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Are South Koreans hygienic?


South Korea has gained worldwide recognition for its advancements in technology and pop culture, but what about hygiene? Are South Koreans as clean and hygienic as they are perceived to be? In this article, we will explore the concept of hygiene in South Korea and examine the various factors that contribute to their overall cleanliness.

Personal Hygiene Culture

Personal hygiene is a crucial element of daily life in South Korea. From an early age, children are taught about the importance of cleanliness and proper hygiene practices. As a result, South Koreans are known for their meticulous grooming habits and attention to detail when it comes to personal hygiene. This includes taking frequent showers or baths, brushing teeth multiple times a day, and always carrying hand sanitizer.

Cleanliness Standards

South Korea is renowned for its high cleanliness standards, particularly in public spaces. Government initiatives and strict regulations have helped maintain a clean environment, with littering and spitting being heavily frowned upon. In addition, many public areas such as subway stations and airports are equipped with facilities for visitors to wash their hands or sanitize.

Food Hygiene

Food hygiene is taken very seriously in South Korea, with strict regulations enforced by the government. Street food vendors are required to undergo regular inspections to ensure that their food is safe for consumption. Additionally, many restaurants display their food hygiene grades openly, allowing customers to make informed decisions about where they choose to eat.

Healthcare Hygiene

South Korea has an excellent healthcare system, with modern facilities and trained professionals. As expected, the country places a high emphasis on hygiene within these facilities. Hospitals and clinics are equipped with top-notch sanitation equipment and protocols to prevent the spread of infections.

Cultural Norms

Cultural norms also play a significant role in South Korea’s overall cleanliness. The country has a strong collective mindset, with individuals often placing the needs of the group above their own. This translates into a shared responsibility to maintain a clean and safe environment for everyone.

Aging Population

South Korea has one of the world’s fastest-aging populations, with a significant portion of its citizens being elderly. This demographic shift has led to an increased focus on hygiene within nursing homes and other care facilities, as the elderly are particularly vulnerable to infections.

Environmental Concerns

While South Korea may be known for its cleanliness, the country is not without environmental concerns. Air pollution, particularly in urban areas, is a growing issue that can have serious health implications. Additionally, water pollution from industrial activities and agricultural runoff is also a cause for concern.

Hygiene Products Market

With such a strong emphasis on hygiene, it’s no surprise that South Korea has a thriving market for hygiene products. From facial cleansers to hand sanitizers, there is no shortage of options available. This market is expected to continue growing in the coming years, thanks in part to the country’s aging population and increased focus on health and wellness.

COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of hygiene practices worldwide, and South Korea has been no exception. The country’s swift response and aggressive measures have helped keep the spread of the virus under control. From widespread testing to contact tracing, South Korea’s approach to handling the pandemic has been praised by many.


Overall, South Korea’s reputation for cleanliness and hygiene is well-deserved. From personal grooming habits to strict regulations on public cleanliness, the country places a high value on maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all. While there are certainly areas for improvement, South Korea’s commitment to hygiene is admirable and sets a positive example for others to follow.


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Is South Korea hygienic?

Visitors to Korea, especially those from developing countries, often find the cleanliness of public areas and markets to be a pleasant experience. From hospitals and bus stations to post offices, schools, universities, and offices, all areas in Korea are maintained to high standards of cleanliness.

Do Koreans brush teeth after every meal?

Korean culture emphasizes the practice of brushing teeth three times daily, starting from childhood. People are advised to brush their teeth for three minutes after each meal. It is common to see Koreans with a toothbrush and toothpaste at their workplace.

Are Korean bathrooms clean?

Korea has many clean public restrooms, despite some people’s belief that they are usually dirty. I personally have encountered only clean and decent public restrooms in Korea.

How do Koreans keep their house clean?

Korean culture places a strong emphasis on the floor, with dining tables traditionally being low to the ground and meals often eaten while sitting on the floor. Many Koreans still sleep on the floor today, which means that keeping it clean and hygienic is a top priority and often requires a significant amount of time and effort.

What are the don’ts in Korea?

Do not compare Korean culture or language to that of Japan. Recognize and appreciate the unique qualities of Korean culture. It is important to remain composed and avoid excessively emotional reactions in intense situations.

Do Koreans bath regularly?

Koreans have a unique approach to bathing that involves a “half-bath,” where only the lower half of the body is immersed in water. This technique is believed to provide maximum benefits from a daily routine.

6. Education and Awareness: The South Korean government places a significant emphasis on educating the public about hygiene and its importance. Health campaigns and awareness programs are regularly held to promote good hygiene practices, particularly in schools and workplaces. This helps to ensure that the younger generation understands the importance of hygiene and continues to maintain these practices throughout their lives.

7. Traditional Medicine: In addition to modern healthcare facilities, South Korea also has a long tradition of using natural remedies and traditional medicine to maintain good health and hygiene. These remedies often involve the use of herbs and other natural ingredients, which are believed to have beneficial effects on the body. Traditional medicine practitioners place a strong emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness as a way to prevent illness and disease.

8. Cultural Etiquette: South Korea has a rich cultural heritage with many unique customs and traditions. Some of these customs relate to hygiene, such as removing shoes before entering a home or temple, and bowing instead of shaking hands as a greeting. These customs not only show respect for others but also help to maintain cleanliness in public spaces.

9. Technology: South Korea is known for its technological advancements, and this extends to the field of hygiene as well. Many public restrooms are equipped with high-tech features such as automated toilets and sinks, touchless soap dispensers, and air purification systems. This not only makes hygiene more convenient but also helps to reduce the spread of germs.

10. Social Responsibility: In South Korea, there is a strong sense of social responsibility when it comes to hygiene. Individuals are expected to take responsibility for their own personal hygiene as well as maintaining cleanliness in public spaces. This collective mindset helps to create a culture where everyone works together to ensure a clean and healthy environment for all.

In conclusion, South Korea’s emphasis on hygiene is deeply ingrained in its culture, from personal grooming habits to public cleanliness regulations. While there are certainly areas for improvement, such as environmental concerns and addressing air pollution, South Korea’s commitment to hygiene serves as a positive example for others to follow. Through education, awareness, and technological advancements, South Korea continues to maintain its reputation as a clean and hygienic country.

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