Bath vs shower

Bath vs shower is an age old debate but hangs largely on personal preference. Bernard Preston enjoys an indulgent, full stream shower, using entirely lovely soft, harvested rainwater.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 23rd July, 2019.

By Bernard Preston

Indulgent shower

There are three issues, to my mind.

The first is cleanliness, the second relaxation and the third the use of the world's valuable resources; others might add to those the effect on the skin of indulgent bath salts and luxurious oils.

I don't think there are many of us who would disagree that you can get your body cleaner by showering, rather than lying in your dirty water.

I would add secondly that washing your hair in the shower is a definite plus, and the basin is an invitation for a disaster; you may suffer an attack of acute lower back or neck pain.

In the shower you can certainly get more of the shampoo and conditioner out of your hair, as compared to the bath; I also have reservations of the effect of those chemicals on our health. Research in the Netherlands, for example, reveals that men who use cosmetics are significantly less fertile.

I'm pretty sure shampoo qualifies as a cosmetic, and so getting all of it out of your hair is an important issue; use the shower.

Or, a bath with a shower head on the side would qualify.

And thirdly, water scarcity in the world is the norm in many cities. Standing in two of these elongated buckets means it's easy to harvest your detritus for flushing the toilet. Don't fill them to the brim, or you may be scheduling a visit to consult your chiropractor.

These are overfilled.

Harvesting shower water.

Bath vs shower

Bath vs shower reveals that the latter is definitely more water efficient.

A half bath, which is probably what most of us would use, contains about 100 litres of water. After a sunny day that would be about one third of hot from the geyser, and the remainder from the cold tap.

On an average day, perhaps 40 percent would be hot water.

The average person apparently enjoys an eight minute shower.

The normal shower head uses 10 litres per minute, which translates into about 80.

Our indulgent shower head, only morally justifiable as the water comes entirely from rainfall, uses 50 percent more in eight minutes.

A low-flow shower head might use only 40 litres.

In conclusion, a ten minute shower using an average head, uses the same amount of water as a half-filled bath.

Bernard Preston's fifteen minute shower uses 250 litres of soft rainwater; it is entirely relaxing and indulgent, but only for those who harvest their rainwater.

Water saving showerhead

In August 2016 I am doing a locum in Holland; in the home where I'm staying there is a water saving showerhead; there is also a bath which is not common in the Netherlands.

I was inclined to indulge for the first time in many years in the bath vs shower debate, but haven't. Habits are ingrained.

I never realised just how unsatisfying the jet from the water saving showerhead is; the indulgent shower enjoyed by those who save their rainwater alone makes it worth the effort.

Late winter rains have filled the reservoir meaning we will not have to use a drop from the municipal reticulation this year.

Rainwater reservoir

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting into a reservoir such as this is really not difficult, nor particularly expensive, unless you choose to line it with fibreglass. The beauty of it, of course, is that it renders the bath vs shower debate meaningless; you can have your cake and eat it.

Water scarcity in the world is a reality for many; harvesting your own rainfall is not only cost effective but contributes to a greener planet.

You can have your three-quarters full bath, or your fifteen minute indulgent shower, and eat it, quite without guilt; you are not wasting the earth's resources. The water simply passes from the heavens, into your reservoir, through your home and back into the ground where it was heading anyway.

As far as relaxation is concerned, it's entirely a personal preference. Bernard Preston hates a bath, and has used theirs only once in five years.

The good wife on the other hand uses it almost daily, with a shower perhaps twice a week, mainly to wash her hair and get all those chemicals out.

In the bath vs shower debate, I believe relaxation to be a non-issue; it's personal preference.

As far as the bath salts and luxuriant exotic oils for our skin, I'm afraid I can't comment. If it requires a rather fuller bath to totally immerse the body then, yes, it uses more water.

Gardeners have a lot of ingrained dirt in their feet; it's true that a good soak in the bath gets them cleaner.

These are our water innovation ideas. What are yours? Personally I am not into saving teaspoons of water; let's do it properly to make an impact.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is a semi retired chiropractor who's become something of a greenie. He's glad that in their home the bath vs shower debate is completely irrelevant; both he and she who must be obeyed can enjoy unrestricted access to hot water.

The green journey is really more of a spiritual voyage; it has to with such matters as leaving a habitable planet for your children's children so they won't curse the graves where we hope our remains will lie unmolested. That means wean off plastic and the race to end waste of food; uncomfortable thoughts.

The large underground reservoir for harvested rainwater in their garden provides all the needs of their home and garden; they even drink it without filtration. Interesting research suggests that our obsession with cleanliness may be the cause of an underdeveloped immune system that starts attacking our own bodies.

You will need one of the self priming pumps if you plan to harvest your own rainwater, and use it in the home and garden.

If you want to split hairs then one might also want to consider how much electricity is used to pump the water from the large dams to your home. Since ours is driven entirely by our solar generator, using only sunshine energy, it's another plus on the side of backyard permaculture; working with nature instead of against it.

Also our passive solar water heater uses no electricity; the vacuum in one tube was defective on arrival and had to be replaced.

Solar tubes geyser

The Shower is a titivating chapter from one of Bernard Preston's books.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Rainwater harvesting model
  3. Bath vs shower

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie. Or, better still, Face Book or Twitter it. 


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa


What's this site about?

Bernard Preston books

A family affair by Bernard Preston comes after the trilogy that starts with Frog in my Throat.
Femoral nerve AP Xray from one of Bernard Preston's books.

Bernie's choice foods

Cooking green beans Bernard Preston passion

Bernie's bread

Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

Bernie's garden

green beans and granadillas Bernard Preston

Bernie's bees

Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

Bernie's chickens

Chickens for free range eggs.

Bernie's solar

Residential solar panels at Bernard Preston's home

Bernie's rainwater harvest

Harvesting rainwater to a reservoir in the garden means a steady supply that is unpolluted by environmental toxins.