How Do Walk-in Tubs Work?

A walk-in tub with an open door.

Traditional baths are pretty simple to use. You turn the tap on, wait for the tub to fill, then step over the tub wall to get in. The problem is, people with limited mobility often have trouble lifting their legs over the tub wall when its time to get in the bath. This is not only physically tiring, it’s also dangerous because it can lead to slips and falls. The solution is a tub with a door, also known as a walk-in tub. But now that there’s a door involved, it brings us to the question, “how do walk-in tubs work?”, and “how do you get in a walk-in bath without the water spilling out?”.

We get these questions fairly often at Safety Bath Walk-in Tubs, and we’re happy to explain the answers.

How to Get Into A Walk-in Tub

  1. Get undressed and wrap yourself in a nice, cozy towel or bathrobe (of course, the towel is optional but it helps you stay comfortable).
  2. Open the door to your walk-in tub and get inside. Depending on the direction of your door, you can either walk in then sit down (with an inward-swinging door) or sit down then swing your legs inside (with an outward-swinging door).
  3. Close the door and turn on the tap to begin filling your tub. Yes, you’ll have to sit inside while you wait for it to fill—but don’t worry, it fills quickly. In fact, at Safety Bath, we equip our tubs with High Flow Taps. They’re designed to produce a flow rate of 14 gallons per minute, which means they can fill a tub in under 4 minutes! As the water fills, remove your towel or bathrobe and put it beside your tub for when you’re ready to get out. Alternatively, have a fresh towel ready incase this one gets wet.
  4. Sink into your fresh bath and relax, enjoying the extra features like heated water jets, microbubbles, or a warm air massage. Go ahead and practice your usual hygiene routine!

How to Get Out of A Walk-in Tub

  1. Once you’re ready to get out of the bath, release the drain with the handle at the top of your tub. On our tubs at Safety Bath, a chain connects this handle to the drain below so you don’t have to reach down into the water to open the drain. Similar to when you got in, you will have to wait until the tub is empty before opening the door again. This might sound unpleasant, but our tubs have 2″ Quick Drains built in; they allow the tub to drain in 90 seconds or less (depending on your home’s water pressure and plumbing). Having a towel within reach will also help to keep you comfortable.
  2. When your walk-in tub is empty, you can open the door and get out as usual.
Closeup of a tub's drain system including chain,
The drain release handle is attached to the drain with a chain for easy release.

How Water Stays In: Our Aluminum Door & Latch System

The door is the biggest source of confusion when thinking about how walk-in tubs work. When you think logically, a bathtub with a door shouldn’t be able to hold water in—but ours does. Our extruded aluminum doors and door frame are the strongest on the market, ensuring years and years of problem-free use (that means no leaks).

The long-arm door release is simple to maneuver with minimal effort, and with our innovative latch system, you’ll never accidentally release the door.

door system for conversion to walk-in tub

Door can also open inwards or outwards, and come in different shapes to accommodate for different needs. To learn more about which door fits your needs best, read our Guide to Walk-in Tub Doors.

Watch as we demonstrate how to open and close the door and lock.

Now, we also know that people are curious about what would happen if the door did open… so we tried it.

As Rory (owner of Safety Bath-Walk-in Tubs) explains, this would never accidentally happen to any of our customers because of the automatic safety lock. Just for fun, we released the lock and opened the door when the tub was full of water in the video below.

If you have any additional questions about how our walk-in tubs work, please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] or visit a dealer near you.

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