Whoever invented the straight-sided bathtub must’ve had two characteristics.
(A) The person was male (B) with zero understanding of body mechanics.
I’m a baths person big time.
I just moved into my own studio rental — good.
The bathtub has 90-degree straight back and sides — bad. Oh. So. Bad.
My first night in my new space after an exhausting, physically demanding and painful move, I needed nothing more than a long hot soak in an Epsom-salts bath.
I exited that soak feeling waaaay worse than going in, nearly crippled in the neck, shoulders and upper back, where my serious issues are concentrated.
THIS WOULD NOT DO.
I couldn’t rip out the tub, obviously. And going baths-free was no sooner an option than a fish surviving out of water. So I hastened to fix the horrendous ailment that was my tub.
What I Did First That Didn’t Work
I read tons online by folks with cursed straight-side tubs — every one of ’em also searching for solutions. While discomfort and despair were widespread, fixes short of jackhammers were not.
I researched inflatable wedges and inflatable pillows. The wedges were too big and iffy in terms of slants accommodating my body.
And I’ve never been happy with inflatable pillows. They’re cheap but not durable. They deflate easily, suction cups don’t hold and you’re forever fighting to keep the damn thing positioned — defeating the purpose of a tub: relaxing!
Then I researched as well as checked out thrift stores for all variety of low-to-the-ground folding beach chairs, pool chairs, floating devices. No way. My tub’s not just short but narrow — with 17 inches of “seating width.” My petite frame may fit into a kid’s chair … but a kid’s chair would fit in that tub. Nix those ideas.
What I Did That Worked
First, I invested in a cushy large bathtub mat — not only to prevent slipping while showering but padding while sitting.
After reading rave reviews, I sprung for the Luxury Spa pillow at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I’ve never in my life paid $20 for a bath pillow — neither would I normally. But then, I’ve never had an abnormal crippling tub either. Worth a shot.
Loooove it! It’s not an inflatable, rather vinyl-wrapped foam padding — thus solid, durable, supper-comfy, with numerous well-placed suction cups that adhere well, regardless of high water level, heat and daily use. Mine’s secured to the side 24/7; your mileage may vary if you’re continuously attaching and removing.
This “perfect pillow” has 3 parts designed to support the lower back, upper back and neck/head.
My sucky tub prevents use as designed. I’ve got all of 1 inch of back ledge-“resting space.” (I’m starting to loathe the designer of straight-side tubs!)
So I simply flip down the “head portion” — thus beefing up the padding and comfort for the back and neck as I slide deep into the water.
While the pillow helped tremendously, still missing, experience revealed, was support for the mid-to-lower/small of the back.
What to do, what to do.
Ms. McGyver to the Rescue!
I’m Ms. McGyver. I can fashion nearly anything out of almost nothing. I’ve accomplished some pretty impressive feats with my resourcefulness and Think Outside the-Box-ness through my lifetime.
As a minimalist and Anti-Clutter nazi, I haven’t a lot of things.
What I DID have, luckily, was a scrap of Reflectix. A radiant insulating foil-covered bubblewrap found in any hardware store. Regular bubblewrap would work just as well.
I fashioned a “bubbly” snake about 4 feet long by folding and securing sides and ends with duck tape — and bless the man who invented that!
Next, I folded the snake into fourths to form a small pillow. Create a longer snake for fuller pillow, play with the width. (I’m petite so 4-inches wide and 4-feet long sufficed.)
I secured the ends originally with duck tape … then revised to soft elastic rubber bands. Elastic cord or bands (used in sewing), strong string, skinny rope, any waterproof ties that withstand pressure would work.
Then slide this “bubbly” pillow under your mid- or lower back — wherever your body’s needing the support and equalizing.
What’s cool is that it’s fully adjustable, lightweight, pliable, waterproof, cheap and buoyant. It floats to support your body yet is held in the water by body weight. Perfect!
Plus it dries quickly. Simply remove the rubber bands or do as I do: Stand it in wrapped form in a bathtub corner to drain.
Verdict: Mission Accomplished! Well Done!!
My fixes don’t take the place of a tub with slope. Or cause me to dislike the designer of the straight-backs any less.
But the comfort in a straight-side contraption is VASTLY improved. So much so that I’ve actually fallen asleep in my McGyvered “hot tub.”
If my experience can help one poor soul suffering with a straight-back, this post was worth every moment of writing.
I passionately believe that a bathtub ought abate stress, not be it.
Straight is for geometric angles and gender, not bathtubs!