cultures that don t shower

If you are looking for Cultures That Don T Shower, then you are on the right page. It contains shower habits by country. Suppose you want countries with worst personal hygiene instead. Then this article is what you need.

For the Turks, bathing is a semi-religious ritual in which purifying the body goes hand-in-hand with purifying the soul. Mohammed himself enthusiastically endorsed sweat baths around 600 AD, and hamams (as Turkish baths are known) are a kind of annex to the mosque, often featuring elaborate domes and ornate architectural elements that emphasize an atmosphere of sanctity and reflection. The centerpiece of the hamam is a hot stone slab where bathers loosen up and undergo a five-step purifying ritual: the warming of the body, an extremely vigorous massage, the scraping of skin and hair, soaping, and finally, relaxation.

shower habits by country

Cultures That Don T Shower

The Lingo:
Tellak – 
bathing attendant 
Kese – rough natural washcloth 
Peshtemal – large towel with tassels for covering the body 
Nalin – wooden clogs 
Tas – bowl for pouring water over the body 
Tozu – the process of removing auxiliary hair


The bath of choice for Finns is not a bath at all, it’s a sauna. Finland is the sauna’s homeland, and “sweat baths” are fundamental to Finnish life—a means of mitigating the brutally harsh climate and preventing colds, relieving muscle aches, alleviating depression, and cleansing the skin. It’s said that the sauna is the Finnish pharmacy, but it’s more than that. Many important aspects of Finnish life happen here: birth, marriage, death, politics, and business deals. Finland has 5 million people and 3 million saunas, including ones at the Finnish Parliament and many businesses, and almost every Finn takes at least one a week. The Finnish sauna ritual begins by warming up and breaking into a sweat while inhaling löyly (birch vapor) and “whisking” one’s body with birch branches. The bather uses the whisk to beat himself lightly, raising blood circulation in the skin and upping perspiration. After an extended sweat, the bather may take a soapless, lukewarm shower; cool off in the open air; roll in the snow; or take a dip in frigid waters.

Savusauna: smoke sauna
Kiuas: sauna stove
Löyly: birch vapor
Pukuhuone: dressing room
Lauteet: elevated platform in sauna
Kippo: ladle for throwing water on stove


Japan’s storied bathing culture originates in its topography. The country’s 25,000 natural hot springs, called onsen, led to bathing customs that go back thousands of years. Soaking, steaming, dry heat—the same attention, care, and consideration applied to food, tea, and transportation are brought to bathing, which is treated as a leisurely, meditative, and sensual daily ritual, generally taking place in the evening before dinner. This respect for the rituals of bathing is seen in Japanese homes, which have dedicated rooms exclusively for bathing (toilets are separate). A typical bathing room has a deep cypress tub; a window for contemplation of nature; a handheld, wall mounted “shower”; and wooden buckets and stools. Japanese bathing is unique in that the bather is clean before dipping a toe in the tub. The bathing ritual begins with a soapy scrub while sitting on a wooden stool to rinse away dirt, followed by immersion in the tub for a  leisurely soak to open pores, followed by another rinse and a final, longer soak. 

Yukata – simple belted cotton robe
Geta – wooden platform slippers
Mizuburo – cold bath Rotenburo: outdoor bath
Furo – bathtub Onsen: hot spring
Sento – public bath house
Gokuraku – expression of divine bathing pleasure


What the sauna is to Finns, the banya is to Russians. Pushkin, the Russian writer and patriarch of Russian culture, described the banya as a Russian’s “second mother”: “He goes to his second mother for rejuvenation, warmth, and a bath. She restores him to state of glowing health.” In Russia, sweating and health are virtually synonymous, and unlike the semi-religious purification of the hamam, or the stoic calm of Finnish saunas, Russian banyas are loud, boisterous, steamy affairs. Yes, the Russian’s bath of choice is a steam bath—and they like it extremely hot. The steam is produced by pouring water over a massive heater filled with hot rocks. Patrons disrobe and don felt hats dipped in cold water to protect them from the extreme heat. Once they’ve got a good sweat going, out come veniki—birch switches with leaves dipped in icy water with which Russian men and women take turns beating each other to stimulate the sweat glands. The experience is capped off with a nice long shower and a shot (or two) of vodka before trudging out into the cold Moscow air. 

Predbannik: pre-bathing area
Parilka: washing room and steam room
Chapka: felt hat worn to protect against heat
Padjopnik: specially-designed seating pads 
Black banya: wood-burning steam sauna in which smoke escapes through the ceiling 
Pokhodnaya: rudimentary outdoor banya constructed in nature


Korea’s bathing culture bears a resemblance to Japan’s, which some attribute to Japanese rule in the 20th century, while others point to an earlier migration from China through Korea to Japan. Where Japan’s bathing rituals are notable for their austerity and emphasis on simplicity, Korea’s bathhouses—mogyoktang (in their more traditional form) or jimjilbang (in their modern incarnation)—are sprawling, casual, and social, allowing visitors to wander through steam rooms, saunas, herbal pools, charcoal cold “saunas,” ice rooms, and jade rooms, with breaks for eating and socializing. Bathing areas are separated by gender and full nudity is the norm. One’s only accompaniment into the baths is a “lamb head,” a small hand towel used to wipe sweat from one’s eyes. It’s totally normal for friends and even strangers to scrub each other’s hard-to-reach-places—hence, the old Korean maxim: “You’re not really friends with someone until you’ve bathed naked together in a jimjilbang.” Perhaps the most iconic feature of Korea’s bathing culture is sesshin, extremely vigorous exfoliating body scrubs administered by ajummas—middle-aged women who pummel, slap, scour, and cover bathers in hot towels, leaving skin glowing and soft. 

Jjimjilbang: massive, modern spa and recreation center with extensive offerings
Mogyoktang: traditional Korean bathhouse
Ondol: communal room with heated floor
Yangmeori: cleverly fashioned hand towel used to wipe away sweat
Korean Italy towel: coarse towel used in sesshin  

countries with worst personal hygiene

How Often People in Various Countries Shower

Cleanliness, it turns out, has been one dirty trick. One reason early-20th-century Americans ramped up their weekly baths to daily showers is that marketing companies capitalized on the insecurities of a new class of office drones working in close quarters. As Gizmodo wrote last week, to sell products like “toilet soap” and Listerine to Americans, “the advertising industry had to create pseudoscientific maladies like ‘bad breath’ and ‘body odor.'”


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Take, for instance, Gizmodo’s description of the philosophy of the Cleanliness Institute, which was founded by the Association of American Soap and Glycerine Producers:

The trade association wanted Americans to wash quite unwittingly after toilet, to wash without thought before eating, to jump into the tub as automatically as one might awake each new day.

And so we did. A Reddit user recently polled 562 people and found that most men said they showered daily. Women’s bathing rituals were more diffuse, but about 60 percent preferred to shower three, four, or five times weekly.

Showers Per Week


Now is the dawn of a new, more pungent era, though. People are snapping up dry shampoo and No-Poo and coating themselves in bacteria. Dr. Sanjay Jain recently told Jezebel that “showers don’t need to be too hot, or too long, and you should always pat dry, rather than rub, to avoid irritating your skin.” One family went six months without using soap and raved about the results.

But as it turns out, Americans aren’t alone when it comes to having overdone it with too-frequent showers and shampoos.

A Euromonitor poll from July found that Americans are fairly average when it comes to hygiene. Among the 16 regions surveyed, Americans attested to showering more frequently than the Chinese, Brits, and Japanese, where respondents said they take about five showers per week, but not nearly as often as people in Brazil and Colombia, where people seemingly sometimes take more than one shower per day.

Average Showers and Shampoos by Country


Perhaps the warm climates play a role—though that wouldn’t explain the habits of balmy, relatively-infrequently-bathing Turkey and Spain. It’s interesting, too, that in most countries people don’t shampoo every time they shower. Mexicans and Japanese people come closest to fully sanitizing their hair each time.

In general, the world’s women shower more than men. The exception, according to a 2008 study by hygiene-products company SCA, is Sweden, the only country surveyed where men were more likely to shower every day than women were:

Percent Who Shower Once per Day


In other domains of grooming, gender equality is nowhere to be found. The SCA study found that among all countries, 84 percent of both men and women said “the ideal woman” shaves her legs. Seventy percent said it was important for her to wear perfume, but only 51 said the “ideal man” wears cologne.


The ideal woman also apparently “has long hair” (repeat: not on her legs), but she “does not wear it up.” Meanwhile, the top tasks required of “the ideal man” were to cut his hair and nails short. Sounds pretty onerous.

When SCA compared the results across cultures, they found that “Russian women have to contend with the biggest demands for the attributes of beauty—jewelry, makeup and shaved legs—from those closest to them. The survey also indicated that Russian women value these attributes the most for their well-being.”

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