Fun Facts

Showdown: Bath vs Shower

Shower-vs-Bath-ShowdownWhich has better hygiene?

Which is more hygienic or cleaner to wash in, a bath or a shower?

Generally most people will say a shower is more hygienic as any dirt is washed down the drain, rather than staying with you in your bath water. Though there is no solid research condemning baths as a breeding ground of dirt and disease.

The bottom line is that it does not really make that much of a difference. Washing every day is the most important issue, so whatever your preference is, go with it. If you like a bath, then have a bath, if you prefer to take a shower, then take a shower. Just make sure your shower is clean. You can use our guide here.

We’ll give the shower 1 point due to dirt simply being washed away.

Round 1:

Bath 0 – Shower 1

Which uses more water?

Do you use more water taking a bath, or do you use more water taking a shower?

The answer?

It depends.

Arrrgghhh! Don’t you hate it when people give you the answer “it depends”. They might as well say they don’t know!

Let’s dig deeper. The answer depends on three things;

  1. The size of your bathtub

  1. The time you take in the shower

  1. The flow rate of your shower head

Bathtub size

The average North American bathtub holds 50 gallons before it’ll spill over. So a full bath will use approximately 45 gallons and a half full bath will use about 25 gallons.

Shower time

A 1992 study (details here) revealed the average shower time in the U.S. was 8.2 minutes on average.

Shower head flow rate

The maximum flow rate for a shower head manufactured and sold in the U.S since 1992 is 2.5 gallons per minute. You can get a higher flow rate with an old shower head or by removing the water saver restrictor. This can increase flow rates to up to 5.5 gallons per minute. You can get a lower flow rate by using a water saving shower head, you can get a flow rate as low as 1.25 gallons per minute.

So let’s do the math.

Shower water usage:

Time / Flow

Water saver

1.25 gl/min


2.5 gl/min

High flow

5.5 gl/min

Short shower 5 min

6 gallons

13 gallons

28 gallons

Average shower 8.2 min

10 gallons

21 gallons

45 gallons

Long shower 15 min

19 gallons

38 gallons

83 gallons

Nice long shower 20 min

25 gallons

50 gallons

110 gallons

With a full bath using 45 gallons and a half bath using 25 gallons, the shower will use less water, most of the time.

So, unless you take nice long showers all the time using a standard or high flow shower head, a shower will use less water.

Round 2:

Bath 0 – Shower 2

Which is easier to clean?

In terms of what is easier to clean, this is a bit of a personal preference call here, although we’d say the bath is easier to clean. The bath only really has the tub and faucet that needs to be wiped clean, whilst a shower has the shower head, tile grout, glass etc. You also usually have more room to move whilst cleaning the bathtub compared to cleaning the shower.

Round 3:

Bath 1 – Shower 2

Which costs less to use?

The cost of bathing is mainly around water use i.e. water supply cost per gallon and power bills to heat your water.

As a shower uses less water and less hot water a shower will cost less on average to use compared to a bath.

Over the course of a year, you’d use about an extra 8,500 gallons of water if you were to take a bath each day instead of an average shower. With water and power bills this would cost you around $35 extra per year.

Round 4:

Bath 1 – Shower 3

Which saves you more time?

As we mentioned before, the average shower is 8.2 minutes in America. Although, if you’re in a hurry, you can easily shower in 5 minutes if you don’t have long hair.

To fill up a bathtub you need around 45 gallons. Usually a bathtub faucet will run around 6 gallons per minute. So, to fill up your bath, you’re going to need at least 7.5 minutes. That only leaves you with 42 seconds to wash yourself to beat the average shower.

A shower is much quicker as you don’t need to wait for the tub to fill up.

Round 5:

Bath 1 – Shower 4

The shower wins! 4 – 1.

Having said that, would you expect anything less from us here at I wouldn’t go so far as to call it biased though, because most of North America and the western world agrees with us on this.

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