These are often done in hospitals and other healthcare facilities when the patient or resident cannot get out of bed to take a bath or shower. Soap is applied to a wet washcloth to wash the body and is then rinsed after the washcloth is rinsed out in a tub of water. This procedure is repeated for the entire body. Several washcloths must be used to prevent the spread of bacteria, especially when providing perineal care. The hair is usually washed with a leave-in shampoo. Also, hair is brushed, teeth brushed, fingernails cleaned, and the face shaved, if necessary. A backrub may also be done while appling lotion to the back.

With reference to the previous WU, this is how to give a bed bath to someone you love.

First, take whatever cleaner that the visiting nurse gave you, and chuck it. They deserve better. Depending on the circumstances, they might want a really mild soap, at which point, you're on your own (I've seen an outsize Wash 'n' Dri for sale at my local pharmacy, which might work...) but mostly, if you want to Do It Right, get fancy soap, cream, talc... from the mall. (Having different flavors now and then, makes it even more fun...) About the only thing you really want is chafe cream, or vaseline for anything obviously rough.

Second, prepare to use about twice or three times the amount you'd use for a hospital patient. This is a wet, messy job, and you're going to get wet, too. So you're going to go through a whole stack of washcloths and about three basins of water. (A couple of good towels help, too.) If it's someone you're intimate with, prepare to get very giggly and be washed as much as you're washing someone, so you'll shed your clothes in stages while you wash. Doing it to each other helps a LOT, if only because it's not the healthy washing the sick, but two friendly humans washing each other, to the best of their respective abilities. The fact that one of them needs to be helped to the bathroom (say...) becomes not so important, while you're doing it, it's just something you do for someone you love. Mmmm... Did I mention that you can do this with someone who is NOT sick? Oops, I just did. Anyway....

Thirdly. Use gloves on anything 'messy'. It's only human...and you aren't, technically, touching it.

Fourthly. Some people want chafe cream in some parts, lotion plus talc in some other places, and just a little lotion in others. A little freshener/astringent/rubbing alcohol can be very, very nice. Let them do the same for you. (Don't you have elbows, yourself?) Do each other's hair and teeth. I don't know how to shave, so you're on your own...

Fifthly. Hug each other (at least), enjoy your joint handiwork, and crawl into bed, and spoon, and take a good nap. You (both) deserve it!

It's the most magical thing....

Dedicated to Charles Wesley Whitley, 1952-1994.

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