Baby bath time

Did you wash your babies in a tin or plastic bath, or did you simply pop them in the kitchen sink? Much depends on the decade your babies were born in, but what was your baby bath time routine?

In Front of the Fire…

Many in the Spring Chicken Community remember a childhood of having a wash in a tin bath in front of the fire every Sunday night – whether they needed it or not! Some then continued the tradition by bathing their own babies in the same tin bath while others upgraded to a plastic bath, but the fireside location remained the only place warm enough to risk stripping off.

I remember we all got bathed in front of the coal fire in a tin bath. We just had a plain two handled one, but my niece and nephew had a posh tin bath that was pink on the outside and white on the inside.


I used a plastic bath in front of the fire for my mine when they were tiny… warmest room in the house!

… and Into the Sink

According to Facebook followers, the natural progression was to move from the bath in front of the fire into the kitchen sink once babies were a little older. Some baby baths came with a stand that raised them to a less back-breaking height, but the switch to the kitchen sink was a welcome relief for those who’d been kneeling on the floor.

I used to bathe my babies in the kitchen sink. I’d put a clean white fluffy towel on the draining board ready to dry them – it was so much easier than bending over a bath.

Pears’ or Johnson’s?

There is a bewildering array of baby products available today, but back in the day, the big brands of baby soap were Pears’ and Johnson’s.

Pears’ soap was originally produced in London way back in 1807. Its unique manufacturing process made it the first translucent soap and gave the bar its distinctive curved shape. It was advertised as ideal for both mother and baby, and many remember the spicy smell of the suds.

Interestingly, in 1882, Lillie Langtry became the first female celebrity to endorse a product when her famous ivory complexion landed her an advertising role with Pears’ soap. It’s reported that she was paid a pound for every pound she weighed at the time!

Always used Pears’ soap for my babies, and I still use it myself today.

Pears’ soap was for special occasions, sometimes Lux, but we mostly used Lifebuoy and it was all done in the kitchen sink!

The Johnson’s Baby brand entered the market in 1893 with its famous Baby Powder. The range extended in the 1920s to include Baby Cream and Baby Soap. Baby Oil was added in the 1930s and then Baby Lotion in its distinctive pink bottle came along in the ’40s, followed by ‘No More Tears’ Baby Shampoo in the ’50s.

I used Johnson’s Baby Soap for all four of mine. I loved the smell of them after it… happy memories!

Some in the Spring Chicken Community remember using Sunlight soap, Fairy Liquid, and even a drop of Dettol in the bath water back in the day, but what are your memories of your baby bath time routine?

Pears’ baby soap for my babies, but my mother used carbolic soap and Vosene on me. She rinsed my hair with rainwater from the butt. It was freezing in winter – but I had beautiful soft shiny hair!

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  • We lived on a farm and had a tin bath, so every Sunday night it was dad first then he went to the pub, 3 younger brothers next in age order, then my younger sister them me the eldest god only knows what the water was like when mum got in, then she watered the garden with it the morning after, all with coal tar soap. happy days ?

  • During the 30s and 40ts we were bathed in a large tin bath in front of the kitchen range, all water was drawn from a well in the garden, and heated in the copper next to the fire, in our cottage we had one room downstairs that was Kitchen, Living room, Bathroom, the lot, HAPPY DAYS and I mean that,

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