Saudi Arabia: Etiquette of the Saudi Toilet





For those who have not used a toilet in the home of a Saudi should be prepared for some distinctions that would not necessarily be found or take place in the home of a Western expatriate.

To begin with, the washroom may have a western style toilet with or without a toilet seat or among some families or men-only areas, the toilet may be a “two stepper” or squat toilet.  In addition, there may be a bidet.  In 99.9 per cent of cases there will be the toilet hose.  There is only a small chance that there would be toilet paper.

Prior to entering the washroom, there may be sandals outside of the door.  That is a sure signal that the floor will likely be wet and anyone entering should put the sandals on their feet before going in to the washroom.  The reason for all the wetness and the waterproof sandals is that instead of toilet paper, individuals will use the faucet hose to clean.  In many cases it may appear that the hose is alive for water will be on the floor, the walls and of course the toilet seat itself.

While I would never complain or express dissatisfaction to the state of someone’s toilet, I would not travel without a small roll of toilet paper in my bag so I could wipe down wet toilet seats and use as necessary.

In addition to using the washroom to relieve oneself, the washroom is also used to perform wudoo or abolitions prior to prayer.  This process also results in more water being sprayed around the entire room.

A housemaid is usually kept very busy with continual mopping and wiping down of the Saudi toilet.  Some washrooms do not have a window so the room has a continual wet and musty smell.

Upper class and upper middle class homes will be more likely to have a Western style washroom with little evidence of wetness or dampness.  However in middle class homes, lower class and villages it is very typical.


12 Responses

  1. An ablution hose like any implement is only useful when applied properly. It is a very good idea to carry around a packet of Kleenex and work on strengthening thigh and calf muscles so that actual contact with the missing seat is not required.

  2. Who in the world gets the floors and walls wet when making wudoo? ! Those must have been some wild people you visited, lol! 😛

  3. @Kareem: almost everybody does, it seems. Frankly I can’t understand it myself.

  4. I understand the cleaner with water part, but what about dry? Or does that not matter in their climate?

  5. It mattered to me, DJD!!

    On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 5:03 PM, American Bedu

  6. I wish I had read somehting instructive like this before going to Jordan … I learned the hard way, hehe. But ever since I cam back to my (western) country, I really miss the hose, messy but you feel so clean ! (and wet of course).

  7. I have normal bathrooms in my house, but there is a toilet hose in the homestay boys’ bathroom. They use it WITHOUT getting the floor, toilet, or walls wet. Yep, they’re Saudi. In fact, that bathroom is rather popular….both boys prefer to come home to use it and there is sometimes a car idling in the driveway while one dashes in for the comforts of home before going back out with his friends. Many of their friends have used it as have various Saudi visitors of mine and not even one has gotten the bathroom all well. I wonder why that is possible here and not in their own country?

  8. its a relatively simple thing to install. That is combination with toilet rolls is what you will find in our home. we go to the extent of ripping the dry wall , connecting it to the pipe and putting everything back in. 🙂

  9. A lot of countries other than KSA use water instead of toilet paper. I think that a combination of the water hose and toilet paper is best.

  10. You’ll find the “water method” across the Middle East, Asia and Africa as well as parts of Latin/South America. Even Eastern Europe and places in Italy will have the ‘water method.’ It’s primarily North America where it is the combo of water and paper or just paper.

  11. Easy enough to adapt to, I do what you do, Carol. Carry tp with me being careful not to flush as one never knows the condition of the plumbing. Water is so much cleaner and healthier if you ask me.

  12. You’re right that flushing can be another total experience!!

    On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM, American Bedu

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