How To Give A Sponge Bath?

Knowing how to give a sponge bath is essential if you are caring for someone who is unable to care for themself. Bathing regularly helps you to prevent infections and keep your skin healthy. A person who cannot move or is lying in bed for a while needs some assistance when it comes to bathing. This can be due to illness, surgery, or temporarily unable to do self-care. In today’s post, I will teach you how to give a sponge bath. The process of bathing a newborn, adult, elderly, or bedridden person is different. You can keep on reading to learn how to give a sponge bath.

How To Give A Sponge Bath?

In this section, I will explain how to give a sponge bath in detail. A sponge bath is a good option for newborn babies whose umbilical cord is still intact. 

You can follow these steps to learn how to give a newborn a sponge bath.

  1. Before you undress your baby, gather all the necessary supplies.
  2. This includes a towel, a bowl with warm water, and a soft sponge.
  3. Lay a clean towel on a flat surface and place your baby on the towel.
  4. Gently take off your baby’s clothes.
  5. Now, wrap your baby in a towel to keep them warm.
  6. With your other hand, wet the sponge in warm water.
  7. Remove the extra water and wipe your baby’s skin with this wet sponge.
  8. Start from their head and move all the way down to their toes.
  9. Repeat this step by targeting one area at a time.
  10. Last but not the least, gently wipe the private parts of your baby.
  11. Dry your baby with the towel and put on new pair of clothes.

During the entire bathing process, it is important to keep your newborn as warm as possible. Babies don’t need a regular bath as their skin is very delicate. You can give your baby a sponge bath three times a week until your baby is a year old. Make sure you wipe carefully while working around the umbilical cord.

After understanding how to give a sponge bath to a newborn, let’s learn to give sponge baths to adults.

Give Sponge Bath To Adults

I hope now you’ve understood how to give a baby a sponge bath. A good sponge bath leaves a person feeling clean and comfortable. You can follow these steps if you want to know the sponge bath procedure for adults.

  1. Fill two washtubs with warm water; one for washing and the other for rinsing.
  2. Make sure you don’t use too hot water and is comfortable to the touch.
  3. Now, pick up a soap that can be easily rinsed off.
  4. Cover the person with a sheet and then undress them for the bath.
  5. You can either create soapy water for washing or apply it directly to the skin.
  6. Then, wash the skin with one washrag and rinse it off with another.
  7. Start the sponge bath by first washing the face, hair, shoulders, arms, torso, and legs.
  8. Lastly, wash the person’s back, buttocks, and genitals.

While giving a sponge bath, it is better to work in sections and blot each area as you go. You can keep on reading further to learn more about how to give a sponge bath.

Give Sponge Bath To Elderly

Elderly people are often unable to climb in the bath or sit inside a shower. Due to reduced immune systems, older people are unable to maintain personal hygiene. You can follow these steps to learn how to give a sponge bath to the elderly.

  1. Before you start, put on gloves and discuss the procedure calmly and clearly.
  2. Fill a washtub with warm water enough for a sponge bath.
  3. Cover their body with a towel and help them undress.
  4. Also, place a cloth under their body.
  5. Now, you’ve to wash, rinse, and dry one body part at a time.
  6. Wash the face with warm water and then use a washcloth for each eye.
  7. Then, wash arms, hands, chests, and abdomen with a warm soapy washcloth.
  8. During this, use long strokes from top to bottom.
  9. Gently wash the legs, feet, back, and genital area.
  10. After the soap bath, apply a fragrance-free lotion to prevent skin dryness.

Avoid applying lotion on areas that can become moist such as the breasts or in the folds of the groin. Once you are done, help the person to finish dressing. Let us now know the sponge bath procedure in nursing.

Give Sponge Bath To Bedridden Patients

Bathing someone who is unable to clean themselves because they are recovering from an illness can be a bit tricky. You can follow these steps to know how to give a sponge bath to bedridden patients.

  1. Before you start, put on gloves and discuss the procedure calmly and clearly.
  2. Fill a washtub with warm water enough for a sponge bath.
  3. Gently lift the patient onto their side and place two towels under them.
  4. Carefully lower the patient and then repeat this on the other side.
  5. Now, cover the patient with a clean sheet and help them get undressed.
  6. Apply soap or soapy water to the patient’s skin and rinse it away with a washcloth.
  7. Repeat this cleansing and rinsing method for the whole body.
  8. Start with the face, ears, neck, arms, hand, underarms, and then shoulder.
  9. Wash and rinse the chest, stomach, sides, legs, and feet.
  10. Once you’re done, roll the patient on their side to clean their back and buttocks.
  11. Clean the genital area carefully and then dry it as well.
  12. Finally, redress the patient with clean clothes.

You can even wash the patient’s hair by gently lifting their head into the shampooing basin. Just make sure you pat the hair dry immediately with a towel.

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What Is The Best Way To Give A Sponge Bath?

Cover the person with a towel, exposing only the body parts being washed. For example, uncover an arm, wash and dry it, and then put it back under the towel. Wash with the washcloth and soapy water or wipes, and then rinse using another washcloth and the clear water.

Is A Sponge Bath Just As Good As A Shower?

Showers Provide a Much Better Clean
Lathering up with soap or body wash and having it completely rinsed off under the running water provides a fresh and revitalized feeling that a damp sponge simply cannot provide. Lovers of personal hygiene simply won’t settle for anything less.

How Do You Give An Elderly Woman A Sponge Bath?

Sponge bathing is most often used (you can use a sponge or a washcloth). Fill two basins, one with warm soapy water for washing and one with plain warm water for rinsing. Use a new washcloth for different areas. Remove clothes, wash and dry the area, and re-dress in sections to prevent your parent from getting cold.

What Is The Difference Between A Sponge Bath And A Bed Bath?

A person who can’t move well or who can’t move at all needs a bed bath. This is often called a sponge bath, but face cloths are often used too. You can give a full bath in bed without getting the bed sheets wet.


By reading the above post, you got to learn how to give a sponge bath. Proper hygiene should be important to all of us to keep our skin healthy and free of infections. Giving a sponge bath to a baby is very simple as they don’t really get sweaty or dirty. You can give your newborn a sponge bath two to three times a week. Adults, elders, and bedridden patients also need a sponge bath if they’ve had any kind of surgery or have stitches/bandages. Once you understand how to give a sponge bath, you can enjoy bathing your loved ones. 

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