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Power shower hacks?
December 15, 2005 3:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me become a power shower power-user.

I moved into a new flat (apartment) with no bath. I feel like I'm not getting the most out of my shower. I crave proper soaking in a tub, and the shower seems so unappealing first thing in the morning. It is however a good shower; decent water pressure, endless hot water at a constant temperature, and a proper overhead fitted nozzle, not a handheld. What are your top "shower hacks" for getting the best showering experience?
posted by roofus to Grab Bag (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I always find shampoo and soap useful.

(is that the kind of advice you're after?)
posted by the cuban at 3:23 AM on December 15, 2005


I too, am confused as to what kind of advice you're looking for. I NEVER take a bath, and always shower, because frankly I just find it odd to be sitting in a tub full of my own filth. But that's just me. I much prefer the "wash your way down" method of the shower.
posted by antifuse at 3:41 AM on December 15, 2005


Handhelds can be better than overheads; you can reach places you may not ordinarily get to easily with a simple overhead.

I'm not sure what you mean by shower hacks, though; it sounds like you've got all the basics covered, especially the hot water.
posted by chrominance at 3:42 AM on December 15, 2005


You can get one of those "in shower" shaving mirrors so you can do your shaving there. The one I used to have hooked up right before the nozzle; water cycled through it keeping the mirror from fogging up. Upon re-reading, if you mean that the nozzle is overhead like "directly above the tip-top of my head" the mirror might not be long enough to bend down and be visible.
posted by blueberry at 3:43 AM on December 15, 2005


We use a squeege to keep the door and all the shower glass free of water spots. We thouroughly clean once a week or so with paper towels and Windex. Is that helpful? We also use bleach or maybe Tilex to prevent mold. Are these hacks?
posted by fixedgear at 3:46 AM on December 15, 2005


If you crave a bath for its relaxing qualities, try getting a shampoo or body wash with mint or lavender (or anything with a nice smell, really--Philosophy has some sweet ones) and use really hot water. Here's a link to Bath & Body Works' aromatherapy section. The steam will create a little aromatherapy box. That is what got me through three years of dorm community showers. :-)
posted by saucy at 4:21 AM on December 15, 2005


I know it's totally weird, but I sit down in the shower. Always. At 6:30 in the morning, my shower helps wake me up. Before and during the shower, I'm still too damn tired to stand for any period of time. After my restful shower, I'm ready to go. It's really no different from sitting in the bath, but I prefer the feeling of fresh water rushing over me as opposed to stewing for 20 minutes in water I've already made dirty.
posted by Brittanie at 5:16 AM on December 15, 2005


How about choosing a new shower head? Pulsating jets are nice, especially after a workout.
posted by tetsuo at 5:19 AM on December 15, 2005


I read directions on cleaning your showerhead by tying a bag of vinegar to the showerhead and submerging it overnight. It's supposed to help clean the gunk inside and give a better spray. I still have yet to do it so I can't say if it works or not.
posted by KathyK at 5:41 AM on December 15, 2005


You mean like this?
posted by staggernation at 6:05 AM on December 15, 2005


I second the recommendation for switching to a handheld. It makes cleaning the harder to reach areas a snap.
posted by NoMich at 6:05 AM on December 15, 2005


Caffiene soap. Why bother with coffee?
posted by filmgeek at 6:07 AM on December 15, 2005


My eccentric brother would do this every morning: Grab small plastic lawn chair / stool and place it in his shower, turn shower on warm / hot, sit in chair, relax and fall asleep under the warm comfortable water, remain asleep until the hot water turned to cold water and woke him up. Now that's a shower hack.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:27 AM on December 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


Shave in the shower. Use a mirror if you really need one, but the best timesaving routine I've found is: brush teeth, lather shampoo into your scalp, (keep eyes closed), shave blind, rinse your noggin, then get going with the washcloth and soap, rinse. Done.
posted by mumeishi at 6:52 AM on December 15, 2005


If you pee in the shower do it early on so there is enough time for the water to wash the pee away.

If you beat the bishop, clean it up. That shit can be slippery.

Keep extra soap within arm's reach.

If you need to poop, do it before you get in the shower. Toilet paper biodegrades immediately when your ass is wet, leading to the inevitable "poke-through", resulting in the inevitable "poop under the fingernails."

Sex in the shower isn't always as fun as it looks in the movies. Someone is always blocking the water, causing the other person to go into a hypothermic coma. It can be done, and when it works it's fun, but usually it's just stiffy-killer. The shower is good for digital foreplay though, but kneeling down for oral foreplay usually ends up with the giver getting a facefull of water.

If you think you hear a noise from outside the shower, someone is about to stab you repeatedly with a large knife. Turn up the music.

Use a new washcloth each day. Think about the order in which you wash your parts: face, arms, legs, body, crotch, ass. Most people then leave the washcloth hanging in the damp shower to dry. By the next morning their washcloth has a large colony of ass-Cooties on it which they then begin washing their face with.

No matter how much you enjoy toast with your morning coffee, do not bring the toaster into the shower with you.
posted by bondcliff at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2005


I've been thinking how nice it would be to have a digital temperature control for the shower itself. Why have to turn knobs? Is this 1950? If you know you want the water to be 102 degrees, there should be a way to push a button and make it so.
posted by kdern at 7:03 AM on December 15, 2005


It's in your head. Showers are good. They stimulate. Go over your body with a washcloth with some kind of soap (Nivea shower gel for men is good). Rinse good.

In winter, you want to heat yourself up. On hot days, you want to at least finish with cooler water.

When you're finished, get into the air quick! You want to get dry as fast as possible, to keep that fresh feeling.

I hope by 'first thing' you mean after a nice cuppa!

Am I the only one that understands this is (almost certainly) a Brit asking, lost w/o his bath?
posted by Goofyy at 7:13 AM on December 15, 2005


I guess I've always secretly wanted one of these, but never quite enough to order one. I do envy people with the types of shower stalls that have a pre-molded seat built into the lining. Maybe envy is too strong a word to use when talking about shower seats. Makes it sound kind of Shakepearean, when really I just think it would be sort of cool to have a seat in my shower stall.

When showering, you definitely want to work from the top down. Shampoo, wash face, neck, arms, chest, groinal vicinity, legs, feet, and any appendages you may have that are lower than that (your physique may vary). But that is just a general principle of cleaning that works on everything from cars to dogs. You probably know it already.

Showers get steamier than baths, don't they? If your mirror is fogging up, rub a little circle of shaving cream on it (soap works too, but not as well), then wipe it off. Due to science, the mirror don't fog up no more.

Definitely get a bath mat to stand on, because you could die.

And.. oh.. you definitely want a handheld shower head. You got places on your person that the regular shower head isn't going to get to, no matter how much yoga you do in there.
posted by Hildago at 7:43 AM on December 15, 2005


This is my dream shower, and would either be qualified as a "hack" or a "jebus, why'd you spend that kind of cash on a shower?"

Of course, the jets would also blow hot air at the end of the shower so I wouldn't need to use a towel.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2005


I shave in the shower all the time. Without a mirror.
This provides constant hilarity to my wife who points out the patches I have missed as we drive to social functions.

Can't live without this stuff either. I have turned into a dandy.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2005


If you want better water pressure, remove the water pressure limiter inside the shower head. This is a sure (and sometimes illegal) way to get the best pressure. Unscrew the head and there is usually a plastic thing that keeps the water from coming through at full pressure. This is used in water conscious areas (of which I am not it :))
posted by _zed_ at 8:26 AM on December 15, 2005


Removing that limiter could be dangerous to the health of your showerhead if your water pressure is incredibly high. Living in an apartment where full on water fills a 4 gallon bucket in about 5 seconds (toilet fills after flushing up quicker than you can get off of it too) meant the showerhead sprung leaks at the seams and eventually burst after 2 weeks of that. :D
posted by shepd at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2005


Some people shower facing the showerhead. Some people (me) shower with their backs to the showerhead. Try it both ways and see which one you like better. If you turn your back to the shower, it may require a limbo-esque kind of move when you get to washing your hair, depending on how tall you are and how high the showerhead is. I don't have this problem at home but have occasionally encountered it in hotels.

For a very relaxing shower, start with the water just as hot as you can possibly stand it and shower in that for 10-15 minutes. Then adjust the water so it's slightly on the cool side and enjoy that for awhile. I recommend not doing this when you have somewhere to be afterwards, though; I inevitably fall asleep.

No matter how much you enjoy toast with your morning coffee, do not bring the toaster into the shower with you.

Of course, you already knew that from taking baths.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:40 AM on December 15, 2005


Hey, I'm an American and I'd be lost without my bath. But I digress...

* Even if you don't go for some super-fancy showerhead, consider spending 20 bucks (er, the UK equiv.) or so to get one with a larger head. Makes a world of differnence.
* Turn the shower on full hot, then brush your teeth or whatever, then adjust the temp. Warms up the bottom of the shower so you don't step onto cold ceramic/plastic.
* Embrace the steam-producing power of the shower and breathe deeply.
* Haven't tried them, but Sudafed now makes these mentholated shower tablets if you're prone to morning stuffy-nose.
* Use bath/shower stuff with essential oils and get some aromatherapy going.
* Revel in how much easier it is to reach everything to loofah.
posted by desuetude at 9:23 AM on December 15, 2005


Dr. Bronner's castille soap is your friend. I have a few bottles of this inexpensive soap in my home: mint, eucalyptus, lavender... It cleans deeply and rinses off quickly.

I use hot water that is as tolerable as possible (on the scale of hot)

Add to that exfoliation - I bought some scrubby gloves at the Body Shop. I pour the Dr. Bronner's soap onto the gloves and scrub away. Kinda funny to be in the shower wearing only gloves, but aaaah, oooh, the feeling of hot water, castile soap and scrubby gloves makes for a wonderful transition after a run or after a long day at work
posted by seawallrunner at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2005


I have thought of one shower hack—get cold just before you step into a hot shower, and vice-versa. Not to an extreme, mind you (thermal shock isn't what you're going for!); just to the point where you feel a little chilly, so you'll appreciate the heat that much more. I say "vice-versa" for reasons that are obvious to anyone who's been through a hot summer without air conditioning.
posted by chrominance at 10:13 AM on December 15, 2005


Wow, I was expressing this thread to suck majorly, but it's actually got some surprisingly good advice.

Another vote, though, for shaving in the shower (SO much better), and peeing in the shower (it's sterile, uses less water than flushing, and you're immediately cleaned off).

Though, if you're in with another person, make sure you're downstream when you let loose ;).

Why have to turn knobs? Is this 1950? If you know you want the water to be 102 degrees, there should be a way to push a button and make it so.

I don't know about recently-built plumbing systems, but here in NYC, at least, I doubt that would work in most places. The water temperature vacillates enough that I think it'd be counterproductive.
posted by mkultra at 10:51 AM on December 15, 2005


I second the scrubby gloves recommendation.

But I disagree with the "top down" approach. Does your shampoo/conditioner recommend leaving it on for several minutes before washing out? If so, suds up your hair, do the rest of your body, then rinse your hair.

Also, at the risk of eliciting "Ewww....gross!", I suggest NOT soaping your whole body. Soap dries out your skin, especially in the winter, and your outer thighs and inner elbows probably aren't that dirty after all. (If you do physical labor all day long or tend to roll around in the mud, please ignore this paragraph.) Use a deodorant soap on the important bits (armpits, crotch, bottom, and feet), use a facial soap on your face, and just rinse the rest. (Note: this advice is dermatologist-approved.)
posted by equipoise at 10:56 AM on December 15, 2005


Wash your face/back after you do your hair. Some shampoos and conditioners have comedogenic ingredients that you want to make sure you wash off your body.

I can't tell, but are you female? If so, a European handheld attachment is more useful than you might expect. Especially if it has a setting that pulses, say.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:32 AM on December 15, 2005


The Hansgrohe Raindance shower head is the most ridiculously wonderful shower head in the world, and it has made my showering experience fantastic (I already liked showers, but *man* that showerhead is nice). It's expensive, and its expensiver with the meter long wallbar that lets you adjust where the shower head is up and down to your desires. Also great are thermostatic valves - you have one knob that sets the temperature, and another valve that sets the pressure. Fantastic.

http://www.hansgrohe-usa.com/brands/brand_return.php?pass_brand=Showerpower&line=Raindance
posted by sdis at 11:52 AM on December 15, 2005


On hot days, you want to at least finish with cooler water.

I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with this advice. I spent an especially hot 'n humid summer in North Carolina with no air conditioning in the house. Believe me, I tried every trick in the book to cool off and the best thing I did was to take a hot shower and then sit my wet body in front of a fan.
Actually, the best way to beat the heat and humidity of a Southern summer is to find yourself an air conditioned bar and sit in there until they kick you out. Of course, you have to drink otherwise they kick you out right away.
posted by NoMich at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2005


Actually, the best way to beat the heat and humidity of a Southern summer is to find yourself an air conditioned bar and sit in there until they kick you out. Of course, you have to drink otherwise they kick you out right away.

I disagree: Find a theater playing 2 or 3 movies you want to see back to back. You've got maybe 5 hours of cave-like atmosphere. You'll thank me when you find out what you've been missing outside.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2005


Get a nice sturdy metal shower caddy to hang over the shower head and hold your soaps and shampoos.
posted by macinchik at 12:53 PM on December 15, 2005


"Can't live without this stuff either. I have turned into a dandy."

What is "this stuff?" When I click that link, and tell it that I'm in "the rest of the world," it just keeps taking me to their home page.
posted by autojack at 1:41 PM on December 15, 2005


autojack writes "What is 'this stuff?' When I click that link, and tell it that I'm in 'the rest of the world,' it just keeps taking me to their home page.

It looks like it's the "warming eucalyptus bath & shower therapy." You check it out here.
posted by fionab at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2005


My eccentric brother would do this every morning: Grab small plastic lawn chair / stool and place it in his shower, turn shower on warm / hot, sit in chair, relax and fall asleep under the warm comfortable water, remain asleep until the hot water turned to cold water and woke him up. Now that's a shower hack.
Jesus, isn't that a tad.... wasteful?!?!? Or does hot water grow on trees there...
posted by Rhomboid at 2:02 PM on December 15, 2005


I too am a bathaholic, trying to live in a shower-only new apartment. Try putting drops of essential oil on the shower floor to be aromatized by the shower, filling the box with deliciousness.
posted by dipolemoment at 3:10 PM on December 15, 2005


I second seawallrunner's recommendation of Dr. Bronner's soap. The peppermint is amazing.

I'm also with Brittanie... sitting down for 10 or 20 minutes and just letting the hot water fall on me is a wonderful way to start the morning!

I also have always wanted one of these. I bet they rule.
posted by starscream at 4:01 PM on December 15, 2005


I have always wanted this dual-showerhead configuration. You can try them out at Westin hotels, but the room will cost you even more than the showerhead.

But as they say -- Heavenly!
posted by Jonasio at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2005


A quick search also reveals these versions for much less money.
posted by Jonasio at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2005


I recently took a shower in a hotel in Neuchatel that had a digital thermometer built into the shower spray so you knew how hot it was. It was distracting as hell. Instead of just setting the temperature that felt right, I kept reading the gauge.

#1 "shower hack": most US shower heads have "flow regulators" that limit how much water can come out. Happily, they're made to be removable; usually it's just a plastic washer screwed into the shower head. Remove it and luxuriate in your environment-destroying fountain of showerwater.
posted by Nelson at 6:11 PM on December 15, 2005


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