Have you ever entered a Japanese home? One of the things you’ll first notice is how clean it is compared to most western homes. So, why are Japanese homes so clean?
Japanese homes are clean due to formed habits and practices. The indoor living habits encourage cleanliness leading to shoe removal before entry and special care for beddings. Mold prevention is also essential, and over time, people here have imbibed the culture of cleaning homes and surroundings.
Cleanliness is part of the culture in Japan, and you’ll Japanese continue to show this even when outside the country. Here, we discuss why Japanese homes are so clean.
Reasons Japanese Homes Are Clean
Japan is one of the cleanest countries in the world. It’s rare to find graffiti on the streets, people don’t throw garbage around, and most homes are squeaky clean. There are several reasons behind this culture of cleanliness, and they include:
1. Shoe Removal Practices
Wearing shoes isn’t allowed inside Japanese homes. There’s usually an entryway or genkan where everyone will remove their shoes. This area is considered a public space for the house, and in most Japanese homes, this is where any outdoor shoes will be taken off and stored inside the getabako, a special shelf or closet for shoes. The genkan is usually neat and organized, and there could be a stool or bench there for people who need to sit down to take off their shoes. Most Japanese homes will have slippers waiting for you that you can wear indoors after taking off your shoes.
Japanese don’t even wear slippers throughout the house. It’s acceptable to wear slippers in the hallway and in any room with flooring. But if you enter a room with tatami mats, you’ll have to remove the house slippers. When going into the toilet, you’ll find toilet slippers by the door, which you’re only supposed to wear into the toilet, and take them off once you step out. The host usually lines up the guest’s shoes outside so that they’re waiting to be stepped into when you have to leave. Most homes also have several slippers in the basket so that guests can easily choose what’s appropriate for them.
2. Indoor Living Habits
Unlike most western homes, where there are elevated positions for everything, whether sitting on a chair or sleeping in a bed, the Japanese are more likely to sit or sleep on cushions or even on the floor. So they usually take extra care to keep the floor clean and not bring any germs or dirt from the outdoors, which could happen when you wear your shoes inside.
3. Care for Beddings
The beddings in Japan aren’t the regular mattress and beds found in western countries. Most Japanese homes use futons known as shikibutons for sleeping. Depending on the seasons, there are usually other extra coverings used. Unlike the regular beds, which are stationary, futons are meant to be put away every day, especially during the summer months and rainy season. The high humidity of these months means that leaving the futon on the floor could encourage mold growth on the futon. So, it’s common in Japan for people to air their beddings, especially the shikibuton, as often as possible. They’re put in the sun regularly to ensure that they smell well and are free of harmful microorganisms. Since most homes have to remove bedding daily, cleaning the floor happens daily.
4. Mold Prevention
The humid weather in Japan makes the homes very susceptible to mold. As a result, the Japanese have learned to clean their homes as often as possible, using various products to prevent mold growth. Beyond cleaning with chemicals, there are practices commonly used to prevent mold growth which contributes to the overall cleaning of the house. This includes leaving the windows open, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and toilet, to let the breeze and sunlight in. Even the closet doors are left open, and on days without sun or wind, it’s common for people to turn on their fans so the air can circulate. Some even use cold water spray for the room to reduce the temperature and wipe off the water till the rook is dry.
5. Cultural Background
Cleanliness is part of Japanese culture, and most people can’t stand the idea of a dirty home. Many people would be embarrassed if a visitor enters their home and finds it disorganized because messiness is associated with shame. Most Japanese believe that visitors will judge them based on their home appearance and are reluctant to let visitors in when their home isn’t clean. Even homes with children go to extra lengths to ensure cleanliness. The culture of cleanliness also extends to schools where it’s part of the everyday routine for students to clean. These habits grow with them, and Japan has established itself as a nation of very clean people.
Beyond the cultural practice, the Buddhist religious practices, common in Japan, have also influenced people’s cleaning habits. Buddhism encourages people to clean their homes and environment and declutter to work more effectively. This practice is meant to improve mindfulness and now forms part of the core culture of the Japanese. Even where there are no public trash cans, people will usually hold on to any trash they make until they dispose of it appropriately.
6. Public Cleanliness
It’s hard to find streets of Japan that are littered, especially in the urban areas. There are garbage cans all around, and over the years, people have learned to dispose of any trash in these cans. Even at public events, Japanese attendees take extra care to ensure cleanliness. It’s common for residents of a neighborhood to come out for cleaning exercises periodically. With the attention placed on public cleanliness, it has become part of their nature to keep their homes clean.
Japanese homes are very clean due to practices and formed habits. All these factors encourage many people to keep their homes as clean as possible, and it also translates into a cleaner environment overall.