Let me be real with you for a second: I’ve been bath-curious for a long time now. Yes, bath-curious.
What does that mean? Well, I love the idea of a long, relaxing soak in a tub at the end of a stressful day. But in practice? Yikes.
As much as I love the concept, the actual act of getting into a bath and making it an enjoyable experience is complicated and confusing, and to be honest, a little bit overwhelming.
How do I get comfortable? What kind of soap do I use? What on earth am I supposed to do in that bathtub? How do I keep from getting water all over my book or phone or whatever I’m trying to relax with?
Now, I know some of you may be thinking that I’m overthinking. And maybe I am. But hey, if I’m overthinking it, I’m guessing other people out there are too.
But with 2020 being such a ridiculously stressful year (I lost my job, my boyfriend, my precious kitty cat)… I could really use a way to destress. Any way to destress.
So, for those of you who are like me and stare staring longingly, curiously, at those overly curated bathtub images on Instagram, this one’s for you. I’m going to answer your questions, everything you need to know in order to make the perfect, relaxing bath, glass of wine in hand.
I put in the research. I did the trial and error. And for all of you other bath-curious friends out there here’s exactly everything, overly thorough, and completely compiled that you need to know in order to have the perfect soak in the tub, down to the last detail.
1) Start by cleaning the tub
Before you can sit back and relax, step one is to get the tub all squeaky clean, so you can truly enjoy what you’re about to relax in.
If it’s been a while since you deep cleaned, or you recently moved into a new place, I recommend going through your usual bathtub cleaning procedure, then doing a bleach rinse. Here’s how:
How to clean a bathtub –
Start by spraying your preferred bathroom cleaner all over the tub. Or, if you don’t have a cleaner on hand, opt for the natural solution of ½ vinegar and ½ warm water.
Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes to really soak in and start relaxing the grime.
After it sets, wipe down with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Rinse with warm water.
How to deep clean a bathtub –
After completing the steps above, open a bathroom window to let in the fresh air, or, make sure to at a minimum leave the bathroom door open during this step. Bleach fumes build up quickly!
Rinse out the tub with water and put the stopper in the drain. Fill the tub with approximately a gallon of water. Mix in 1 cup bleach (refer to the bleach container for exact ratio — most will tell you based on a gallon of water the appropriate bleach ratio to put in).
Wearing gloves, use a sponge or rag to get the bleach mixture all over the sides of the tub. Alternatively, put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray all over. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Wet a sponge in the bleach and water mixture in the bathtub. Scrub the entire bathtub and then let the water drain out.
Rinse out the bathtub with water. Wipe all areas with a clean washcloth that has warm water only. Keep the door or window open to allow fumes to dissipate.
2) Get the water temperature just right
Okay, friend! So now you’ve got a nice, clean tub to soak in. Once it’s all squeaky clean, you’ll want to put the stopper into the tub and fill it up with water. Be sure to also pull the shower curtain and liner out from the tub. You don’t want it floating in your bath water! You can wrap it up around the shower road, or just let it hang outside of the tub.
Bathtub temperature is crucial to maximizing your experience. I recommend starting the tub warmer than you might think — it’s easier to cool it down if it’s too hot, rather than warm it back up.
Technically speaking, you want your bathwater to be somewhere between 90° F and 105°F by the time you get in. Some folks will tell you to shoot for a little more than the normal body temperature of 98.6°F, and some will recommend the lower end at 92°F, but it depends on your personal preference. It should feel warm when you get in, but not uncomfortably hot.
Also, remember to think long-term. The perfect soak is approximately 20 minutes, so keep in mind that the tub will naturally cool off some as you’re relaxing. (But you can also drizzle in some warm water if needed).
3) Add some bubbles or other luxurious soaking elixirs
The most luxurious part of a bath is all the fun stuff you can add. There are tons of great products out there that you can purchase — everything from bubble baths to bath bombs to Epsom salts to essential oils.
If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend some simple bubble baths. You can easily pick up some Dr. Teal’s from Target (I personally enjoy Dr. Teal’s Pink Himalayan Foaming Bath. The bubbles last forever!), or go more luxurious and purchase yourself some trendy Lush bath bombs.
For DIY bubbles and soaking, start with ¼ cup unscented dish soap and add in 2 tbsp coconut oil. Complete with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
4) Prep your scene
Now it’s time for the fun part — prep your scene. It’s almost time to sit back and relax!
I love to light 5 or 6 unscented tea candles as well as a scented candle that’s designed to promote relaxation, like lavender or eucalyptus. Turn off the lights, and let the gentle candlelight relax you.
Grab a few washcloths to set by the side of the tub. You’ll want 2 or 3 so that you can dry your hands off before touching anything that can’t get wet (like your phone or a book). Speaking of, make sure you grab anything else you’re going to want for relaxing. Think a good book, Netflix, your phone. You can rest these things on the side of the tub, or invest in a bathtub tray that goes over the tub.
Listening to music can help you unwind and just “be” while soaking in the tub. Find a playlist that feels relaxing to you. I love smooth jazz or Norah Jones. You can also do a quick search on Youtube to find playlists that are specifically designed to psychologically relax you.
In order to get comfortable in the tub, I like to roll a hand towel into a tube-shaped “pillow” and place it under my neck for support. If you’re going to be taking a lot of baths in the future, you can also invest in waterproof pillows that are specifically meant for getting cozy in the tub.
Oh, and be sure to remove anything you’re not going to use in the tub. All those cluttered shampoo bottles, your razer, icky bar soap? Take it out of the bathroom so it’s out of sight and you’re zeroed in on only the most chill things.
5) Pour some wine, & enjoy
Okay, friend! We’re here. You’ve made it to the most relaxing, enjoyable bath of your life. Pour yourself a glass of wine (I recommend using a stemless and durable glass, like this one from Libbey), lay down in the tub, and get ready for some relaxation. For extra wine enjoyment, make sure to bring your VoChill! The VoChill is a wine glass chiller that pulls heat out of the glass for truly effective and long-lasting temperature control. Your wine experience is preserved and never compromised by the taste or smell of metal or plastic. A true bath time game changer. Use the code WINEWITHPAIGE15 for 15% off.
Be sure to have a fluffy towel and something cozy to slip into when you’re done.