Jul 31, 2017 By Crystal Wilde , eChinacities.com

Westerners who are new to China are frequently alarmed by some of the more earthy Chinese habits, such as spitting in the street and the whole babies with split pants thing. But we’re not alone in our xenophobia. Chinese people are equally put off by some of the habits Westerners consider perfectly normal. Here are eight Western habits Chinese people find gross:

Source: Shaw

Nose blowing

While Westerners are frequently grossed out by the amount of spitting in China, the Chinese are equally perplexed by our loud nose blowing. Snotting your mucus in a tissue table-side (well, when you put it like that... ) is seen as disgraceful, although a quick footballer-style nose evacuation in the street is a common sight.

Sitting on a toilet seat

On the rare occasion that you come across a Western-style sitdown toilet in China, you’ll probably find the seat loose and covered in footprints. This is because Chinese people have been risking their footwear to squat on it. To them, sitting on a toilet seat is gross and something you would only ever do if you were forced by injury or old age. Even in the West, however,  I know many a thigh-strong lady who refuse to do anything other than “hover” over a toilet seat. Maybe we’re not so different after all!

Feet, shoes and the floor in general

In Chinese cities the floor tends to be a bit gross, so you’ll find people are particularly picky about what touches it. Bags never go on the floor, and you might find yourself unable to get a seat at a busy restaurants because they’re all taken up with purses,. Chinese people also rarely walk around in their houses barefoot or in socks, and some will even buy throwaway slippers for flights. Wearing outdoor shoes in the home or putting them into a bag without a cover is obviously also a no-no. It’s a fair point really. Would you rub your running shorts on the pavement?

Canned food

The fresher the food, the better in China, to the point where home cooks prefer to buy live animals from the market and do the dirty work themselves. The concept of canned food is therefore baffling and disgusting to a lot of Chinese people, and you’ll likely find your staple canned kidney beans and chopped tomatoes hard to come by.

Showering in the morning 

Generally speaking, Chinese people tend to shower right before bed instead of in the morning, as is the Western habit. To them it’s unthinkable to sleep in a day’s worth of grime and sweat. Also fairly understandable.

Fingers in mouths

We all know Chinese people use chopsticks, but the notion of keeping the hands away from the mouth extends much further. You’ll even sometimes see Chinese people eating burgers and pizza with chopsticks. Westerners eating with their hands and, god forbid, biting their nails, is seen as unsanitary and uncivilized. Note that many public toilets in China have no hand washing facilities, so this one does make a lot of sense.


That’s “Public Displays of Affection”, if you’re not down with the lingo. In modern China you may see young Chinese couples strolling around holding hands, but even this tame level of PDA is relatively new. Sucking face and pinching bums in public is frowned upon, so try to control yourself if you’re around someone irresistible.  

Dogs in the bed

Sane people all over the world think this is gross, but I dare say it’s more of a Western habit to smooch your dog and allow them to cuddle with you on all the furniture, including your bed. In China this is all related to the floor thing (see above), which is presumably why you’ll commonly see dogs wearing shoes in the street.

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Keywords: Gross western habits disgusting western habits

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7 Comments Add your comment



what a stupid list ,my wife is Chinese and she pretty much does everything on the list

Jul 31, 2017 06:03 Report Abuse



Feet, shoes and the floor in general well of course they cant run around barefoot at home, because the ground is so dirty. While that is not always their fault, but thanks to the massive pollution my ground is so dirty within one day of the last cleaning, that I cannot run around in socks (and I love to do that)

Jul 31, 2017 09:44 Report Abuse



There are many countries in Europe that have similar issues with these topics. So it's not a 'western' habit. Just a human habit.

Jul 31, 2017 10:36 Report Abuse



How is it "xenophobia" to be disgusted by public spitting, urination, and defecation? These spread disease. It's not just that we don't like Chinese culture. Also, if these are things Chinese find gross, why is it that Chinese do them? If sitting on toilet seats is considered so disgusting, why does pretty much every home have a Western style toilet? It's not that sitting on the seat is disgusting. It's that Chinese public toilets are disgusting, and that's something Westerners feel more strongly about than Chinese (though, not to the point of using that as an excuse for public defecation/urination).

Aug 02, 2017 23:54 Report Abuse



doesnt apply to everyone

Aug 03, 2017 10:38 Report Abuse



The smart businesses that have a large foreign customer base in predominately tier 1 cities know that to keep them, the restrooms must be clean. The ones who do not understand this are next door with no foreign customers.

Aug 06, 2017 09:04 Report Abuse



There is a follow up article coming, " 23,000,567 Chinese habits that make westerners feel sick" should be a good un'

Aug 10, 2017 11:11 Report Abuse