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How Does One Make Showers Less Unpleasant?

 
steward
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Even with going poo-less, I still don’t like showers, even though they’re pretty short for me.

I mostly rate taking a shower as a less than pleasant experience, because I do not enjoy the experience of being cold and wet when the shower is over.

How would one make a short poo-less shower a more pleasant experience? (especially how does someone not end up being cold and wet?)
 
steward
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Uh... What I do, is to shower in hot water, and dry off with a towel after...
 
pollinator
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This.. seems like a very small problem!

Put a RMH in your bathroom? A bit extreme..

Or, get one of them fancy heated towel racks and some really good towels, place it within reach of your shower door, and stick your arm out of the warm shower for your warm towel when done showering?
 
pollinator
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I don't know why you're cold afterward. I can only assume you are showering in cold water? Or is the weather already cold where you are?

I absolutely LOVE taking a shower. The water is hot and feels totally wonderful. I'll suds up and scrub off the dirt, grime, sweat, and mites that I've accumulated while working on the farm. I find showers to be better than washing out of a bucket. And I don't like sitting in a tub of dirty, soapy water. Oh, I do indeed love soaking in a hot tub, but I shower first.

I've taken my share of cool and tepid showers in my day, but they aren't my style. So I will go to any means to make a hot water shower. I've heated water with a wood fire, slung a hose onto a hot tin roof, used a swimming pool heating mat, and heated water in a black painted barrel atop the barn roof for a gravity fed shower. I currently use a camp style portable propane water heater, and while it's not permaculturish, it sure is dang nice to have hot water for a shower. Some day I'll switch to using wood heat, but that's a future project. I've used a woodstove with a water coil in the past, so some day I'll set that sort of system up again.

When showering in a cold climate (our house was often 45° F on a winter's morning in New Jersey), we used an enclosed shower box, complete with ceiling, to keep the heat in. Heat rises and escapes without a ceiling. We had a simple ceiling made from several layers of heavy plastic film-- something we could remove during the rest of the year. We'd preheat the shower box by running some hot water, then jump in for a quick shower. Water off-- then towel dry while still inside the shower box. That way we weren't totally wet when we re-entered that 45° room. We talked about setting up an infra-red lamp, but never did. So we would run out to the wood stove in the living room and warm ourselves there while we dressed into clothes that has been warming up while hanging over the stove.

As for cold water showers, count me out. I'd find some way to make hot water instead.
 
pollinator
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Dave, I hear ya. I've never been a shower guy, but I love a long soak in a tub. I've considered buying or making a Japanese style sitting tub (they have a 'car-door' on the side) and use much less water than a European style bath.
For now, I suffer, and take a shower about twice a week, or when I feel dirty... what ever comes first.

Things that help:
heated flooring... living in the Yukon, I have the opposite for 7 months of the year.
natural light... ditto
short luke warm showers... somehow the less temperature swing the better
a bucket in the stall... sometimes I wash only my hair over the bucket, the rest of me stays dry and therefore warm. The bucket is then used to flush the toilet or water house plants.
Cat baths... use a warm cloth to wash areas that need it

failing all that you could build a wood fired rocket hot tub!
 
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Your shower partner will often determine how pleasant the experience is. Make sure that you really like him or her and no matter what you get up to, try not to fall down, because that just ruins everything.

When done right, you should come out of the shower hot and sweaty, and you might have to go in for another shower. Ahhh, I love showers.☺
 
gardener
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Su Ba mentioned an infrared lamp.  A lot of older hotels have an infrared floodlight in a ceiling fixture on the same circuit as the bathroom fan, or on a timer switch so that you can't accidentally leave it on -- usually you can only set the timer for 30 minutes.

You can buy a simple clamp lamp with an aluminum reflector, and an infrared bulb, and point it at the space where you step out of the shower.  Makes a huge difference.  (This assumes you are on-grid with access to wall AC.)  

If on the other hand you are living in a drafty log cabin with no electricity or plumbing, standing under a shower bag or pouring water from a teakettle off the wood stove over your head while it's howling blizzard outside (how I grew up) -- then you are fucked.  No way a shower will ever be comfy under those circumstances.
 
Mother Tree
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Huge, fluffy, towelling robe with a hood.  Put the robe on immediately, with the hood down.  Wrap a medium sized soft towel round your head for a few minutes, then when most of the water has been absorbed take it off and put the dry fluffy hood on instead. I have mock-crocs  (yeah I know, but they work - I'm sure you can find something better if you try) that slip on easily and let me shuffle back to the house easily.  Then curl up on the bed with a big mug of cocoa, a laptop and anything cuddly that's handy to luxuriate while you dry off.  

I have the same issue.  Something to do with being far more sensitive to most things than most people.  It has plus sides, but it also has downsides.
 
gardener
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Before using the towel, stroke baby oil or equivalent into wet skin.  Most water runs off and amazingly your skin will not be greasy. Then do what Burra says. You will get no wind chill at all. It's what I do after solar showers in the garden.
 
master steward
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Yesterday I had the luxury of a hand delivered towel straight from the dryer.  (It had been on the line all day but didn't get fully dry)  Going from hot shower to warm towel was much better than normal.

Now...  How to have a towel heater that isn't wasteful...   If you're on forced air heat, move the bathroom register to be under the towel rack.  If you're on hot water heat, rig up a hot water towel rack.  I'm on wood heat so unless I want to run naked and dripping through the house to get to the wood stove, I'm out of luck.

I think the hotter the water is, the less bad the cold drying off part is.
 
pollinator
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move the shower indoors
 
pollinator
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I had exactly the same feeling, sure the water is warm, but every draft is cold and stepping out was freezing! oh and afterwards sitting around damp is just no fun at all. Spinning round slowly trying to keep all bits of yourself under the warm water and out of cold drafts is tedious to say the least. I'm afraid my cure was moving house, the new house has underfloor heating in the bathroom and a better boiler so the entire room is warm, even drifting towards hot so a shower is no longer a horrible experience but although still not fun it is at least bearable.
 
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well for me when it gets to be about that time of month to take a shower, if its cold out i turn on a space heater in there, its better than swimming in the river in winter.
 
gardener
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I keep towels handy, and a bath mat exactly where I'll step out, so I'm not putting my warm feet onto cold tiles. My bath robe is also right there, so as soon as I put the towel down, the robe goes on. But, keeping the door closed can make a huge difference, by keeping the steam in the room, too. I'm kinda with Su. I don't understand why you're cold. But, I'm kinda reluctant to ask much about your showering routine, lol.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The nature of my work, sometimes means that I have access to a hot shower in the building I'm working on, but that building is not heated. So it can be a bit of a process to have a comfortable shower. When there's a tub I take that option.

When there's only a shower, I often run an electric kettle in the room for half an hour prior to showering. If the lid is left off, it just keeps going. I plug the shower drain and run it for a few minutes allowing it to get a few inches high with hot water. Then the door is closed and I go about my business eating or whatever I was doing.

 By the time I come back in, the floor of the shower is heated and the room is generally not so frigid. I let the water go down the drain, and commence showering. When I'm nearly done, I block the drain again. When I am done, I turn it on to hot and allow the shower to project against the glass or anywhere that's not hitting me, until again the floor is a couple inches deep with hot water.

Then I quickly open the shower door and grab my towel. I close it again and towel off while standing in the hot water. Eventually I kick the drain plug away and when the water is gone I get around to drying my feet. I do this to avoid the frigid ceramic tile or other materials outside of the shower. I get dressed quickly.

I used to sometimes shower in vacant houses in the winter when there was not hot water or heat. It was totally unpleasant. When doing that, I would get undressed very quickly. Get wet and then turn the shower off. Soap up, and then turn the shower back on for a cold rinse. Then I would get dressed again very quickly and get into bed. This puts me into a small minority of cheapskates. Although earning enough money to live somewhere with a hot shower, for many years, I chose to live rough at my jobs.
 
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Go jump in a lake!  


Kiddin' but not, really. May be a river is even better, letting yourself be a carried a little. But that's only reasonable seasonally and short season up norte. When tolerable i find it "worth the trouble", yielding a more refreshing, deeper cleansing than anything that can squirt thru a showerhead. Yet taking a shower itself is a good feeling partic leaving soap out of it. But that's another thread, eh
 
pollinator
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Radiant floor heat helps as well.

In our house just having that means when I step out of the shower, not only is the bath mat dry under my feet, but my feet itself is warm. I can also place my towel on the floor so that it is warmed when I go to use it and dry off.
 
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what I've done in the rent home i moved from.i'd keep a small electric space heater in there during the winter only..seeing how it can be cold in there during the winter.i'd turn it on and close the door.come back 5 to 10 minutes later.and it'll be plenty warm in there.then id turn the hot water on..that not only adds moisture to the air.but warms things up in there a lil more. as well.
 
Dale Hodgins
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At our house in Cebu Philippines, by about 3 in the afternoon, water comes out of the tap at body temperature or a little warmer. That's when Nova likes to shower. She hates showering early in the morning, when the water can be as cold as 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the tiles can be 80. On the few occasions when she's done it, because we are going somewhere early, it happens very quickly and then she runs back to bed and puts her hands, face and feet on me, until she warms up.
 
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HA! you just made me glad.....AGAIN....to be living in the desert.  To me living in the desert is the greatest gift. Never too hot that the inexpensively run evaporative cooler can't fix, and winters! I live in the high desert so its rarely colder than 25 at the tops, and then only at night.  When I first moved here I built a small enclosed shower house, it looks like a greenhouse...with polycarbonate panels that I put shade cloth over in the summer.  I have a small propane camping shower in there.  I dug a little hole and put a small rubber stock tank in the ground and a grid over it that I can stand on.  And I put a ground level to ceiling level shower curtain around the shower area itself. I pump the water out to the trees when I am done.  I do have a sheepherders stove in there but rarely use it as the sun is almost always out here....so even when its 40 out, its 75 in the shower house.     Perhaps you could do that also....at least when the sun is out you can take a nice warm shower and then it won't make it so bad when you can't.   And by the way, sheepherder stoves use kindling so it doesn't take long to get a small space pretty warm and a wonderfully cost effective way is to use twigs.
 
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This is a brilliant thread. I too hate the cold air when I'm coming out of a hot shower. Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
 
gardener
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Dave Burton, I totally understand and agree with you! I've hated being cold after a bath or shower for as long as I can remember.

Many of my solutions are mentioned above - I put the heat up in the bathroom for a 1/2 hour before showering. It's electric baseboard and my towel is hung *right* above it. I often put my underwear on top of the heater as I go in - so warm towel *and* warm clothes, yes!!
What others haven't mentioned, is I put a clean, dry facecloth on top of the shower door (rod would work if it's a fabric door). When I've finished the shower, but the warmth is still trapped by the door, I use the facecloth to get all the big drips off me. Then I open the shower door and grab my generously large, warmed towel and dry more thoroughly. The facecloth gets quite wet, so the dryer towel feels less cold. It's still not something I look forward to, but at least I don't end up with uncontrollable shivering.

If you've got access to a warm spot, but it's not by the shower, could you pre-heat your clean clothes and towel and carry them to the shower house in an insulated bag? We use mostly wood heat, but standard wood stoves. The downstairs one has a flat surface which we put rocks on that heat up nicely. A hot rock in your insulated bag might help hold the heat while you're showering.
 
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Check out Wim Hof. He has some interesting methods for overcoming obstacles, cold showers being one his specialities.
 
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Ed Belote wrote:Check out Wim Hof. He has some interesting methods for overcoming obstacles, cold showers being one his specialities.

OMG, just googled him - I'd rather be a wimp than a Wim!
 
gardener
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I hate bathing since I moved to a place with too much chlorine in the water. So I bathe less and without soap or with something called African Black Soap so my protective oil coating is minimally affected. If it's cold out, I do the space heater thing,  but if it's really cold out that doesn't help. I have towels ready to go and dry off fast. The dry winter air means the evaporation happens quickly=extra cold. With the kids we will all scream "it's cold!" while running around and then huddle by the space heater which is both fun and affective at warming up. As soon as I can get dressed again, I will. I will also apply skin oils to help heat me and reduce dryness.

A note on bathroom design. Ours is bad. It is due to meet a sledge hammer. I value relaxing baths, even if they are a rarity so first off: It should be a completely water proof place because you actively release moisture into the air and other places. Second, it should be well insulated and with adequate heating because it's the place you intend to bare your butt, even in the deepest cold of winter. My plan is  as much rock wool insulation as I can fit,  a heat lamp over the shower with a timer,  and possibly heated floor with a timer (if not a space heater on a shelf).  The bathroom fan will be eliminated because it's not useful in this climate and sucks the hot air out of the room during winter. The window will remain, though possible with increased insulative value via shutters or film or whatever makes sense. My hubby loves speakers, so we'll probably add that and overall make it a pleasant feeling place to be, then even if the water burns from high chlorine and the air is annoyingly cold we'll be doing it to good music.
 
Ed Belote
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Judith Pi wrote:

Ed Belote wrote:Check out Wim Hof. He has some interesting methods for overcoming obstacles, cold showers being one his specialities.

OMG, just googled him - I'd rather be a wimp than a Wim!



I hear you, Judith!  There's an old proverb that says "pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional."  Wim Hof has made pain his friend, and as a result, he no longer suffers the extremely cold temperatures.
 
master steward
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Like others, I turn on the heat in the bathroom if that's an option (our old rental had a heating element under the towels, and that was lovely!).

I also wipe off most of the water from my body while still in the shower, much like Jay. I never thought to use a dry washcloth--I just use my hands and swipe them down my body so the water gets wiped off. Then I dry off with a towel, and then put on a terry cloth (100% cotton, thank you!) bathrobe. I will never understand why there are polyester bathrobes, or why they are so common, because they feel cold when you're wet and they don't absorb water.
 
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I hate going to bed without a wash of some sort – though I do not like baths, they always seem to just redistribute the dirt and can’t wash the soap off properly.

Back in the day when we were out doing lots of outdoor pursuits, regardless of weather, we’d bear all in a watercourse or under one of those collapsible canvas buckets. The colder the weather, the quicker the wash! (Obviously, if it was snowing a blizzard, the wash would be no more than a wet cloth and a very brisk rub-down.)

Ironically, the coldest I’ve ever been in a shower was in a caravan park in our Snowy Mountains during winter. It had open ‘breeze-block’ walls but really hot running water, so once the water was turned off, the temperature drop was enormous. The holes in the blocks increased wind velocity like a venturi so we’d get blasted by subzero wind. Shrinkage was significant!

However, getting cold after a hot shower and then immediately getting dressed or into bed seems to intensify warmth. Guess it’s like those crazy Scandinavians who jump from a sauna into a cold lake and back again.

One thing that did become apparent when in Canada, USA,  Japan and New Zealand was the perceived ‘comfort level’ of inside heating: the Canucks, Kiwis and Japs had it consistently set so all we needed to wear was light weight warm clothing (brushed cotton shirt, maybe a light fleece vest, etc), the Yanks however had the thermostat set high enough that we could walk around naked! The higher inside temperature meant the gradient change when going from inside to outside was so much more.

Coming from a Subtropical climate, cold showers are the other extreme. So, these days, I don’t care how hot or cold it is, as long as the water is slightly warm. The biggest problem we have at the moment is actually getting water!! (Drought)

 
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Small shower room that becomes heated to shower temp with shower steam.
Washable rug to step out onto.

The Wim Hoff concept is really great as a psychological skill. Took me about a year to work up to cold showers. I don't like the cold yet, but its good to have the willpower to say "I can be cold now, I'll be warm later."
 
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Judith Pi wrote:

Ed Belote wrote:Check out Wim Hof. He has some interesting methods for overcoming obstacles, cold showers being one his specialities.

OMG, just googled him - I'd rather be a wimp than a Wim!


His stuff really works amazingly fast, lots of health benefits and you're not cold anymore! To each their own way 👍🏻
 
pollinator
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I'm the opposite. I love a shower, especially leisurely, warm to hot ones. I'm sometimes bothered by sweating after I've dried off.
If I'm in a rush, and it's a "get the important spots" sort of shower, my adrenaline and rapid toweling take care of any chills...plus extra toweling for the sweating...
Sure, I've done the water-on to get wet, water-off to wash, water-on to rinse showers when hot water was in short supply, followed by brisk toweling.

Small bathroom, no fan if it's really cold, so the room steams up.
Towel off inside the shower (even close the door or curtain). Bath mat. Warmed towels are pretty great.
Take a long/hot enough shower that your body temperature rises. You won't get chilled, you'll just be "returning to normal".
 
pollinator
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I get the shower to a borderline uncomfortably hot level towards the end of my shower, getting my core body temperature up. Then i run it an absolute cold for about a minute. The contrast makes the world feel like a hot shower.
 
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I take a really hot shower (or bath), long enough for the heat to soak into my bones.  Once I'm overheated, the cold feels good.  It's kind of like a cold shower or a snow bath after you get really hot in the sauna.  

Don't hang around in the cold though.  It's got more cold than you have hot.  Dry off, dress warmly and put a hat on while you are still a little on the warm side.

If you don't have enough hot water, it is just a pathetic experience.  Throw a couple bottles of hot water under your blankets, get clean and jump into bed to luxuriate in the heat and warm up.  Even better if the bed isn't empty.
 
gardener
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In the winter here, showers are agonizing. I let the steam fill up my tiny bathroom (or run a space heater, if I have one available to warm up the bathroom) before getting in the shower. My clothes are there to get dressed in there afterward, along with my floor-length bathrobe (the long bathrobe is a world better than a short one). Socks too, and if I don't have a towel on my head I bring in a hat to put on once my hair is tamed.
Also a big fan of hot water bottles, we have several and they are used to warm up the bed, warm up my hands, etc.
 
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When one takes a snow bath in -35C/-31F you keep moving so fast than you don't have time to get cold.

Regarding the shower in a regular house, even a 45F/6C house, if one uses a chamois to quickly get all the liquid water off and then into a dry towel. Saves on laundry too as towels last longer between washes.

There are twin light socket adapters so one could have both a regular light bulb and a infrared bulb.

Cold can be easily overcome. It's mostly a matter of relaxing, a kind of meditation.

Monk Meditates Beneath Ice-Cold Waterfall in Nikko, Japan

 
Terry Byrne
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Vim Hof still likes, still takes hot showers but he has controlled cold so it doesn't affect him like it does others.


Inside the Super Human World of the Iceman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaMjhwFE1Zw
 
Jay Angler
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I think it's important to realize the different humans have different degrees of cold tolerance. If my hands get cold and wet, I get vasoconstriction similar to what is called raynaud's condition. If my feet get cold, it takes an external heat source to warm them up again. Could I overcome this with "Monk" training? Maybe, but I'm not going to hold my breath considering I can be in exactly the same situation as more typical humans, and I'll be shivering and they'll be just fine.
 
Travis Johnson
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I agree Jay, and I think it is very easy to judge people based on their inability, or ability to tolerate heat or cold.

Myself, I live for winter, so cold is not an issue for me, so a shower is not agonizing in any way, but I cannot handle the heat. At about 85 degrees I stop...I just cannot handle it. People in warmer climates laugh at me, and they certainly can...I laugh as well.

 
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