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Which is Cleaner? Showering or Bathing?

Apr. 26, 2016

In the west, there are two common forms of washing: showering or taking a bath. There is this same difference in China over “洗澡(xǐzǎo) bathing,” except instead of it being a preference for one or the other that decide how one bathes, it is if you live in the north or south. That is to say, people in the south of China and north have different ways of bathing, and this often becomes a topic of dispute between the two, although not a very serious one as you can imagine!

xizao zuozao

People from the north like to “搓澡(cuōzǎo) scrub and wash.” This is a more intense form of bathing where the body is scrubbed more vigorously than with a typical shower and is for some people only repeated 2-3 times a week. The dispute comes in because people in the south like to “冲澡(chōngzǎo) take a shower.” This is something they think has to be done every single day to stay clean, unlike just 2-3 times in the north. Yet, people think that people in the south can’t stay clean since they don’t “搓(cuō) scrub.”

shower bath

If you want to 搓澡(cuōzǎo), you need a “搓澡巾(cuōzǎojīn) special scrubbing towel.” It is a type of scrubbing cloth you can hardly find in Southern China because of the difference in the way of bathing. It is something that mainly northerners purchase!

China is a widely diverse country with many differences in language in culture throughout. This preference for the type of bathing is just one of the many differences that sets the north and south of China apart! Although you should keep in mind, showering is different from person to person and this is just a broad representation.


搓澡 (cuōzǎo):scrubbing  and washing

Běifāng rén xǐhuan cuōzǎo.
北方 人       喜欢     搓澡。
Northerners like to scrub and wash.

冲澡 (chōngzǎo):Showering

Nánfāng rén xǐhuan chōngzǎo.
南方 人       喜欢     冲澡。
Southerners like to take a shower.

洗澡 (xǐzǎo):bathing

Wǒ wǎndiǎnr zài xǐzǎo.
我    晚点儿   再  洗澡。
I’d like to take a bath later.


1. How do you say “take a bath” in Chinese?
A. 洗澡 (xǐzǎo)
B. 洗脸 (xǐliǎn)
C. 洗头 (xǐtóu)
D. 洗身 (xǐshēn)

2. What is a “搓澡巾(cuōzǎojīn)?”
A. A bath towel
B. A bathrobe
C. A bathing cap
D. A special scrubbing towel for bathing

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