Islam is the religion of cleanliness and it calls all Muslims to keep themselves clean and pure. For Almighty Allah says: (Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness) (Al-Baqara 2: 222). While having ritual bathing, the whole body must be washed and any kind of paint, varnish etc must be removed. Otherwise, ritual bathing is invalid.
A normal shower would be sufficient if water reaches all parts and you make it with the intention to do ritual bathing. However, you are recommended to follow the Sunnah way of performing ritual bathing to be rewarded by Allah for following the Sunnah.
On how to perform the ritual bathing according to the Sunnah, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “The proper method of ghusl (ritual bath) involves the following steps:
1. Make the niyyah (intention) to perform ghusl for purification.
2. Wash your private parts thoroughly with water.
3. Perform wudu’ (ablution) except for washing of your feet, which you can do later while bathing the body.
4. Wash the entire body, starting with your head and the right side, followed by the left.
5. It is preferred that the whole body be washed three times. The minimum is once.
having completed the above, you are considered eligible to perform the salah (prayer).”