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Does Korea use toilet paper?


Korea is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a unique way of life. One of the things that people often wonder about is whether or not Koreans use toilet paper. This question has been the subject of much debate and speculation, and in this article, we will explore the topic in detail.

A Brief History of Toilet Paper

Before we delve into whether or not Korea uses toilet paper, it’s important to understand the history of this essential item. The first recorded use of toilet paper dates back to ancient China in the 6th century AD. From there, it spread to other parts of the world, and by the 19th century, it was a common household item in many Western countries.

Korean Bathroom Etiquette

Korean culture places a strong emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene, particularly when it comes to using the bathroom. In Korea, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a bathroom, and there are often separate slippers provided for this purpose. Additionally, Koreans often use bidets or washlets instead of toilet paper to clean themselves after using the toilet.

The Rise of Bidets in Korea

Bidets have become increasingly popular in Korea over the past few decades, and they can now be found in many homes and public restrooms throughout the country. These devices use water to clean the genital area after using the toilet, which many Koreans believe is more hygienic than using toilet paper.

The Environmental Impact of Toilet Paper

One of the downsides of using toilet paper is its impact on the environment. The production of toilet paper requires large amounts of water and energy, and it also contributes to deforestation. By using bidets or washlets instead, Koreans are able to reduce their environmental footprint and conserve natural resources.

The Cost of Toilet Paper vs. Bidets

Another factor to consider is the cost of using toilet paper versus bidets. While bidet systems can be more expensive to install initially, they often pay for themselves in the long run because they require less maintenance and use less water and electricity than traditional toilets.

Cultural Differences in Bathroom Habits

It’s important to remember that bathroom habits can vary widely from culture to culture. What might seem strange or unusual to one person might be perfectly normal in another part of the world. Understanding and respecting these cultural differences is essential for promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance.

The Importance of Personal Choice

Ultimately, whether or not Koreans use toilet paper is a matter of personal choice. Some may prefer the traditional method of using toilet paper, while others may opt for the more modern bidet system. Regardless of which method they choose, it’s important to respect their decision and not judge them based on their bathroom habits.

Public Restrooms in Korea

If you’re traveling to Korea, you may be wondering what to expect when it comes to public restrooms. In general, you can expect to find both Western-style toilets and traditional squat toilets in public restrooms throughout the country. Additionally, many public restrooms are equipped with bidets or washlets for those who prefer them.

Tips for Using Korean Bathrooms

If you’re not familiar with Korean bathroom etiquette, it’s important to learn a few basic tips before using a public restroom. For example, you should always remove your shoes before entering the bathroom, and you should avoid flushing toilet paper down the toilet if there is no sign indicating that it is safe to do so.

The Future of Bathroom Technology

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more advanced bathroom systems in the future. From smart toilets that can analyze your urine and stool to self-cleaning bidets, the possibilities are endless. It will be interesting to see how these innovations impact bathroom habits in Korea and around the world.


In conclusion, while Koreans may not use toilet paper in the traditional sense, they have their own unique way of maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the bathroom. By understanding and respecting these cultural differences, we can promote greater cross-cultural understanding and acceptance.

Do I flush toilet paper in Korea?

To maintain hygiene in public restrooms, there are no trash cans available inside. Instead, toilet paper should be flushed since it is water-soluble and won’t clog the pipes. However, in some establishments with low water pressure, they may request that toilet paper be thrown into the trash can provided.

Which countries use toilet paper instead of water?

Toilet paper is the preferred method of hygiene and cleaning for most countries in Europe, the USA, and parts of East Asia. However, in Southeast Asia and certain regions of Southern Europe, people tend to prefer using water for the same purpose.

Do Koreans still use squat toilets?

Prior to the Olympics in Seoul, the majority of public bathrooms had squat toilets without proper plumbing systems. These types of toilets can still be found in modern cities, particularly in older buildings. If you come across one, it is recommended to face the hooded end when using it.

Is toilet paper expensive in Korea?

In Seoul, the estimated cost of four rolls of toilet paper is ₩3,094, based on eight price data points. However, this is only an approximation and may change. The latest update on this price was as of January 21, 2023.

Do Koreans use water in bathroom?

Traditional Korean buildings typically have older style toilets, while newer buildings have Western-style toilets. Some older toilets may not have flushing mechanisms and instead have a bucket of water available for scooping and flushing. The method relies on gravity to do the work.

How often do South Koreans brush their teeth?

The recommended tooth brushing method in Korea for the general public is the 3-3-3 campaign. This involves brushing your teeth three times a day, within three minutes after each meal, and for at least three minutes each time.

It’s also worth noting that bidets and washlets are becoming more popular in other parts of the world, including Europe and North America. As people become more environmentally conscious and seek out ways to reduce their carbon footprint, alternatives to traditional toilet paper are gaining traction.

However, it’s important to recognize that bidets and washlets are not the only environmentally friendly option. Some people opt for reusable cloth wipes or even a combination of toilet paper and bidet use. Ultimately, the choice of how to maintain personal hygiene in the bathroom is a matter of individual preference.

In addition to cultural differences, accessibility is another important factor to consider when it comes to bathroom technology. For people with disabilities or mobility issues, some traditional toilets may be difficult or impossible to use. Bidets and washlets can provide a more accessible option for these individuals, allowing them to maintain their independence and dignity.

Despite the rising popularity of bidet systems, toilet paper is still widely used around the world. In fact, some people prefer the familiar texture and convenience of toilet paper over bidets or washlets. The choice of which method to use ultimately comes down to personal preference and cultural norms.

In conclusion, while the use of toilet paper in Korea may be less common than in other parts of the world, it’s important to recognize that there are many different ways to maintain hygiene in the bathroom. By embracing cultural differences and respecting individual preferences, we can create a more accepting and inclusive world.

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