How to Give a Sponge Bath


Whether you're taking care of an injured loved one or providing assistance at a nursing home or assisted living facility, knowing how to properly give a sponge bath is important. Sponge baths are necessary for people who are unable to bathe on their own, or have injuries that prohibit them from submerging their bodies in water. Learning how to give a sponge bath is simple.

Things You'll Need

  • Shower-safe seat
  • 8-quart wash basin
  • Large, soft sponge
  • Gentle antibacterial soap
  • Detachable shower head with varying settings

Turn on the water in your bathtub or shower and adjust it to the desired temperature depending on the recipient's comfort. Do not plug the shower drain.

Fill the wash basin with warm water, making it slightly warmer than the running water.

Check the shower seat to assure that it is properly placed in the shower and is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the person receiving the sponge bath.

Seat the person carefully in the shower seat, and instruct him or her to grasp the seat's rails to prevent accidental slippage.

Add a palm-sized amount of liquid soap to the wash basin, and mix it into the water evenly.

Dip the sponge into the basin of soapy, warm water and wring it out slightly.

Scrub the recipient's body with the sponge gently in circular motions from his or her head down to his or her feet, paying extra attention to areas such as the genitals, armpits and other crevices. Repeat if necessary.

Instruct the person to close his or her eyes and gently spray the excess soap from his or her body using the detachable shower head. Repeat if necessary.

Pat the person down with a towel to dry him or her off and then wrap him or her in it before helping him or her out of the shower.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use cellophane wrap to cover stitches, medical incisions or casts.
  • Avoid getting non-tear-free soap in the person's eyes.

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