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Turkish use of cologne

I just read a short article in the April 11-17 Economist about Turkish practice of using cologne as a sanitizer. According to the article Turks have historically been germophobes, with a very high rate of handwashing, and big users of cologne (kolonya), as a sanitizer. It says that it has been common custom to sprinkle guests with it, and in other public situations. Anybody experience this? As part of the COVID response, the government is guaranteeing availability at normal prices. I can't provide a link as I only have paper copy.

Posted by
6712 posts

Yes, it's true. I experienced this on a bus in Turkey. They love spraying the stuff.

Posted by
11 posts

I travelled all over Turkey by bus many years ago - overnight buses sometimes- at frequent intervals someone came down the bus with a bottle of cologne, and every passenger cupped their hands and had a few drops shaken onto their skin. I always thought it was just to refresh us - I never thought about it being a hand sanitizer.

Posted by
2914 posts

Rick's Travel News forum had an article about this last week and gives an informative look at its history :. http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20200407-turkeys-unique-hand-sanitiser

From what I read, kolonya in Turkey is not used as a personal scent ( like western eau de cologne) , but rather used on the hands. And with its high alcohol content, would be at least as effective as our hand sanitizer.

Posted by
7467 posts

using cologne as a sanitizer.

Only if it has a high enough alcohol content. ( 60% or more)

Posted by
89 posts

Yes! It is true (my Mother is Turkish, and Turkish people are always using cologne like this). Actually, the Turkish government sent around packets of information and supplies to everyone older than 65 recently, with masks and cologne. But, my friends tell me it is sometimes hard to find now: Turkey's version of toilet paper or yeast...

Posted by
137 posts

Kolonya in Turkey is 80% ethyl alcohol and does kill any virus, including Coronavirus. Kolonya has been used for sanitizing hands in Turkey since the late 1800s. It is not worn as a cologne/perfume. It is for sanitizing hands. Kolonya is almost always lemon flower scent, to make it pleasant to smell on the hands.

Posted by
865 posts

My son has been using Bogazici Lemon Cologne Turkish Parfum since we got back from our RS tour of Turkey. Taylan, our guide, always had a bottle for us on the bus. It is refreshing and smells good too.

Posted by
89 posts

Hmm, Michelle, I would say kolonya it is part-way between ,perfume‘ and ‚sanitizer‘, at least in my circles. The really standard lemon-smelling one is used most often as part of greeting guests (I associate it with my grandmother). But it is on a continuum with other types of kolonya, that are more like perfume. That is part of what we think is funny about it selling out in stores--it is all types that are selling out, not just the ones that people usually use in this way.

Posted by
13 posts

I lived in the Middle East for four years, and scents are highly valued by both sexes. The restrooms on Saudia airplanes for instance have copious free colognes. Being a westerner I feel that scents are best applied sparingly for those with whom one is intimate, so I find highly flavored people a bit offensive to my olfactory sense. I can add that in Oman in the 1990s we would often find large, empty bottles of cheap cologne on the beach. I remember one in particular: "Football Man." Kids would buy it to drink and catch a buzz.