I’ve been taking baths for decades. It’s this lifetime of experience that I bring to the table—well, the bathtub—in presenting you with a recipe for The World’s Most Perfect Bath.
How do you create a perfect bath? For the perfect bath, you need to clean your bathroom, gather your goodies, then indulge all five senses. The recipe for The World’s Most Perfect Bath involves everything from getting the water temperature just right to picking the perfect essential oil or bath bomb.
To experience the World’s Most Perfect Bath, there are important steps before, during and after you take the plunge.
Before The World’s Most Perfect Bath…
The World’s Most Perfect Bath doesn’t just happen. There’s a bit of preparation, but if you have your supplies on hand, you should be able to follow all of the steps in just 10 minutes. Try it once and let me know if the relatively minor effort was worth the most blissful bath experience of your entire life.
Step 1: Do a Quick Clean of the Tub and Bathroom
Buzzkill, I get it. You are totally stressed out and that’s why you need to take The World’s Most Relaxing Bath in the first place. So the last thing you want to do is clean. But trust me, just 5 minutes straightening up the bathroom in advance will be part of the miracle that is about to occur.
Research shows that cleanliness really is next to godliness. A study originally published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin finds a person’s perception of their home as cluttered and messy correlates with a higher cortisol level. The higher your cortisol, the more stressed out you feel (and the more desperate you are for a bath!).
So for your quick cleaning ritual, start here: plug the drain, sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the tub, then turn on the warm shower for about 10 seconds to wet the baking soda. Now leave it alone, while you straighten the bathroom counter and pick any dirty clothes off the floor.
After 5 minutes, grab a washcloth, dish rag, or soft sponge. Now turn on the warm water and gently scrub the sides of the tub. I’m talking just for about 1 minute. Finally, rinse out the baking soda by turning on the showerhead.
Wow! You have just elevated what was going to be a normal bath to the World’s Most Perfect Bath. Good work!
(Of course, if it’s been years since you’ve scrub-a-dubbed the tub, you’ll probably need a more intensive clean. Check out The Bathtubber’s favorite tub cleaning strategies.)
Step 2: What Water Temperature is Best for the Perfect Bath?
This sounds simple but it’s not. The world’s perfect bath requires the perfect bath temperature, and that really depends on you and your goals.
If the goal is complete relaxation, you will want an extended soak. As The Bathtubber, I’m recommending water that’s quite warm but not so hot that you will sweat. This way, you can stay in the water for up to 20 minutes to find nirvana.
If the goal is to lure your body to sleep, The Bathtubber recommends hotter water and a quicker soak, of perhaps 5-10 minutes. How hot should the water be? Hot enough that when you sink into the tub, the water prickles your skin just a bit.
If the goal is to ease sore muscles, you may want to consider a cool bath. It’s commonly reported that a cold bath will ease stress and increase alertness. And at least one study finds that cold baths enhance mood. Check out The Bathtubber’s complete guide to the ice bath.
Step 3: Be a Good Friend to the Earth & Find Your Bathtub’s Fill Time
Have you ever filled the tub perfectly without having to adjust by adding cold or hot water at the end? Or without having to drain out a few inches because you’ve overfilled?
With just a bit of foresight, you can get a perfect fill on the first try, and this is not only easier for you, but also easier on the water supply. You’ll want to use a timer to figure out how long it takes for your bath to fill to 60%, about 3 inches beneath the overflow drain on the side of the tub. Remember, when you get in the tub, your body will displace water. Since the overflow drain sucks out water that reaches it, so you want to keep the level below the overflow drain in order not to waste earth’s natural resources.
So do this:
- Plug the drain.
- Set a timer like the stopwatch on your phone. You may want to carry the timer with you so that you can hear it go off over the sound of running water.
- Check the temperature with your hand and make sure the water feels like you want it to be when completely full. This way you avoid adding hot or cold at the end.
- The first time you do this, you’ll need to keep an eye on the water and stop it at 3 inches below the overflow drain. Once you stop the faucet, stop the timer.
- Note how much time it took your bathtub to fill to this level. From now on, you will set the stopwatch to this time. If it took 4 minutes and 20 seconds, next time you fill the tub, simply set the timer for 4:20 to get the perfect fill.
For more eco-friendly bathing tips, check out The Bathtubber’s post here.
Step 4: Gather Goodies For Your 5 Senses
In and of itself, a bath is a sensuous experience. It can invigorate so many of our senses: The warm touch of the water, the smell of our essential oils, the taste of wine sitting on the bathtub ledge, the sound of relaxing music playing in the background, and of course, the view of your clean bathroom!
Let’s dig down a little deeper. In the minutes that your tub is filling, how can you prepare to stimulate all five senses?
In addition to preparing the perfect temperature for your bath, you’ll want to place a soft washcloth or loofah in the tub. Next, find your fluffiest, softest towel for when you get out.
If your neck tends to get sore in the tub, consider adding a waterproof neck pillow to your bath accessories.
Whether it’s a glass of wine or an ice-cold cup of lemonade, place your drink on the ledge of the tub. If you’re worried about glass, use a thermos. Especially if this will be a hot soak, it’s heaven to have a cool drink nearby.
Look, with all this effort to experience The World’s Perfect Bath, you definitely don’t want to be disturbed by the sound of kids fighting or your partner blasting heavy metal on his club-sized speaker that he insists remain in the bedroom. What to do?
Best is a little chat with family members to set expectations. But if that’s not realistic, opt for wax earplugs. If you have small kids and no other adult at home, well, no wonder you’re desperate for The World’s Most Perfect Bath. But, of course, you’ve also got to be able to hear them. You may need to place a monitor in the bathroom.
Choose some relaxing background music. Here’s my favorite little wireless, waterproof, portable speaker that hangs from a hook on the showerhead.
While taste in music runs the gamut, some of The Bathtubber’s favorite musicians for enhanced relaxation include:
- Wellbeing Academy – Tibetan Bath, Tibetan Bowls
- Andrew Bird – Echolocations: River
- Enya – Shepherd Moon
- Grover Washington Jr. – Winelight
- Norah Jones – Come Away with Me
Research shows that scents trigger emotional responses and unlock hidden memories. For this reason, tending to your olfactory gland may be the most important part of preparing The World’s Most Perfect Bath.
It’s a fun assignment to explore Epsom salts, bath bombs, essential oils and scented bubbles to see what tickles your fancy. Be sure to try various combinations. Just beware that any of these products can irritate sensitive skin. If everything causes you to itch and flake, opt for paraben-free, sulfate-free organic ingredients.
Scented Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are found in natural springs in England. It’s thought that these crystals release magnesium when mixed with warm water, and magnesium is known to relax muscles.
You can choose from scented Epsom Salts. My current favorites include Dr. Teal’s Restore & Replenish Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak and Dr. Teal’s Relax & Relief with Eucalyptus and Spearmint.
Simply add two cups to the bathwater (no need to measure, guesstimating will fine) and swish around with your hand. Epsom Salts have the added benefit of easing sore muscles.
A bath bomb is about the size of a tennis ball. It’s got everything you might need for the World’s Most Perfect Bath all wrapped up in a small package. But drop it in your tub and watch the goodness explode! Your bath water will fizz with delight, as healing scents and skin moisturizers ripple across the surface.
While some bath bombs contain glitter which is not good for the environment, others have ingredients known to cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or yeast infections in sensitive skin. If you think you may be at risk, opt for an all-natural organic product and contains ingredients like coconut oil, Epsom salts or shea butter.
Now here’s an idea: Why not give yourself an all-natural-organic bath bomb gift set? Bathtubbing is all about self-care, and you deserve this present in your quest to be present for important moments in life. You’ll get a set of 100% natural bath bombs made with grapeseed oil, shea butter and coconut oil.
These oils are extracted from plants and contain the essence of a single plant’s scent. Essential oils can be inhaled to calm, energize or infuse joy. Some of these oils can be rubbed directly on the skin. Or, you can squeeze just a few drops into the bathtub. These oils are all-natural. While not all plants have essential oils to extract, many do contain a scent strong enough to attract particular pollinators and repel others.
According to WebMD, some oils such as lemongrass and cinnamon bark are fine to use on arms and legs, but not in your nose or on your private parts. The bottom line is read the instructions on your bottle of oil carefully. Even though they are all-natural, some companies add other ingredients.
Currently, I’m all about the Lavender Tea Tree Oil from Aura Cacia. But whatever oil you choose to add to your tub, fill the bath first and then drop in the oil and agitate the water with your hand. Generally, 6-8 drops will be enough. Don’t add more than the instructions say as these oils are quite concentrated, and you don’t want to risk irritating your skin.
Play. Blow. Squeeze. The impact of bubbles on a sour mood cannot be overstated. They are just so much fun! And if you’ve been feeling sad or mad lately, I urge you to put bubble up right away. Then try not to smile.
Be sure to choose a scented bubble bath to match the mood you want to enjoy. I love all things ginger, and if I can’t eat it, then I want to relax in it. If I’m feeling especially blah, I’ll jump into a tub full of my favorite Deep Steep Bubble Bath. The rosemary mint scent—plus bubbly fun!—is a great pick-me-up.
I also have a jacuzzi bath mat that really turns up the bubble factor big time, and it also gives me a great massage. (You can read more about my favorite jacuzzi bath mat here.)
So yes, you have a clean bathroom to behold and that’s going to do wonders for your state of mind. But we’re not just going for enhanced relaxation, this is about The World’s Most Perfect Bath. To achieve that, we need to consider lighting.
Studies show that dim lighting can reduce stress. This is why we often see low lighting and candles used to set the mood at upscale restaurants and when we are trying to create the conditions for romance.
While it may not be the safest idea to light a candle in such a small enclosed room like the bathroom, there are other equally great options. Use an artificial candle with an on-off switch. Or, if your bathroom lights are on a dimmer, simply set them to low. And if you’ve got a window in your bathroom and it’s not yet dark outside, you may find it most relaxing to turn out the lights altogether.
Maybe you want to sprinkle rose petals into the tub, too. Or perhaps float a rubber ducky. Bathtubbers are as unique as snowflakes. No judgment here.
And one more thing before you sink into The World’s Most Perfect Bath, if possible, turn off the ringer on your phone. Better yet, put your phone in another room. A study from the University of Texas found that the mere presence of a phone in the same room decreases brainpower. And knowing you can be interrupted by a call or text at any minute is sure to increase stress.
During The World’s Most Perfect Bath…
Now that you’re in The World’s Most Perfect Bath, what do you do? If you’re an experienced bathtubber, you have set the conditions to experience a state of flow. All worries will disappear and you’ll feel fully present. This will be an automatic reaction honed by years of practice.
However, if you’re new to bathtubbing, and you can’t bear to “do nothing” in the bath, there are many options:
- Try yogic breathing.
- Listen to a guided meditation on a meditation app. The Bathtubber’s favorite app of all time is Calm.
- Read on a Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite.
After The World’s Most Perfect Bath…
Moisturize and wrap yourself in the fluffiest towel you’ve got. Slip into a bathrobe, pajamas, or any clothes that make you happy. (Here’s the world’s best bathrobe, if you ask me.)
Now for the most important step: Take a minute to feel the effects of The World’s Most Perfect Bath. Notice what’s changed. Know you can come back to this perfect place the next time you need to relax and unwind.
And if you want to up your bathtime even more, check out 21 Relaxing Bath Ideas That Take Me-Time to the Next Level.