Like everyone, transitioning from the comfort of your home to a much smaller, more compact dorm room is quite drastic. Being away from home makes you appreciate the smaller things that we often overlooked in our daily lives before we were living in dorms. This past weekend I had the opportunity to go home. The two things I was looking forward to the most were sleeping in my bed and taking a shower without slippers on. After being on a bus for four hours in order to get back to my home in New Jersey, I felt tired and dirty. The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was bathe. I went to my bathroom and stared at the shower and bath tub. Due to my four hour adventure back home on public transportation I knew I wanted to be as clean as possible. Then it dawned on me, Which actually gets you more clean, a shower or bath? My null hypothesis for this specific topic would be that there is no distinct difference between the cleanliness of baths and showers. The alternative hypothesis would be that there is indeed one cleaning method that is more effective than the other.
I first wanted to investigate bathtubs and how many germs they might have lurking in them. In my opinion it seems like bathtubs would have more germs in them because you are essentially just sitting in your own filth. Dr. Elizabeth Scott recently conducted a study that compared bathtubs and garbage cans. From her study she found staphylococcus bacteria in both the bathtubs and garbage cans she tested. I had no previous knowledge of what staphylococcus bacteria is so I had to look it up. Staphylococcus or staph, is a collection of bacteria buildup that can cause various diseases. From her research Dr. Scott was able to determine that 26% of the bathtubs tested had staphylococcus in them while only 6% of garbage cans had the bacteria. It is tough to think that the place where you go to get clean is more bacteria infested than the place you throw away waste. I tried to make sense of this study and thought of a few ways why bathtubs might be more dirty than clean. Perhaps it is because once you enter into the bathtub and begin to clean off your body, germs, bacteria, and dead skin cells go into the water that you are sitting in. Bacteria needs moisture to grow so a bathtub which is a damp place, is the perfect habitat for it. Some lurking variables in Dr.Scott’s research may be how old the bathtub is, how often it gets cleaned, type of cleaner used, and possibly depending how dirty the owner of the tub is. Lurking variables for the garbage cans could have to do with what type of waste was thrown out into it. I wonder if the study was more specific how different the data would be.
Next I wanted to look at showers. It seems like the obvious choice for getting a better clean because you are not sitting in what you are washing off of your body. The only way I can see a shower as a potential danger for bacteria is from the showerhead. In a 2009 study done by Norman R. Pace, a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder he and his research team wanted to take a close look at showerheads and possible germs they may harbor. The study group consisted of 45 different showerheads from cities all around the U.S. Swabs were taken from each showerhead and then tested for bacteria. The study concluded that bacteria and microorganisms were indeed present in showerheads. Some are small enough to go into our airways while other can cling onto you. Pace says the only people who need to alter their bathing routine are those with immune system or lung problems. A better option for people with those problems would be to take a bath instead.
To revisit my question, Which actually gets you more clean, a shower or bath? Based off of both studies, taking a shower is the best way to get yourself as clean as possible and stay more germ free as opposed to baths.
Doheny, Kathleen. “Bacteria May Lurk on Your Showerhead.” WebMD. Ed. Louise Chang, MD. WebMD, 14 Sept. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
“Soap Up! The 12 Germiest Places in Your Life.” TODAY.com. TODAY, 12 Nov. 2008. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Stöppler, MD Melissa Conrad. “Staph Infection Symptoms, Causes, Pictures & Treatment.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.