Apparently Klingons, or at least Worf, hate to bathe. Does this mean that Worf stinks to high heaven? Or do Klingons consider using the sonic shower/washing at the sink to be acceptable, whereas literal bathing in a tub is not?

  • 13
    Citation needed for Worf hating to bathe.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 22:56
  • 12
    Perhaps "hate" is too strong a word. I believe it's the episode where the Enterprise is heading to Pacifica, when someone asks Worf if he likes to swim. Worf shakes his head with a frown, saying, "It's too much like bathing."
    – user30592
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 22:58
  • 6
    My Klingon has no nose.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 6:10
  • 3
    Torres says that she prefers the sonic shower
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 6:12
  • 4
    @Rocket - Either that or she likes smelly men.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 9:12

3 Answers 3


Klingons do appear to possess an odour that some humans and aliens find offensive.

  • In DS9: Trials and Tribble-ations, Darvin (unaware that Worf is Klingon) describes them as:

    "foul-smelling barbarians"

    Bashir and O'Brien defend him by reassuring him that he doesn't smell bad:

    O'BRIEN : Don't take it personally, Worf.
    BASHIR : I rather like the way you smell.
    O'BRIEN : Kind of a... peaty, earthy aroma.
    BASHIR : With just a touch of lilac.

  • Soren certainly seems to finds lursa's breath quite unpleasant in 'Generations'

    enter image description here

    The novelisation describes it in more detail :

    The aging ship groaned and shuddered unceasingly -- and stunk of warm, wet animal, making him long for the pristine, silent corridors of the Enterprise...Klingons turning to regard him, his upper lip twitched faintly. They smelled the same as the ship; and though Soran had always believed himself an unprejudiced man, this particular species tested his limits.

  • In Voyager : Prophecy, again they're described as having an earthy musk.

    NEELIX: Well, I've been studying the Klingon database. They're a fascinating people, very robust. And they certainly seem to appreciate my culinary skills.

    JANEWAY: Looks like everything's running smoothly.

    NEELIX: Ah, not quite everything. some of the Starfleet people have been complaining about the smell. Personally, I find it appealing. A kind of a musky aroma.

    JANEWAY: Maybe we can adjust the environmental controls to filter out the musk.

  • Yeoman Burke also thinks they smell bad in 'The Undiscovered Country'

    CREWMAN #1: They all look alike.

    CREWMAN #2: What about that smell? You know only the top of the line models can even talk and...

  • Their ships are also pretty unpleasant smelling, at least according to McCoy in 'The Voyage Home'

    McCOY: You'd think they could at least send a ship. It's bad enough to be court marshalled and spend the rest of our lives mining borite, ...but to go home in this Klingon flea trap...

    KIRK: We could learn a thing or two from this flea trap. It's got a cloaking device that cost us a lot.

    McCOY: I just wish we could cloak the stench.

  • 9
    Most of these examples (excepting the DS9) are people insulting Klingons. It's more likely that they, as a species, have a notable (and possibly mildly unpleasant) natural scent. Saying they smell bad is an easy insult to use, and one that anyone (even redshirts) can come up with on their own.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 23:47
  • 4
    @Jeff - I've added a quote from the Generations novel and a quote from Voyager that seem pretty unbiased.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 23:59
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    @user14111 As far as I recall, in the Enterprise episode 1x07, "The Andorian Incident", where the away team of the Enterprise is trapped inside a Vulcan monastery, the smell of humans and the use of odor blockers (for T'Pol) is mentioned.
    – Carsten
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 1:50
  • 3
    In addition, there is a really, really, really awful TOS novel I read years ago, where the crew are stuck on a ship with aliens who have a reputation for being the ugliest, smelliest species in existence. They go around wearing head-to-toe coverings and masking their scent. It doesn't work entirely, but as it turns out, it allows the Enterprise crew to form a sort of immunity to their sight/smell (stereotypically including, gott help me, flirtation from Kirk with their captain) which allows Kirk to pull a "They're...just like US...underneath!" speech at the end to save the day.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 4:22
  • The DS9 example is IMHO clearly a bad example. Darvin was secretly Klingon, and obviously just playing up a stereotype (side note: Saying he was "unaware that Worf is Klingon" sounds really weird. Did the ridges not give it away?). Bashir and O'Brien later mention to Dax that the "hint of lilac" line was a joke at Worf's expense, which quite possibly extends to the whole exchange.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 4:40

We have known from the very first season that Worf hates baths. In Conspiracy, there is an exchange of dialogue that goes as such:

TROI: Data, it's just not the same. Have you ever been for a real moonlight swim?

DATA: One can swim in moonlight?

TROI: How about you, Mister Worf?

WORF: Swimming is too much like... bathing.

So we can infer from this line of dialogue that yes, Worf does stink.

  • 9
    Quite the inferential leap. Just because Work may dislike bathing (water immersion ?) he may still do so out of social deference. Or maybe Worf prefers showers which avoid bodily immersion and could even be waterless (think sonic showers).
    – Stan
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 23:50
  • 6
    I don't think it follows that because an alien doesn't like (water) showers, that they smell bad to humans, especially when sonic showers exist.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 9:11

I don't think Starfleet would allow its officers to run around a Starship unbathed. Also Picard would almost certainly not tolerate such a practice.
But it does appear as if Worf isn't fond of bathing. Maybe not bathing for long periods of time is some kind of Klingon test of "manhood".

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