Recovering the Lost Art of Taking a Bath

Taking a bath is a simple luxury and a lost art. But it’s such an easy and fun way to relax! Here’s why you should make time for baths, plus 15 things to make your bathing experience a soothing at-home spa.Taking a bath is a simple luxury and a lost art. Here's why you should make time for baths, plus 15 things to make your bathing experience a soothing at-home spa! #SelfCare #SpaNight

I’ve often said to myself that if I was rich, I’d indulge in very long, hot showers. It would be a luxury to ignore the water and heating bills and just enjoy the massage of hot rain while I let my thoughts drift on and on.

But when I think about it, life has plenty of luxuries to offer…regardless of one’s bank account. For instance, I am blessed to live in a house that has a bathtub. Fancy it is not, but I can add a few details to create my own little spa without spending much at all!

A basic, functional bathtub is a standing invitation to lie back and relax out of the never-ending stream of busyness that courses through our days.

And I believe that taking baths is yet another lost art worth recovering. Most houses in the United States have bathtubs, but kids are usually the only ones using them. Adults shower, and quickly, so they can get on with their day.

As I write this Lost Arts series of blog posts, I’ve noticed something: Many old-fashioned habits and practices require us to slow down, to be intentional. It takes more time to cook a meal from scratch or dress up for your day. It’s not productive–in a modern way–to sit on your porch. But these practices enrich our days. They cultivate that sweet, simple life that’s an antidote to the crush of our hectic, technology-logged culture.

So the next time you want to slow down, practice some self care, (and probably get a better night’s rest afterwards), draw a bath and relax. A few years ago I made it a New Year’s Resolution to take more baths (I called them “spa nights”). Since I’ve been pregnant with baby #2, baths have become even more alluring and necessary. I love getting off my feet and bathing achy muscles and joints in the warm, fragrant water. Soaking in the tub also gives me a chance to calm my mind, pray, and savour this season of pregnancy.

Regardless of what era of life you’re in, I think we could all use the serenity and rejuvenation that a bath provides!

I have two tips for you when it comes to implementing this habit in your life:

Practice the old-fashioned, glamorous habit of taking a bath! Here are 15 things to make a better bath time.

Tip #1: Keep your tub clean

Do not let a dirty tub be your excuse for never enjoying a bath! Deep clean your tub if it hasn’t been done in a while, and then make sure to give it a quick scrub down every time you clean the bathroom. That way, whenever you want to take a bath you’ll just need to wipe it out and you’re good to go!

Tip #2: Just do it

Besides a dirty tub, there will be lots of other excuses you come up with for not taking a bath. Maybe it seems like too much work to assemble your supplies, or you’d rather just veg with Netflix, or you just keep putting it off indefinitely. Believe me, you’ll never regret taking a bath after the fact. So tell yourself “I’m going to take a bath tonight,” and then do it! Keep your supplies together in a little basket if that helps you get ready faster. Or just soak for 20 minutes so you still have time for another evening activity, too. Make it happen.

15 things to make taking a bath special and spa-like

As I said before, taking a bath is an opportunity to enjoy a little simple luxury. There are few things that can make your bathing experience very special without needing to buy anything fancy.

Pick a few items from the following list to enhance your bathing experience:

1. Candles

Anything naturally-scented and nontoxic is great! Candles don’t give me enough light to read by, so I also plug in a bedside lamp so that I can avoid the harsh overhead lighting.

2. Bath salts

You can simply buy a big bag of Epsom salts, or make your own easy detox bath soak. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of salts to each bath.

3. Bath bombs

Bath bombs are a fun way to add several goodies to your bath at once–salt, moisturizing oils, fragrance, etc. You can make your own version using fragrances or herbs you like.

4. Bubble bath

A layer of bubbles insulates your bathwater so it stays warm longer. Personally, I’d like to try the fragrances from Deep Steep, like this fig and apricot bubble bath!

5. Bath tub tray/caddy

I got this bathtub tray on sale at Aldi this past Mother’s Day. It’s perfect for letting me read in the tub, and keep a drink and snack handy. You can find similar bath caddies on Amazon.

6. Essential oils

Mix a few drops in a tablespoon of Castile soap or carrier oil (almond oil is a good one). Add to tub after it’s filled, so the oils won’t dissipate too quickly. Here are 10 popular essential oils, and what they help you with. You can also add essential oils to a diffuser to fill the whole bathroom.

7. Bath pillow

This is a great way to help you rest your neck and shoulders. I’ve got my eye on something like this comfy bath cushion.

8. Background music

Here are some of my favourite CDs to listen to in the tub:

You could also use bathtime as an opportunity to listen to an audiobook.

9. Green tea

Bathing in green tea can help soften your skin and let your body detox. Steep 5 tea bags in the water as the tub fills.

10. Special soap, body wash, or lotion

Bath time is the perfect “special occasion” to pull out the fancier, more expensive body products you’ve received as gifts. You can also make and use your own scrubs, like this strawberry lemonade foot scrub or a moisturizing honey vanilla body polish.

11. A drink

Have some wine, hot tea, coconut water…whatever mood you want to set.

12. Chocolate or a pastry

Besides something to drink, I always like a little something sweet during bath time. The next time you bake a treat or visit a pastry shop, save one in the freezer so it will be ready to pull out for bath night.

13. Reading material

I recommend you banish your phone from the bathroom and bring in a book or magazine instead. (The bath tray (see #5) is essential for making tub reading comfortable, by the way.)

14. Space heater

If it’s winter time, you might want to place a space heater in the bathroom to keep the room from getting chilly!

15. Scrub brush or special sponge

Your skin will already feel good from soaking in the tub, but a little massage never hurt, either(:

Become a bath lover with these 15 things to make bath time a spa-like experience!

After your bath

Be sure to drink a glass of water to help you re-hydrate, since you’ll have lost moisture in the warm water. I love to put rosewater facial toner on my face and neck, and then use some Radiance Body oil from Wilder Supply Co.

Sometimes I’m so drowsy after a bath that I just collapse into blissful sleep. Other times I’m in a relaxed, wakeful state, and I might write a letter or do some more reading.

However your bath time winds up, make it a goal to take baths more often. It’s a lovely, easy way to add a touch of old-fashioned glamour to your life!

[question]Do you think taking baths is an old-fashioned practice? What do you add to your bath time to make it special?[/question]

P.S. The bath tubs pictured in this post are all ones I’ve had the pleasure of taking baths in on various vacations. It’s always a good idea to take a picture of special bath tubs, because you never know when you might write a post on the lost art of taking a bath!(;

This post is part of my “lost arts” series, where I pick an old-fashioned habit to discuss and talk about why we should blend it back into our modern-day lives. Here are the other posts in this series (I’ll be adding more in the coming months!):

Recovering the Lost Art of Dressing Up

Recovering the Lost Art of Porch Sitting

Recovering the Lost Art of Cooking from Scratch

Recovering the Lost Art of Analog Living

Recovering the Lost Art of Old-Fashioned Blogging

Recovering the Lost Art of Solitude

Recovering the Lost Art of Writing Letters

And here’s my post on 5 Old-Fashioned Habits That Are Due for a Comeback


  1. I have loved taking baths for many years, but I don’t use all that stuff. About 1/2 cup of epson salts is enough; and a lovely bar of fragrant soap with a washcloth is enough. It’s enough just to feel the hot water and relax my muscles for a bit, then a brisk scrub, rinse and I’m rejuvenated. If I had to wait to gather all those supplies I’d still be waiting. It all sounds romantic, but it really isn’t necessary for relaxing and having quiet time to think deep thoughts.

    1. Yes, a bath can be perfectly wonderful even if very simple! I certainly wasn’t suggesting people use ALL of these things for every bath. I certainly don’t, myself! I just like to pick an item or two to make things special. It would be way too much work to gather all this(:

  2. I like to take really hot epsom salt baths, so I take baths seasonally during the cooler months.
    I puts e.o.s in my salt mix, but the smell usually does dissipate quickly, so running a diffuser too is a great idea! I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that!

  3. Our home of 28 years had a claw foot tub. I was really the only one who used it. The best part about the bathroom? It had 2 ceiling lights that I replaced with inexpensive chandeliers. It made the room special. Try it!

  4. I love taking baths. Epsom salts are a must! Along with relaxing music and candle light. Right now – all I can manage is a very quick shower. I miss baths, but I am only 6 weeks postpartum with our fifth child in 9 years time. I’ll get back to them soon enough.

  5. Hey, Man here. I bathe every day. Hot, Hot Hot. And then I take a space blanket in as well. After having a long sweat, I pour ice water over my head several times. I emerge a younger , more radiant man.

    thanks for letting me chirp,


  6. I absolutely adore this series.; I’ve never seen anything like it! Every time I read your blog entries, I find myself nodding in agreement. It’s truly a gift to be able to connect online with such wonderful people! Have a wonderful day,

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