How exactly bidets offer a healthier, green option for your bathroom

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You may have heard that bidets are an environmentally friendly option for your bathroom but you may not really understand why. You may have also heard that bidets are a better choice for your health, and again, you may be puzzled as to why.  Or perhaps this is the first time you’re hearing either of these things about bidets. Either way, this article should help you understand why using a bidet is both a healthier option for you and a greener option for our planet.

Since we were children, the importance of hygiene has been drilled into us. We were all taught to brush our teeth twice a day, to bathe regularly, and to wash our hands often – particularly after using the restroom. We were also all taught how to wipe ourselves, and young girls were taught the importance of wiping from front to back.  But in the United States, we lag behind the rest of the world in one important area of bathroom hygiene: the use of bidets. Bidets are a more sanitary way to clean ourselves after using the restroom, yet few Americans grow up knowing anything about them. 

It is unclear why Americans are so far behind the rest of the world in knowledge of and use of bidets. From Asia to the Middle East, bidets are commonplace. In Italy, the Italian Health Department found bidets so essential to hygiene, they enacted a country-wide law in 1975 requiring each household to have at least one bidet. In Japan, you can find bidets in most public restrooms. So what’s going on in the United States?

In short: Americans have mistaken notions about bidets. Americans think bidets are bowls you squat over that sit next to your toilet. They’re not. Modern bidets, like the Brondell Swash 1400, are basically high-end toilet seats that replace your current toilet seat. Worse, most Americans think using a bidet is messier than wiping. FALSE! This is like thinking you should only brush your teeth every other day. The truth is, wiping is not only messier, it is a riskier health option. 

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Let’s discuss the mess first. 

When you wipe yourself, you are quite literally rubbing crud around on your bottom with dry paper. Think about this: what would you do if you stepped in dog doo doo? Would you wipe it off with a napkin? Or wash your shoe with a hose? If you were changing a diaper and the baby’s waste got on your arm, would you wipe it with a paper towel, or wash it in the sink? Time and again, you will answer that if waste got on any other part of your body or clothing, you would use water to clean it. Yet somehow, when it comes to our rear ends, Americans have decided using dry paper to clean is good enough. It is a clear gap in logic.

Health-wise, when you wipe your bottom with toilet paper, you are exposing your hand and fingers to potential contact with waste. This is a problem because hand-to-waste contact is the number one health problem related to using the restroom.

When you use a bidet, your hands can sit in your lap while the bidet nozzle cleans you with a steady stream of water, so that potential point of hand-to-waste contact is eliminated. Furthermore, when the bidet nozzle washes away your waste, you reduce your chance of getting UTI’s (women) or bacterial prostatitis (men).

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Both of those conditions are brought on by leftover E.coli bacteria from your waste sitting and stewing in your sensitive areas. All this together means that using a bidet reduces your risk of touching waste and contaminating your surroundings with it, and it keeps your sensitive areas E.coli-free, which reduces potential doctor visits. 

In terms of a bidet’s environmental impact

Bidets, such as the TOTO S550e,  are less harmful to our planet than toilet paper. A Google search on how much toilet paper the average American household uses will admittedly return varying numbers. The numbers vary based on factors like how many people are included in a typical American household, type of toilet paper, and amount of time households spend at home versus work. For the sake of argument, it is feasible that a household of two or three people consumes approximately 400 rolls of toilet paper. Per year! Now multiply that by the over 100 million households in America, and it is easy to see why the United States of America is the top consumer of toilet paper in the world.*

The problem with Americans’ shockingly high consumption of toilet paper is a large number of trees we need to chop down to make it: roughly 27,000 per day.* It’s hard to visualize just how many trees that is, so hopefully this will help: picture Central Park in New York City. That park has about 20,000 trees in it.* So when we talk about cutting down 27,000 trees per day to make toilet paper, that is equivalent to wiping out (more than) all the trees in Central Park. Every day. Just to make toilet paper – a product we are literally going to flush down the toilet after a single-use. Even someone who cares little about the environment has to admit that wiping out that many trees, every day, just to flush it straight down the toilet is wasteful.

Now that you’re more informed about bidets, please help spread the word. Millions of trees could be saved and your health could be improved, all by making a switch that the rest of the world made decades ago. Do your part today and buy a bidet. 

Sophie Turner
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