How Did People Shower in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, personal hygiene and cleanliness were highly valued. While the ancient Greeks did not have access to modern showers as we do today, they had their own methods for bathing and keeping clean.

Bathing in Ancient Greece

Bathing was an essential part of daily life in ancient Greece. However, unlike our modern concept of taking a shower or bath, the ancient Greeks did not have dedicated bathing areas or plumbing systems.

So, how did people shower in ancient Greece?

The Gymnasiums

The Greeks had public bathhouses called gymnasiums. These gymnasiums were large open-air complexes where people could exercise, socialize, and bathe. The gymnasiums had various facilities like swimming pools, saunas, and hot tubs where people could cleanse themselves.

Swimming Pools:

The swimming pools in the gymnasiums were used for both exercise and bathing purposes. People would swim and immerse themselves in water to clean their bodies. They would also use scrapers made of metal or wood to remove dirt and sweat from their skin.


The Greeks had saunas known as laconica. These were rooms filled with hot air where people would sweat profusely. After sweating, they would use a metal tool called a strigil to scrape off the sweat and dirt from their bodies.

The Private Bathrooms

In addition to public bathing areas like gymnasiums, wealthy individuals in ancient Greece often had private bathrooms within their homes.

Ablution Rooms:

Ablution rooms, also known as lounges, were small private bathrooms equipped with water basins and pitchers. People would pour water over themselves to cleanse their bodies.

Terracotta Bathtubs:

Wealthy Greeks also had terracotta bathtubs in their homes. These bathtubs were filled with water, and people would soak in them to relax and cleanse themselves.

Personal Hygiene Practices

Besides bathing, the ancient Greeks had several personal hygiene practices to keep themselves clean.

Perfumes and Oils:

The ancient Greeks used perfumes and scented oils to mask body odor. They would apply these fragrances to their bodies after bathing.


Greek women used cosmetics like kohl and rouge to enhance their beauty. These cosmetics were made from natural ingredients like charcoal and red clay.

In Conclusion

Although the ancient Greeks did not have showers as we do today, they had innovative methods for bathing and maintaining personal hygiene. From gymnasiums with swimming pools and saunas to private bathrooms with ablution rooms and bathtubs, the Greeks prioritized cleanliness. These practices, along with the use of perfumes and cosmetics, ensured that the ancient Greeks stayed fresh and clean despite the absence of modern shower systems.