This paper redresses a gap in the study of travel literature. It explores a geographical area—Sweden—that has received little scholarly attention, particularly during the period that the paper focuses on; the interwar years. The paper uses ideas of dirt and cleanliness to examine tourist constructions of difference between themselves and other people, as well as to conceptualize modernity. Cleanliness and dirt are themes that have been much discussed in contexts of colonial discourse, but their meanings and functions in a non-colonial setting have not been adequately explored. This paper argues that tourist perceptions of cleanliness and dirt can be used to mediate modernity, race, and the authenticity of cultural experiences.