It’s time to embrace the bidet
Okay, not literally. But you know what we mean
If you’ve ever travelled overseas you’ll have noticed what seems to North American eyes to be an odd addition to the bathroom: a bidet. While bidets are common across South America, the Middle East, parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe (in fact, many European building codes mandate their installation in bathrooms), they just never seem to catch on here in Canada and the U.S.
Covid-19, aka Coronavirus, may just change that. One of the first noticeable impacts of Covid-19 spreading to new areas was a wave of toilet paper hoarding just ahead of its arrival. While here at home, most of us were infuriated by images of shoppers with six months’ or more supply of bog roll stacked in the shopping carts, people around the world were likely more perplexed by the idea of people stocking up on what’s essentially a non-essential item.
Wiping your butt with toilet paper is not the norm.
Around the world, most people cleanse themselves using water, often using either a small jug of water (known in Muslim countries as a “lota”) or a hand-held spray nozzle attached the bathroom wall.
Modern bidets combine the comfort and familiarity of using a toilet, with the hygienic and environmentally friendly advantages of using water to wash instead of toilet paper.
There are two basic types of bidet. One is an oval shaped basin that the user straddles, then fills with water from the built-in faucet. (Yes, this involves some hands-on action.) The other style has a nozzle that squirts a jet of water onto the user’s nether regions.
High-end bidets including heated seats, adjustable water temperature, multiple self-cleaning spray nozzles, and warm-air dryers. Really high-end models include automated lids and lights, music streaming, and voice activation features.
There are also aftermarket replacement seats that convert a conventional toilet in a bidet. These connect to the cold-water supply feeding the tank.
Regardless of style, rinsing with water is far more hygienic than dry wiping with paper. Plus, consider the financial and environmental costs of creating a product that you’ll literally flush down the toilet moments after using it.
So, all you plumbers and bathroom renovators out there trying to figure out what comes next: build your business around bidets.