Bravo to those with the space to install a second feature to their bathrooms — much less the cash for buying and installing one. For those who look at the prospect and groan, consider the bidet attachments that fit between the toilet seat and the porcelain throne. Not luxurious by any stretch but the cost for the one I purchased last year [https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00A0RHSJO/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1] is on sale for $60. Installation is fairly easy for a home handyman. Not elegant but the spray of water does the job.
It took a pandemic, but the US is finally discovering the bidet’s brilliance
The stress hoarding is forcing Americans low on toilet paper and ‘bidet curious’ to finally purchase one – and to some, it’s even a pandemic lifehack
Tue 14 Apr 2020 10.30 EDTLast modified on Thu 16 Apr 2020 08.51 EDT
I had been “bidet curious” for years. But it wasn’t until my husband sent me a photo of the ransacked paper products aisle at the supermarket that I finally decided to take the plunge.
Cleaning yourself with water just makes sense to me. If I step in dog poo, I wash my shoes off with water. Bidets are also a lot gentler on your nether regions than toilet paper. You still use a little paper, but much less – a reduction of as much as 80%, according to one bidet purveyor.
A couple of days later, I got a text from a friend running low on toilet paper. I told her about my recent bidet purchase. Minutes later she messaged me again: the company I suggested was backordered through the end of the month.
It seems that America, too, has discovered the bidet.
In the first week of March, “we saw sales starting to double what they had been the month prior”, said Jason Ojalvo, CEO of Tushy, a bidet company founded in 2015. “Then two days later they were triple what they usually are, and then suddenly it was 10 times what normal sales are. A few days later it peaked at a million-dollar sales per day.”
Owing to shelter-in-place restrictions across the country, families need more toilet paper at home. While previously they used the bathroom at work, school and restaurants, they are now going at home. The type of toilet paper in short supply are luxury brands – double-ply and made of virgin fiber – as opposed to the single-ply recycled paper that businesses tend to use.
Rather than chasing rumors of where toilet paper was last seen on shelves, some millennials see purchasing a bidet as a kind of pandemic lifehack. Kaitlyn Braswell, a management analyst in Chicago who ordered hers a few days ago, is looking forward to what she describes as a new level of cleanliness. She only wishes she had ordered it sooner – it’s expected to ship in mid-May.
In Italy, where bidets are in every household, the American rush for toilet paper remains a mystery. It’s completely unthinkable that Italian bathrooms would be without such an essential piece of equipment. As far back as 1975, a hygiene law stated: “For each accommodation, at least one bathroom must be equipped with the following sanitary facilities: toilet, bidet, bath or shower, washbasin.”
America’s disdain for bidets has no clear basis. Douching was once thought to be a kind of birth control, and in 1936 an onlooker suggested that “the presence of a bidet is regarded as almost a symbol of sin”, according to the Atlantic. One convoluted theoryholds that American soldiers in Europe during the second world war visited French brothels and saw the basins, which they instantly associated with prostitution.
Today the stress hoarding of toilet paper has become exactly the incentive that many people needed to make a decision they may have been mulling for years.
For Brandon Krajewski, a film-maker living in Los Angeles, a combination of the rumored paper shortage and Tushy’s marketing convinced him to wash instead of wipe.
Once we saw all the toilet paper flying off the shelves, we realized we could reduce our costs and paper wasteBrandon Krajewski
“We had a bidet experience several months prior while staying at an Airbnb and liked it. Once we saw all the toilet paper flying off the shelves, we realized we could reduce our costs and paper waste.”
Tushy isn’t the only bidet brand seeing an incredible spike in sales. Business Insider has reported that Brondell is “selling a bidet on Amazon every two minutes, or about 1,000 units per day”. The demand for some of the bidet attachments that Hygiene for Health sells has doubled over the last two weeks.
The timing could be a boon for the environment. Trees are a carbon sink, and a (controversial) study published last year claimed the world has the capacity for at least another trillion trees, which could mitigate climate change.
If Americans gave up toilet paper, they could keep 15m trees from being turned into pulp every year. Instead of deforesting Canada’s boreal forest, one of the largest carbon stores on the planet would be preserved.
Bidets can, surprisingly, also help conserve water. Manufacturing one roll of toilet paper requires 37 gallons of water, Scientific American has reported. Some bidets, by comparison, use one-eighth of a gallon a flush.Also contributing to toilet paper’s carbon footprint are the hundreds of thousands of tons of chlorine required to make toilet paper white, the energy required in the manufacturing process, the single-use plastic that it gets packaged in, and the fuel for shipping .
Now quarantined at his house in Madison, Wisconsin, Josh Faulkes, manager of the Wisconsin Society of Cytology, said the pandemic has changed the bidet from a fantasy item to a necessity.
“This situation moved the product from a ‘one of these days’ luxury item to a more practical purchase, up there with replacing our back door and changing our tires.”
Though he views ownership of a bidet as entirely practical, Faulkes is actually splashing out and getting one with warm water, a heated toilet seat and a warm air dryer.
“It’s actually a birthday present,” Faulkes confessed. For himself.