May 062011
 

The shower is a wet environment where moisture can accumulate and lead to the growth of bacteria or mold. Black mold and other fungi in your shower can become a health risk. Shower chairs and shower seats, whether built-in or freestanding, are at risk of attracting mold and mildew. Even the rubber tips on the legs of many shower seats can allow bacteria to grow.

Additionally, some shower stools and shower benches have metal screws that may be prone to rust. To ensure that you reduce the chances for mold to grow or rust to develop, you are going to want to keep your shower chair clean.

How to Do It

Every time that the shower is used, make certain that the chair is wiped down. One of the best ways to do this is have a shower cleaning kit handy. Antibacterial cloths are available and all that really needs to be done is a simple wipe and dry. The idea is to get as much water off the chair as possible. Germs love to get into small humid places and a moment of your time can prevent this from happening. Be certain that you dry the top and bottom of the seat. If possible, remove the chair from the tub between uses so it can further dry off.

You should make certain that you include the chair as part of your regular bathroom cleaning routine. (Read Steps to Clean Your Shower for more details.) For best results, have a good antibacterial soap on hand and a number of brushes. Germs are able to get into the smallest of places and you need have brushes that will permit you to scrub and clean around screws and between cracks. A cloth will not be sufficient.

Most shower chairs also have drainage holes. You may want to use a bottle brush to be sure you can clean inside those holes.

 

Cleaning Teak Shower Benches

Teak is often the wood of choice for consumers who want to display a stylish type shower bench or seat in their bathroom. However, it is important that you make certain to follow all of the cleaning instructions that are recommended by the manufacturers. Any brushes or cleansers you use need to be able to kill germs and also be safe for the teak shower seat. Be certain that you do not to use any kind of brush or cleaning product that may leave scratches. Scratches and grooves are ideal germ breeding grounds.

When trying to clean teak do not use any kind of product that is an acid base. This will destroy the finish and may even ruin the wood. This applies to all acid bases including clouding vinegar. If you have a steam cleaner, you can use it to clean the wood, but make certain that the pressure is not so high that is going to damage the surface of the wood.

Shower chairs are going to be prone to germs. If you want to keep them bacteria free, remember to take them out of the shower when you are not using them and to keep them as dry as you possibly can. Proper care and maintenance will lengthen the life of any shower chair.

May 032011
 

You always want to choose a shower seat that is going to permit you to be able to sit in your shower in comfort and feel secure. But what if the space available in the shower is an issue?

Many homes are being designed and built with neo-angled showers. Other showers are just too small for a shower chair, especially if you live in an apartment. Even your bathtub may be too small to fit a shower seat into.

If you are facing these situations, a corner shower seat may be the only possible solution. Fortunately, there are many options when trying to pick the ultimate corner shower chair.

Teak Shower Stool

A freestanding teak corner shower stool is probably the most beautiful option. These kinds of chairs are designed specifically to go fit neatly into your shower or bath. Teak is a hard wood that is known the world over for its resistance to water. And teak shower seats feel warm and look stylish.

One of the major drawbacks of a corner teak stool is that it may not offer as much seating area as other portable shower seats. This means a larger person may feel less secure while sitting on them.

For more information read Choose a Hardwood or Teak Shower Seat for Elegance and Quality.

Poly or Stainless Steel

Stainless steel and polyethylene chairs are also available for the corner of your shower. They are sturdy and very easy to clean and maintain. They can be quickly sprayed and sanitized after each use. In most cases, you will not have to buy any special antibacterial products.

Additionally, some of the seats have holes in the top, which prevents water from pooling.
Although stainless steel chairs are not as attractive as many of the teak stools, they tend to be less expensive.

Built-in Shower Seat

Many people decide that they would prefer to have a shower seat built permanently into their showers. Once installed, this corner seat cannot be moved. Many people feel more secure using a built in shower corner seat. They do not have to be concerned about the seat shifting or moving in any way.

These type seats are usually tiled to match the décor of the shower enclosure. That makes this seat look like part of the shower design.

You can also buy a complete acrylic base for your shower which has a corner seat as part of its design. Because of its size, the base can be a much more expensive option than other types of built in seats.

One of the major drawbacks of a built in corner seat is that if the person who wishes to use it is restricted to a wheelchair, they may not be able to get in and out of the shower without help. Many of these corner seats require that the person be able to stand for a least a short period in order to get onto the bench. If the person is unable to stand, the only alternative is to have someone help to lift the disabled person to and from the corner seat.

Installation of the Built in Corner Seat

Installation of the tile type built in corner chairs must be done correctly. The seat must be securely attached to the shower wall and sealed to prevent water from seeping into the wall. You may want to hire a professional plumber to be sure the seat is built correctly.

The other types of freestanding corner seats may come already assembled or can be assembled very quickly and easily. They will then be available for immediate use.

You may also want to consider a built-in shower bench.

Summary

If shower space is a concern, but you still want the benefits a shower seat can offer, consider buying or installing a corner shower seat.

Apr 162011
 


When considering a shower seat you have to take into account the needs of the person who will be using the chair. It is important to realize that a simple shower stool may not be sufficient for the requirements of a person who has a physical restriction. But whether temporarily or permanently disabled, there’s no reason someone can’t experience the benefits of a hot shower.

Various types of shower seats are available that make it much easier for someone who is physically challenged to sit comfortably and safely in a shower.
Drive Stainless Steel Rehab Shower Commode with Open Front

First, for people who use a wheelchair, shower commode chairs are available. This special type of wheelchair can be made of waterproof PVC or may have an aluminum frame and stainless steel hardware. These chairs also have large wheels so the person in it can get themselves in and out of the shower. What’s more, many are lightweight and can be folded so they can be easily moved.

A commode chair often also has a special hole that permits the chair to double as a toilet. Underneath the chair is a removable container that can be taken out and cleaned as required.

Guardian Economy Non-Padded Transfer Bench
A person who is in a wheelchair may need, or prefer, to have a transfer bench. This is an adapted version of the standard shower seat. The design of the bench allows a person to move from their wheelchair onto the bench and then slide themselves into the shower. Many models allow you to adjust the seat height.

 

If you are concerned about water getting onto the floor, you don’t have to worry as many of these benches have a feature which allows the shower curtain to be pulled across. These benches are very useful for not only the disabled person, but also their caregiver. With this type of unit in place, the caregiver will have virtually no lifting to do. In fact, many people who are confined to a wheelchair can get in and out of the shower using one of these benches with no assistance at all. Bradley 9571 Bariatric Shower Seat, Right Hand Configuration

If you are looking at a long-term care situation, you should think about a wall mounted or fold down shower seat. These are extremely convenient and useful. Wall mounted shower seats can be conveniently folded out of the way when they are not needed. Many of these seats are made of a phenolic, which is a very durable long lasting plastic compound. If you plan to get a wall mount, there are a number of different features available, including safety locks, and arms.

A handicap shower seat is ideal for any person who needs assistance getting in and out of the shower or who just wants to have privacy for taking a shower. Replacing or modifying a shower or tub can be very costly, but the addition of the appropriate shower chair can make major renovations or alternations unnecessary. And the range of options for a handicap shower seat enables the physically challenged person to be involved in making their own choice.

The above seats can be purchased at:

Jun 212009
 

Shower seats, chairs, stools, and benches come in many different shapes and sizes with a wide range of features.  Three key features to consider when purchasing a shower seat include:

  • Seat shape, dimensions, and capacity
  • Seat height and legs
  • Seat backrests and armrests

Seat shape, dimensions, and capacity

Shower chairs come in two shapes: flat and curvedBuilt in shower seats and fold-down shower seats are usually only flat.

The flat seat, as its name says, is the same height from side to side. Flat seats may have a horseshoe-shaped cut-out at the front to allow easier personal cleaning.


The curved (also called dish- or saucer-shaped) seat has slightly raised sides and curves in the middle. This type chair tries to match the shape of the seat to your bottom.

 

Both shapes usually have holes in the shower seat to let the water drain through.

You will also see shower chairs with padded seats, which can add more comfort when you’re sitting. The padding provides a softer surface that allows you to sit longer.  It’s also good for sensitive skin.

The padding is usually made of foam so that it can dry more easily.  You may read about cushions made of “closed cell foam.”  Closed cell foams are generally denser, helping to prevent the seat from absorbing water.  Another feature of a padded seat is the amount of padding.  This is usually measured in inches.

Seat dimensions are an important consideration when you are buying a shower seat.  It can be tricky, but use a flexible tape measure to take a measurement of your bottom when sitting in a chair.  Then check this measurement against the seat width and depth (W and D) of the shower seat you want to buy.  If the seat is not large enough for your bottom, your shower seat may tip over.

Another important consideration is the weight capacity of the seat.  Different seats can hold different weights, depending on the strength of the seat and legs.  Be sure that the maximum weight capacity of the chair you choose can hold you.  Be aware that heavy duty models are available should you need it.

Seat height and legs

Since you do not wear shoes in the shower, the height of shower seats is usually lower than the typical chair you sit in.  So be sure, when you are considering a shower seat, that you will be able to sit comfortably with your feet on the shower floor supporting you.  If your feet are not solidly on the shower floor when you are sitting, you will be less stable and can slide out of your chair.  And remember to consider the additional height that a padded seat can add.

For this reason, many shower seats come with adjustable legs.  These are usually aluminum legs with holes in them that let you adjust the seat up or down.  The holes can be at different increments such as ½ inch or 1 inch.  Allowing different increments means the shower seat can be used by different family members.  If each of the legs is adjustable, you can get the right seat height, even on showers that have an irregular surface, such as one that slopes down toward the drain.

Shower seat legs will typically have rubber, or suction type devices on each of the feet. This helps prevent the shower seat from slipping or sliding around once in place.

Make sure that the height of the shower chair allows you to reach the shower controls without having to stand up.

You should also consider height when a shower bench is being attached to the shower wall.  Don’t measure from where the holes go in the wall to hold the bench – instead measure the distance from the top of the bench to the shower floor.

Seat backrests and armrests

Some shower seats offer backrests and armrests that are either fixed in position or are removable.

Backrests provided added comfort as they support your lower back. Some chairs use padding, a non-slip textured finish, and/or a curved or contoured shape to ensure you can relax while taking your shower.  These features also contribute to your safety by helping to keep you in place in the seat.

Like backrests, armrests can also be padded, contoured, or textured. Armrests help make it easier to sit down or get up because you have something to hold on to.  On some shower seats the armrests swivel back independently, enabling easier side transfers for people who need help getting in and out of their shower seat.

Keeping these key features in mind when purchasing a shower seat will ensure that you get a seat that fits you just right!

You might also be interested in reading The Benefits of Shower Seats.

Jun 212009
 

Shower seats go by a lot of names. Shower chairs, shower stools, or shower benches. They basically all have the same main purpose – allowing you to sit when you take a shower.

I’ve used a shower seat for many years now and I’ve learned that whether you are handicapped or not, they can provide many different benefits.

And don’t think they can only be used in a shower. If you get the right sized shower chair, it can also fit inside a tub.

Seven Shower Seat Benefits

1. Stability

A shower seat can provide support if you have a permanent disability that requires lower extremity support when bathing. But maybe your legs are weak or broken because of a temporary injury. In that case, a shower seat will allow you to maintain balance and feel secure when taking a shower.

2. Safety

Some people get dizzy or weak when they have to stand for a long period of time, such as when taking a shower. Sitting in a shower chair also helps these people. You can also slip when taking a shower, such as when your eyes are closed because you have shampoo in your eyes. Washing and rinsing your hair while seating helps prevent a dangerous slip in the shower.

Additionally, some people find it safer to leave a bathtub from a shower chair than getting up from the bottom of the tub and stepping over a high bathtub edge.

3. Relaxation.

This is one of my personal reasons for using a shower seat. If you find yourself tired or stressed out at the end of the day, turn on the shower, sit down, and allow the warm water to beat down on you. You’ll be amazed at how it can calm you down.

4. Luxury Showers in newer homes are often larger and have glass enclosures. A shower bench adds the impression of depth to the shower and provides additional visual interest. Teak shower seats, with their rich dark brown wood tones can also add a sense of elegance to your shower.

5. Storage

Some shower chairs have a top that lifts up. The space underneath can be used to store shampoo, sponges, razors, and even kids’ toys. Shower benches also offer a place to gather these items.

6. Footrest

Ladies, why should you have to bend all the way over if you want to reach your legs? A shower seat is a great place to rest your foot when you want to shave your legs.

7. Caregiver aid

If a caregiver must help someone bathe in the shower, it is often easier to reach them if they are seated. Chairs for children with special needs are also available. These are often adjustable to make the child more comfortable and make it easier for the caregiver.
Shower stools that rotate also allow a caregiver to more easily maneuver the bather’s body. Keep in mind, though, that stools usually do not have back support. This could be a safety hazard for someone who has trouble maintaining their balance.

All these benefits should give you some reasons to consider buying a shower seat.

Shower Seat Features

And when it’s time to look for a shower seat, there are a number of key features you should consider. These include:

  • Weight capacity
  • Construction and materials
  • Seat shape and options
  • Seat dimensions
  • Fit in shower or tub
  • Seat height
  • Seat legs
  • Seat backrests and armrests
  • Cost

Weight capacity

How much weight the shower seat can hold is a key consideration. Different seats can hold different weights, depending on the strength of the seat and legs. The typical shower seat is rated for about 250 pounds. Be sure that the maximum weight capacity of the chair you choose can hold you.

Be aware that heavy duty models are available should you need it. Read the article Buying a Bariatric Shower Chair to learn about shower seats that are built to hold up to 900 pounds.

Construction and materials

Shower seats can be made of PVC, steel, aluminum, hardwood, including teak, or mesh. Each offers different characteristics. Read Shower Seat Materials: PVC, Stainless Steel / Aluminum, Hardwood, and Mesh for more information.

Shower seat shape and options

You might think a seat is a seat, but since your bare bottom is going to rest on this type seat, its shape may make a difference to you. Shower seats, chairs, and stools come in two shapes: flat and curved. Built in shower benches are usually only flat.

The flat seat, as its name says, is the same height from side to side. Flat seats are available with a horseshoe-shaped cut-out at the front to allow easier personal cleaning.

The curved (also called dish- or saucer-shaped) seat has slightly raised sides and curves in the middle. This type chair tries to match the shape of the seat to your bottom. This type is my personal preference.

Both shapes usually have holes in the shower seat to let the water drain through.

You will also see shower chairs with padded seats. The padding provides a softer surface that allows you to sit longer. It’s also good for sensitive skin. If you take longer showers a padded shower chair may be what you’re looking for.

The padding is usually made of foam so that it can dry more easily. You may read about cushions made of “closed cell foam.” Closed cell foams are generally denser, helping to prevent the seat from absorbing water.

Another feature of a padded seat is the amount of padding which is usually stated in inches.

Shower Seat Dimensions

We may not like to admit it, but some of us are a tad bit larger in the bottom than others. So the size of the actual shower seat can make a difference. To know what size you’re looking for you have to measure your bottom.

How do you do that? It can be tricky, while you’re sitting in your favorite chair use a flexible tape measure to take a measurement of the space your bottom is taking up. I suggest doing this when no one is looking to avoid snide comments, especially from spouses.

Then check this measurement against the seat width and depth (W and D) of the shower seat you want to buy. You may think it’s silly to do this, but if the shower seat is not large enough for your bottom, you can tip over while in the shower.

Fit in shower or bathtub

Shower seats are designed for use in a shower. But remember that they will take up space in your shower. So check the chair dimensions against the dimensions of your shower so you know you’ll have enough space left to get in and out of the shower.

Also, if you are going to use one of these chairs in a bathtub, check its size, as bathtubs are often smaller than showers. What’s more, some tubs are curved on the bottom, making it difficult for the shower chair legs to stay flat. Some people find that they have to turn the chair sideways to use it in their tub, which can decrease your stability when sitting on the seat.

Seat height

Since you do not wear shoes in the shower, the height of shower seats is usually lower than the typical chair you sit in. So be sure, when you are considering a shower seat, that you will be able to sit comfortably with your feet on the shower floor supporting you. If your feet are not solidly on the shower floor when you are sitting, you will be less stable and can slide out of your chair. And remember to consider the additional height that a padded seat can add.

Make sure that the height of the shower chair allows you to reach the shower controls without having to stand up. If you have to stand up every time you want to reach a faucet, there is more chance for you to slip.

You should also consider height when a built-in shower bench is being attached to the shower wall. Don’t measure from where the holes go in the wall to anchor the bench – instead measure the distance from the top of the bench to the shower floor.

Seat legs

Because we come in different heights, many shower seats come with adjustable legs. These are usually aluminum legs with holes in them that let you adjust the seat up or down. The holes can be at different increments such as ½ inch or 1 inch. Allowing different increments means the same shower seat can be used by different family members. If each of the legs is adjustable, you can get the right seat height, even on showers that have an irregular surface, such as one that slopes down toward the drain.

Shower seat legs will typically have rubber, or suction type devices on each of the feet. This helps prevent the shower seat from slipping or sliding around once in place.

Seat backrests and armrests

Some shower seats offer backrests and armrests that are either fixed in position or are removable.

Backrests provided added comfort as they support your lower back. The backrest also contributes to your safety by helping to keep you in place in the seat. Like the seats, backrests can be padded and/or contoured for extra comfort.

Armrests are another shower chair option. Armrests help make it easier to sit down or get up because you have something to hold on to. Armrests can also be padded, contoured, or textured. On some shower seats the armrests swivel back independently, enabling easier side transfers for people who need help getting in and out of their shower seat.

Cost

Simple shower seats typically cost from about $20 to $40. When you start adding backrests and arms, the prices can go from about $40 to $60. Teak and hardwood shower benches can cost from about $40 to over $100. And depending on finishes and hardware, some shower seats will cost more.
A built in shower bench will cost more because of the construction and labor involved.

Shower seats can be found in large chain hardware and drug stores as well as online.

I bought my online and it came fully assembled which meant I could use it right out of the box. But even if you have to assemble the shower chair yourself, you typically just have to attach the legs to the seat and your shower chair is ready to go.

Keeping the above key features in mind when purchasing a shower seat will ensure that you get a seat that fits you just right!