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For many people, the simple acts of taking a shower, shaving, or going to the bathroom are difficult or impossible on some days, and may take a lot of their limited daily energy even on good days. A few potentially helpful ideas from our community and from other ME/CFS, Long-COVID and disability sources are covered here.

Washing/shower aids

Shower Chair


Provides a place to sit and rest while showering.

Non-Slip Mats


Prevents slips and falls in the shower or bath.

Handheld Shower Head


Allows for seated showering and easier control of water flow.



Some people struggle with a shower, even seated, but can take a bath. Be aware of water temperature: while some can tolerate (and love) hot baths, hot water can trigger a crash for others.

Grab Bars


Installed in the shower area for support, balance and getting up and down.

“It felt silly, like I was some rickety old man. But with the dizziness I get from orthostatic intolerance, it was a life saver. The whole thing [shower] took so much less energy because I wasn’t tense or stressed.”

-An Alberta ME/CFS and POTS patient

“Baby Wipes” and Sponge Baths


For days when a bath or shower is out of the question, use wipes or a sponge/cloth bath (getting caretaker help if and when necessary).

“Sometimes I am too tired to clean properly, but a quick freshen-up in [some areas] helps me be comfortable enough to get to sleep.”

-A post-viral (probably Long-COVID) patient in BC

Long-Handled Sponges


Helps reach all areas without overextending. Some people also liked long-handled scrub-brushes, but some felt they were too rough and bothered their sensitive skin.

One community member in BC, with joint hypermobility as part of their illness, especially liked using handled sponges to avoid “my shoulder feeling like it was going to pop out just to wash my back”.

Wet Room


For most, this is likely not an option (due to cost, effort or being a renter), but if this is available to you, converting a bathroom into a wet room (a fully sealed, tiled and ventilated room that can get wet) may help.

“I like my wet room. I can have the shower going and brush my teeth and sit on a real chair or the built-in bench. It helps not to have to step into a tub and not to feel like it’s a whole separate activity to shower. Not for everyone, I bet, but works for me.”

-An ME/CFS patient who also has other minor mobility issues

Bathroom Aids

Raised Toilet Seats


Eases the difficulty of sitting down and standing up (in cases of pain, or moderate to severe energy issues).



Offers a gentle and hygienic cleaning option that reduces the need for physical wiping.

“…even wiping causes a skin reaction on some days. Cool water avoids that. And I bought a way cheaper bidet that just attaches to my toilet.”

-An ME/CFS patient with suspected MCAS (with sensitive skin)

Toilet Safety Rails


Provides support around the toilet, especially for those with significant balance, dizziness or other orthostatic issues.

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Hair Care


Cutting hair shorter, using a combined shampoo/conditioner, or using dry shampoo can make haircare easier and take less energy.

“I cut my hair and permed it so I don’t need to dry or curl anymore…”

-An ME/CFS patient


For Men

Electric Razors

Less effort, no water, easier to use while seated or in bed (if careful to catch the hair).  

If using a manual razor 

Use warm water to help make the hair softer. Use a moisturizing or sensitive skin shaving cream to reduce friction and irritation.

For Women

Electric Shavers

These can be used for a quick dry shave.


Shower Stool

Allows for seated shaving in the shower.

Hair Removal Creams

Can be an alternative to shaving, but test this option for yourself: It requires a waiting time (for the chemical to work), must be wiped off with water, and may irritate the skin.


Be aware of your own sensitivities. Some people with ME/CFS or Long-COVID have strong reactions to certain products. These reactions can be anything from mild tingling or itching, to powerful histamine-type reactions (raised, puffy, red, painful, itchy areas). Some things to think about:

For some, it is the product producing the reaction. For others, it is the action of rubbing the skin. Test to understand what is causing the reaction before replacing a product. Sometimes buying a less greasy or thinner lotion (instead of a thick cream that requires more pressure to apply) can help.


Some people react in unexpected ways. For example, one patient notes that they can not tolerate certain creams meant for sensitive skin, nor “natural” essential oils, while they can use standard, scented drug-store lotions without an issue. 

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