Could Bidets Finally Gain Popularity in the US?

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Recent sales suggest that bidets may finally become a common sight in American bathrooms. Chokkicx/Getty Images

The case for bidets can be made in various ways.

Firstly, there is the ecological argument. By using bidets instead of toilet paper, Americans could save up to 15 million trees annually, according to some estimates.

Secondly, bidets can be beneficial for personal hygiene. “People who use bidets are much less likely to have issues with rashes and discomfort and irritation,” says Alan Kamrava, a colorectal and general surgeon in California. It is common for people to experience discomfort in the anal area due to the use of wet wipes and toilet paper.

Lastly, the economic angle shows that bidets could benefit the American economy, considering the amount of trees saved and the manufacturing process for toilet paper.

However, Americans still tend to approach the topic of bidets with immaturity, considering them taboo or embarrassing to discuss. Bidet, for example, is the French word for a small horse, which has led to some childish jokes.


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Bill Strang, the president of operations and e-commerce at TOTO USA, the US arm of the world’s biggest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings, acknowledges that the company’s biggest challenge is to introduce bidets to the American market without being intrusive or inappropriate. TOTO, based in Japan, generates over $5bn a year selling bathroom essentials and increasingly, bidets and bidet seats all over the world, including in the US.

Bidets have long been popular in Japan, Europe and many other parts of the world. The bidet looks similar to a squatting toilet, without a seat, and delivers a stream of water to clean the user’s posterior after using the bathroom. Bidet seats have a small part of the bidet that is attached to a toilet seat and hooked up to the bathroom’s water supply. Some models include air-dry features, while others can heat the water. You can purchase a bidet seat for as little as $69 or spend over $1,000 on the fanciest models. A modern bidet with a “smart” toilet can cost upwards of $10,000.

Bidets and bidet seats may seem like a luxury item with high price tags, but the idea of a wet wash is actually more hygienic than a dry one. Despite this, many people are hesitant to talk about such a personal topic. However, bidet sales have been increasing, with some companies reporting a 40% rise in sales each quarter. Millennials are trying out bidets for environmental reasons, while aging baby boomers are interested in the health benefits of going virtually wipe-less. Japan is a nation that boasts more bidets than microwave ovens, with over 76% of households owning bidet seats. As Americans become more aware of the benefits of bidets, they may become as popular in the US as they are in Japan.

FAQ

1. What is a bidet and how does it work?

A bidet is a bathroom fixture that resembles a toilet but is used for cleaning oneself after using the toilet. It typically features a small bowl and a faucet, which sprays water to clean the genital and anal areas. Some bidets also have a drying feature or a small towel nearby for drying off.

2. Why has the bidet not caught on in America?

There are a few reasons why bidets have not caught on in America. First, many Americans may not be familiar with the concept and may be hesitant to try something new. Second, bidets are often associated with European or Asian cultures, which may make some Americans feel uncomfortable or out of place. Finally, bidets can be expensive to install and may require additional plumbing, which could deter some homeowners.

3. Are bidets more hygienic than toilet paper?

Yes, bidets are generally considered more hygienic than toilet paper. Toilet paper can leave behind residue and bacteria, while bidets use water to clean thoroughly. Additionally, bidets can be more gentle on the skin and may help prevent irritation or infections.

4. What are the environmental benefits of using a bidet?

Using a bidet can have significant environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of toilet paper used, which can help save trees and reduce waste in landfills. Additionally, bidets use less water than toilets and can help conserve water resources.

5. Are bidets only used for personal hygiene?

No, bidets can also be used for other purposes, such as cleaning small items or surfaces. Some bidets even have a feature for cleaning a baby’s bottom, which can be helpful for parents.

6. Are bidets difficult to install?

Installing a bidet can be more complicated than installing a toilet, as it requires additional plumbing. However, many modern bidets are designed to be easy to install and can be done by a professional plumber or a handy homeowner. Some bidets even come as attachments that can be added to an existing toilet.

7. How much does a bidet cost?

The cost of a bidet can vary depending on the type and features. Basic bidet attachments can cost as little as $30, while high-end bidet toilet seats can cost several hundred dollars. Additionally, installation costs should be factored in, as professional installation can cost several hundred dollars.

8. Are bidets becoming more popular in America?

Yes, bidets are becoming more popular in America. As people become more concerned about hygiene and environmental sustainability, bidets are becoming a more attractive option. Additionally, many newer models are designed to be more user-friendly and affordable, which could help increase their popularity in the future.

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