European personal hygiene practices, the subject of books and unfortunate stereotypes the world over, have traditionally been viewed as somewhat lax. But an annual survey that takes a look at the daily showering habits of EU nations – this year the Czech Republic – may suggest otherwise.
Now hold on: before unleashing comments on our disrespect for the Czechs (or, conversely, the aroma on the tram during a heat wave) note that the Czech Republic actually came out on the squeaky clean end of the spectrum.
Geberit, the sanitary parts manufacturer who conducted the research in an effort to highlight “the irreplaceable role of water in the area of personal and intimate hygiene,” interviewed 1,001 Czech respondents aged 35-55 years, with equal representation of men and women.
76% of Czechs said personal hygiene is very important with three fifths (58%) of those surveyed saying that they spend more than 50 minutes a day washing, brushing their teeth, applying deodorant, and shaving. Nearly eight out of ten Czechs said that they shower at least once a day.
While this year’s poll targeted the Czech Republic, in past years, the same project has been carried out in other European countries including Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France, England, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, and Slovakia.
Comparitively speaking, the biggest advocates of personal hygiene are Poles and Italians; 89% of Poles and 58% of Italians consider personal hygiene very important; 44% of Poles and 43% of Italians spend over 50 minutes per day washing up.
On the more pungent side of things, only every second Dane described personal hygiene as very important, while a mere one-sixth (16%) of Norwegians, Dutch, and Belgians, indicated that they spend more than 50 minutes in the bathroom a day.
For additional stats, including the Czech attitude toward toilet smells and, er, undergarment freshness, see this Czech National Geographic article which originally reported on the study.