Many Americans associate bidets with France, but the truth is: bidets have been a popular bathroom fixture in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and many European countries for almost a century. In fact, Italy enacted an actual law on July 5th, 1975 mandating that at least one bathroom in every household include a bidet. Yet here in the United States, we have largely eschewed these ultra-hygienic cleaning machines, either due to cluelessness or embarrassment. Maybe both. That is… until March of 2020.
Just before the vernal equinox, Coronavirus started spiraling out of control in the United States, making the prophecy to “beware the Ides of March” eerily relevant. As the first lockdowns were enacted across the nation, Americans began panic-buying toilet paper. Why? To this day, nobody really knows. It’s not like the virus is #1 or #2-related. Plus, hoarding mountains of toilet paper did nothing – and does nothing – to reduce the spread of Covid. Further, the nation was not, and is still not, facing a toilet paper shortage. Some people argued that being home full-time meant more toilet use, hence more need for toilet paper. But c’mon, not that much more! Alas, the mystery of our toilet paper hoarding behavior during Covid will never be unraveled – unless the creators of HBO’s new Perry Mason take it on as a plotline for Season 2?? The “bottom” line (no pun intended) is: it happened. And suddenly, many Americans found themselves unable to sniff a roll of toilet paper.
Luckily, Americans are resourceful. We’re also unwilling to have soiled bums. And since using leaves to wipe felt a little too “Bear Grylls” for most people, Americans began re-investigating our relationship with bidets. Owning a modern electric bidet, of course, would mean people would have either no need, or a very reduced need, for toilet paper. Plus, as Americans started doing their research, we caught on to what the rest of the world already knows: washing is better than wiping! Not only is using a bidet the most hygienic way to clean oneself after using the toilet, it is also far better for the environment than using wads of toilet paper!
In case you haven’t spent hours researching bidets yet, here are a few key facts to bring you up to speed on why bidet sales absolutely skyrocketed in the U.S. starting in March. First, let’s talk about hygiene. As an illustration the Bio Bidet BB 2000 Bliss bidets are far more effective at eliminating bacteria from our sensitive regions than using dry toilet paper. Bidets literally wash away bacteria. Women: if you check out urinary tract infections on Mayoclinic.org, you’ll learn that the majority of UTI’s are caused by e.coli bacteria, which a bidet is adept at washing away. Men: left-behind bacteria can cause bacterial prostatitis and/or cause you to have colorectal issues. Again, bidet-use rinses away those issues. A further bonus: bidets are a comfort to new moms. As any woman who recently gave birth can attest to: a bidet cleaning with soft, warm water is a far gentler way to sanitize yourself down below than the friction caused by scratchy, dry toilet paper. Bye-bye hemorrhoids!
Second, let’s talk the environment. According to an article published on Today.com, the average American household of 2.6 people uses 409 small-sized rolls of toilet paper per year. Side note, I’m not sure how average your household is if you have 0.6 of a person living there, but we’ll put that aside for now. If you do the math, that works out to mean that one person may be using approximately 153 small-sized rolls of toilet paper per year. When you consider that it takes one tree to make 200 rolls of toilet paper, Americans’ rear-end-wiping-habits are killing a sizable number of trees. Conversely, using a bidet saves a sizable number of trees. Further, bidets also reduce energy consumption and save water. While it’s true that bidet accessories like heaters and dryers do consume electricity, it’s a minimal amount compared to the amount of energy that goes into making toilet paper. Plus, you could always elect an eco-friendly bidet that doesn’t offer electricity-consuming bells and whistles. Best of all, water-wise, bidets use a fraction of the amount of water that it takes to make toilet paper. Did you know it takes about 255 million gallons of water to create the 34 million rolls of TP Americans use on a daily basis? You can’t wipe that fact away!
All in all, bidets are well worth the investment. And because bidets use water to wash you, they are cleaner and more hygienic. We all take showers to wash our bodies so why not use water to wash your bottom? It’s intuitive really, but Americans have been trained to use toilet paper since childhood so it is an adjustment to something new. And in buying one, we’re helping to protect our health and helping to protect the health of our planet. This is why when Americans started realizing that in March, bidet sales started soaring.
Brondell, Inc. is a popular bidet toilet seat manufacturer located in San Francisco, CA that manufactures bidets like the Brondell Swash 1400. Their communications director, Daniel Lalley, spoke with the LA Times, and told them their sales had increased by roughly 300% since Covid started. He said: “In the midst of this unprecedented toilet paper run, we’re really grateful for the opportunity to provide those who need them with smart solutions for toilet paper replacement. For the last 16 years, we’ve been passionate about educating the public on the environmental and cost benefits of switching from toilet paper to cleaner bidet alternatives.” He went on to say that Brondell has no shortage of bidets and he doesn’t foresee one either.
Don’t be afraid to make the switch. Remember, investing in a quality bidet means the next time American faces a nationwide run on toilet paper, you – and your rear end – will be home “Scott” free. (Get it?! Scott brand toilet paper!)
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