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How to take a bath

Charlie Chaplin sleeps in a bathtub in a scene from his 1922 film, Pay Day.
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Purchase an overflow drain cover for your bathtub

There are several things you’ll want for an ideal bath, but there is only one thing you need: an overflow drain cover. (I’m assuming you already have a cover for the bottom drain if you’re a regular bath taker.) This stops water from escaping out of that annoying drain on the side of the tub, beneath the faucet, and adds several inches of water to your bath in the process. The “SlipX Solutions” sounds like a sex product but is actually a plastic cover that sticks to the tub with several little suction cups, creating a seal around the overflow drain. Mine cost $10 from Amazon.


Since buying the SlipX a few months ago my bath has changed in small but important ways. The extra water in the tub makes for a much more luxuriating experience, and that’s translated to a whole new mind-set for me. For years I’ve always read books or comics in the bath, but the extra inches of water have led me to enjoying the tactile experience more than before. Now I’ll often turn off the light, submerge my ears, and enter a perfectly relaxing, sensory-deadening experience, like I’m a warm ball of flesh floating through space.

I still like reading in the tub, though, and have refined the types of books and comics that are best for a relaxed state of mind. I typically keep it light, but that’s what’s relaxing for me, and the important thing is that your reading be enjoyable. Nothing should be work in your bath. I’ve recently enjoyed David Sedaris, gripping memoirs (like Blair Braverman’s Welcome To The Goddamn Ice Cube and Sarah Hepola’s Blackout), and returning to old, comfortable favorites like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and the brilliant Saga comic.

There are other materials you may want to include to make the most of your bath. Besides the SlipX, I put a washcloth against the end of the tub, where my head rests, so it’s not on the tub’s hard surface. (I’m told I should buy a bath pillow, so maybe a waterproof cushion will be my next bath-enhancing purchase.) And of course, bubble bath, oils, or bath bombs can add a pleasant smell or feel to the hot water. I’ll sometimes indulge with wine. These are all ultimately unnecessary, though. Just fill the tub as high as you can without water pouring out the sides (I now go in the tub earlier so I displace the water before the tub is full), close your eyes, and make your bath a truly relaxing experience.

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About the author

Caitlin PenzeyMoog

Caitlin is the managing editor of The A.V. Club.