No Toilet Paper, No Problem: Time for Americans to Embrace the Bidet?

April 2, 2020 Topic: Health Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: EconomyToilet PaperBidetCoronavirus

No Toilet Paper, No Problem: Time for Americans to Embrace the Bidet?

Could this work in the Coronavirus era? 

Amid the current health pandemic, the scene of customers looking utterly dumbfounded in empty toilet-paper aisles has become all too common.

Many ask, “What should I use if I can’t buy toilet paper?” Sure, there are the usual suggestions of other paper products, but they have been known to wreak havoc on sewer systems, and you as the perpetrator might have to foot that costly bill. That makes you shake in your boots.  

Another sensible option might be to go out and get yourself a bidet. However, as we all know, bidets don’t enjoy the best reputation here. They seem so alien to most Americans, and thus, have never really ever caught on.

Bidets, though, do have a long and distinguished history. The word “bidet” means “pony” or “tiny horse” in French, and the name serves as a playful instruction on how to use this bathroom fixture. They likely originated in the 1700s in France, where the cleaning of the nether regions was done more manually. As plumbing came into existence, new ways to clean were invented, such as utilizing a faucet-style spout or a pressurized jet.

If you ever choose to go the bidet route, know that you’ll be doing the environment a huge favor. For instance, the bidet only uses an eighth of a gallon of water per use, while 37 gallons are needed to make a single toilet paper roll. That’s indeed a lot of water considering that Americans use 34 million toilet paper rolls on a daily basis.

Moreover, the United States only accounts for just over 4 percent of the global population, but Americans consume 20 percent of the world’s toilet paper. The other mind-boggling stat is that 384 trees are eventually cut down to meet a single person’s lifetime toilet paper supply.

Want to save some of your hard-earned cash? Bidets could be the way to go. Americans on average spend between $40 and $70 per year on toilet paper. With the bidet, you’re basically only covering the cost of water and maybe some toilet paper usage if you choose to do so. Some experts claim that bidets can save 75 percent or more on toilet paper costs alone.

Don’t think that bidets are one size fits all, as there are indeed plenty to choose from. Some favorites include the TUSHY toilet attachment that will only set you back $79. These types of attachments, with some lesser-known brands coming in at around $20, can be the perfect sanitary addition to any existing toilet.

You can no doubt splurge and get yourself the Toto Washlet C200 for about $550. This work of art can mist your toilet bowl and features a heated seat, warm air dryer and automatic air deodorizer. And if you really want to reach for the stars, be sure to check out the $7,000 Kohler Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet, which boasts built-in surround sound speakers, ambient mood lighting and Amazon Alexa voice controls.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV.