water chiller for ice baths

How often to change water in ice bath

With more people experimenting with cold water exposure, a common question is how often to change water in ice bath. Water hygiene is important to prevent the build-up of contaminants that can cause skin irritation and infections. Proper maintenance and cleaning practices will prevent dirt from building up and also slow down corrosion, keeping your ice bath in good condition for longer.

Read on to understand what are ice baths, how often to change water in an ice bath, and considerations to keep your ice bath clean.

What are ice baths?

An ice bath is a practice that involves submerging a substantial part of the human body in a bath or plunge-type structure in cold or icy water for a specific duration. It is also known as cold water therapy.

For most people to maximise the benefits of an ice bath, you should aim for 11 minutes a week total, this can be split between multiple sessions. By hitting 11 minutes a week you will increase your stores of brown fat which boosts core body metabolism.

Generally for cold water therapy the ideal temperature is between 10-15°(around 50-60 Fahrenheit). The common recommendation duration for an ice bath is to never exceed the number of degrees in minutes. For example, don’t exceed 10 minutes in a 10°C ice bath.

How often to change water in ice bath

The general answer for how often to change water in your ice bath, is typically every 3 or so weeks. How long your water stays clean in your ice bath will depend on several factors;

  • How often it is used
  • How clean you are when you get in
  • Is it filtered
  • How well the ice bath is cleaned and stored
  • Ambient temperature

Here are some tips and considerations to keep your ice bath water clean for longer.

Keep yourself clean

Keeping yourself clean before you get into your ice bath will help prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria which will mean you can use your ice bath water for longer in between water changes.

You should use shoes before getting into the ice bath to prevent dirt or grass from the bottom of your feet from getting into your ice bath.

Make sure to shower and give yourself a quick rinse before each ice bath to prevent bacteria build-up.

Keep your ice bath clean

I’d recommend a deep clean of your ice bath every time the water is changed. I tend to clean mine every few weeks with bleach spray and cloth to wipe away every bit of algae and grime, and I make sure to rinse it well afterwards.

Having a filter or using cleaning agents such as bromine tablets in your ice bath will mean you can go longer in between deep cleans and water changes.

Make sure to store your ice bath properly, ideally in a location where it will not be subject to weather. Also using a cover for your ice bath will keep our random debris that can get in such as leaves and grass.

If your ice bath is sat in a warmer environment e.g. sat in the sun all day then it’s likely to not last as long as an ice bath where the water temperature is kept cold.

Ice bath benefits

Cold water therapy is said to have many benefits:

  • Physical recovery: Cold water therapy has shown to be a powerful tool for muscle recovery. This study here shows decreased muscle soreness, and an improvement in muscle power and perceived recovery. Wait at least 4 hours after exercise (6-8 hours is best) to use cold water if you’re concerned with strength and muscle gains. Not doing so can limit hypertrophy and strength improvements.
  • Increased energy and focus: Cold water increases the levels of neurochemicals that make us feel more focused and awake. This feeling of focus and energy can last throughout the day.
  • Developing mental and physical resilience: By forcing our mind and body to endure the cold and the stress on our body. We are training our mind to stay calm and composed when dealing with the daily stressors of life.
  • Increased dopamine: Cold water therapy has shown to increase the levels of dopamine in our body. This happy hormone is extremely important for the mind and body and can give us the feeling that we have achieved something. The surge of dopamine can have a lasting effect throughout the day on our mood and energy.
  • Increased metabolism: Regular cold water increases our levels of brown fat. Exposing ourselves to cold water, the body is forced to warm up to attempt to increase our core temperature. This burns calories and trains our body to adapt to the cold.





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