shower typically contains several common types of equipment. Though they are sometimes integrated into a bathtub for multi-purpose, the equipment used for showering is either different or simply uses a different setting. Typically, there will be a drain located on the bottom, and either a shower curtain or door. The major difference though, is the use of a shower head to deliver the water. There are many different types, including fixed shower heads that easily connect to standard plumbing fixtures, and shower handsets that connect with a flexible hose so that they can be moved or they can connect to the mount and function like a fixed shower head. There are also ceiling-mounted faucets that allow for rain drop showering as it uses gravity to have the water fall at a low or medium pressure from directly above. Adjustable shower heads have numerous settings, including a massage and a high-pressure setting. Finally, shower panels are unlike a single showerhead because they are wall-mounted and spray the water onto the body horizontally.[iii]
Bathing is done in the bathtub, regardless of whether there is a separate shower or not. The only other equipment is going to be a fixed tap that allows the water to be turned on. With the drain closed, the water fills the bathtub and is then turned off. Unlike the various types of showerheads, the tap is typically standard in that allows for only an ‘on’ and an ‘off’ setting.
Ability to change
Showers are typically used more frequently than baths and one of the reasons is that you have more options for changing the settings and temperature while you are in the shower. Whereas a bath is typically one temperature (that slowly drops as time passes), you can dynamically adjust the temperature while in the shower. The response time is typically only a few seconds. In order to adjust the temperature in the bath, you will typically have to drain some of the water, then replace it with either warmer or cooler water. This process is much less responsive. Showerhead settings can also typically be changed dynamically allowing for greater flexibility in one’s shower experience.
One of the reasons that showering is becoming a more popular option is that it typically requires much less water than a bath. This may become increasingly important as environmental awareness becomes more important. A typical shower will use only approximately 80 liters of water, while a bath will use about 150-almost double.[iv]
Originally, showers were not man-made structures, but were used in nature where waterfalls were present. It was considered to be a method to get completely clean and it was also more efficient than manually transporting water. Ancient Greeks and Romans took this idea and used their plumbing networks to bring in water to large communal shower rooms which were commonly located inside a bathhouse. The first mechanical shower was developed in the 18th century in London, but recycled water through each cycle. Improvements to this design were made in the next century which allowed for piping to be connected to ensure clean water was brought in and dirty water taken away. As indoor plumbing became more common, so did the shower.[v]
Bathing was common in ancient civilizations across the world. Until the Middle Ages, it typically occurred in public bathhouses, except among the elite. As personal hygiene grew in importance, bathing became more common. Like with the shower, as indoor plumbing became more common, so did bathtubs.[vi]
Cultural function and purpose
Both showering and bathing are typically completed for personal hygiene benefits, however, they both also have other cultural functions and purposes. Bathing can sometimes be used as a religious ritual (baptism), or a therapeutic purpose or even as a recreational activity. Many people find that taking a bath can be quite relaxing and will engage in this activity even when they do not need to take one for cleanliness. In Japan, many will clean themselves before entering a bath so as not to contaminate the water. Other cultures still consider bathing to be a social activity by participating in public bathhouses or saunas.[vii]
While there are many cultural significances with bathing, there are fewer with showering. It is typically only considered for its value in promoting cleanliness and hygiene. However, it has become somewhat known for its relaxing and therapeutic abilities.[viii]
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[i] Shower. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shower
[ii] Bathing. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing
[iii] Shower. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shower
[iv] Shower. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shower
[v] Shower. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shower
[vi] Bathing. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing
[vii] Bathing. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing
[viii] Shower. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shower