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Can you use toilet paper in Korea?

Can You Use Toilet Paper in Korea?


Korea is a beautiful country, with a rich culture and unique customs that are worth experiencing. However, if you’re planning to visit or live in Korea, one question that may come to mind is whether toilet paper is commonly used there. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide a comprehensive guide on toilet etiquette in Korea.

History of Toilet Paper in Korea:

Toilet paper was not commonly used in Korea until the 1970s when it was introduced by American soldiers. Before then, Koreans primarily used water and a small towel to clean themselves after using the restroom. Today, while toilet paper is widely available and commonly used, other methods such as bidets and handheld sprayers are also popular.

Availability of Toilet Paper in Korea:

Toilet paper is readily available in most public restrooms, cafes, restaurants, and hotels in Korea. However, it’s always advisable to carry your supply of toilet paper or tissues as some public restrooms may not provide them. It’s also worth noting that some traditional Korean establishments may not have Western-style toilets or toilet paper available.

Use of Bidets and Handheld Sprayers:

In addition to toilet paper, bidets and handheld sprayers are common in Korean restrooms. These devices are typically located next to the toilet and can be used for cleaning instead of toilet paper. Bidets use a stream of water to clean while handheld sprayers can be directed where needed. It’s essential to ensure you know how to use these devices before attempting them.

Importance of Proper Toilet Etiquette:

Koreans place great importance on proper toilet etiquette. Some key etiquette rules include flushing the toilet after use, not leaving any toilet paper on the floor, and washing your hands before leaving the restroom. It’s also considered polite to leave the bathroom in a clean and tidy state for the next person to use.

Cultural Differences in Toilet Etiquette:

It’s worth noting that toilet etiquette can vary widely across cultures. For example, using toilet paper is standard in Western countries, while in some Asian countries, water and handheld sprayers are more commonly used. Hence, it’s crucial to research the culture and customs of a country before visiting or living there.

Alternative Methods of Cleaning:

In addition to bidets and handheld sprayers, Koreans also use other methods to clean themselves after using the restroom. One popular method is to use wet wipes or baby wipes, which are widely available in most stores. Another alternative is to use a small towel or cloth that can be washed after use.

Environmental Impact of Toilet Paper:

Toilet paper is often made from trees, and its production can have a significant impact on the environment. In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the need to reduce our impact on the environment. Hence, some people are opting for more sustainable alternatives such as bidets or reusable cloths.


Toilet etiquette and the use of toilet paper can vary significantly across cultures. In Korea, while toilet paper is widely available, other methods such as bidets and handheld sprayers are also popular. It’s essential to respect local customs and follow proper toilet etiquette when visiting or living in Korea.

Final Thoughts:

Whether you choose to use toilet paper or alternative methods such as bidets or handheld sprayers when visiting or living in Korea is up to you. However, it’s always essential to be respectful of local customs and follow proper toilet etiquette, regardless of the method of cleaning you choose.

Additional Resources:

If you’re interested in learning more about Korean culture and customs, there are many resources available online. Websites such as Visit Korea and offer information on various aspects of Korean life, including toilet etiquette and customs.

Do they use toilet paper in Korea?

The individuals belonging to this particular culture rely on water for cleansing purposes when needed. In many Asian countries such as China, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, and Taiwan, it is challenging to find toilet paper in stores. Some hotels may provide it in their guestrooms.

Can you put toilet paper in toilet in Korea?

In South Korea, it is not recommended to flush toilet paper as it may cause blockages in the toilet. It is advisable to dispose of used paper in the designated trash bin provided near the toilet.

Where do you throw toilet paper after use in Korea?

In Korea, it is common to see trash cans near public restrooms, which is a tradition from the past. People are advised not to flush toilet paper in older buildings, including public restrooms, and instead dispose of it in the nearby trash can.

Does South Korea use squat toilets?

The Korean toilet experience is different than what you may be used to, as it features a squatter toilet instead of a traditional seat. This type of toilet is essentially a hole in the floor made of porcelain.

Are Korean public toilets clean?

Despite common perceptions that public restrooms are dirty, Korea’s public restrooms are actually quite clean. I have encountered several clean and decent public restrooms in Korea.

Do Korean toilets have bidets?

Toilets in Korea are well-known for their distinct features like bidets and air drying capabilities. These toilets are widely used in South Korea and can be found in many households and hotels, often considered both unusual and intriguing.

In addition to bidets and handheld sprayers, another method of cleaning after using the restroom in Korea is the use of traditional Korean bidet, also known as a chamdol. It is a ceramic bowl that is filled with water and used for cleaning. While it is not as common as other methods, some traditional Korean homes and public restrooms still use this method.

Another important aspect of toilet etiquette in Korea is the separation of toilet paper and other waste products. In many public restrooms, you will find separate bins for disposing of toilet paper and other waste products such as sanitary items, tissues, and wet wipes. It’s crucial to ensure that you dispose of waste products correctly to avoid clogging the plumbing system.

It’s also worth noting that some Korean public restrooms may not have soap available for handwashing. In such cases, it’s advisable to carry your hand sanitizer or wet wipes to clean your hands after using the restroom.

Finally, it’s essential to remember that toilet etiquette is not just about cleanliness and hygiene but also about respecting others’ privacy. Koreans are generally quite private when it comes to their bodily functions, so it’s considered impolite to talk loudly or make noises in the restroom.

In conclusion, while toilet paper is widely available and commonly used in Korea, other methods such as bidets, handheld sprayers, and traditional Korean bidets are also popular. Proper toilet etiquette is highly valued in Korea, and it’s essential to respect local customs when visiting or living in the country.

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