One of the many reasons that Japanese bathtubs are popular is that the water in them is rarely changed. This is because the actual “getting clean” part of bathing with a Japanese bathtub takes place outside of the bathtub altogether. The actual washing done by the bather is done in a separate area and when he steps into the Japanese bathtub he is already clean. This means that the water in Japanese bathtubs does not need to be changed as often as it does in western bathtubs (i.e. after every bather).
This does not mean, however, that the water should never be changed in a Japanese bathtub. The water in a Japanese bathtub is run at hotter temperatures than the average western style bathtub and over time that water is going to grow cold—even if you have a cover for the tub. What’s more, even though the bathers are typically clean when they get into their Japanese bathtub that does not mean that they are sterile. Their skin still contains particles of dirt or other toxins and those get released into the water. After awhile this can lead to some serious build up on the walls of Japanese bathtubs. It is also important not to forget that the water used in Japanese bathtub also contains its own microbes and particles and, left unchecked, those microbes and particles can present quite a health risk.
It is important that the water gets let out of Japanese bathtubs regularly and that those Japanese bathtubs are given a thorough rinsing and cleaning before being filled back up again.
So how does one clean Japanese bathtubs?
The first step, obviously, is to let all of the water out of the tub. This happens differently in each tub as each tub’s drain is set up differently. Follow the directions for your tub to make sure all of the water is sent down the drain. Once the water has been let out, the cleaning method you use will vary depending on what type of material your Japanese bathtub is made from.
If you one of the wooden Japanese bathtubs installed, you will want to find cleansers that are appropriate for wood as the cleanser you use on porcelain could damage the wood’s structural integrity. Find out what kind of wood your Japanese bathtub is made from and then ask at your local home building or grocery store which type of cleanser will work best on that type of wood without posing harm to your skin.
Japanese bathtubs that are made out of western materials like stainless steel, fiberglass, ceramics or porcelain can take pretty much any bathtub cleanser that you can find at the store. For the least impact on your skin (once the tub is refilled), use cleansers made from natural products or make your own using ingredients from around your kitchen.
Whichever way you keep your japanese bathtub clean, make sure that your Japanese bathtubs have been rinsed thoroughly before refilling them with the hot water. You do not want any chemicals to make their way into your skin!