Bidets Gain Popularity in North America - Is the Hype Worth it?
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
Walk into any bathroom in Europe, Japan, or South America, and chances are you’ll notice something a little different than the standard toilet setup you’re accustomed to in the USA. You might notice a squat basin that sits on the floor next to the toilet, or maybe a spout that comes out from under the toilet seat with a bunch of buttons on the side… What is that and what does it do?!
A bidet is an appliance that uses water to improve hygiene “down there” in between showers without having to use wet wipes or a lot of extra toilet paper. They were just about nonexistent throughout the United States for most of our history, but 2020 has proven that nothing we take for granted is ever set in stone! After toilet paper shortages impacted almost every grocery store in the country, bidet sales started to skyrocket. When millions of Americans were no longer sure if they could get their hands on a steady supply of toilet paper, they started searching for another option. Although most people sought them out of necessity, the bidet is starting to take off stateside, and people are starting to wonder how they ever lived without one.
Bidets are a popular bathroom appliance in many cultures around the world, but the United States has always deviated from the norm. From the metric system, to putting ice cubes in all of our beverages, to writing the month before the date when we take notes, America takes pride in doing things a little differently. Our hygiene habits followed suit for generations. Some historians believe that Americans were reluctant to adopt the bidet because they associated it with sexual promiscuity in Europe. As sociologist Harvey Molotch stated about the disdain for the appliance in a country that has successfully marketed just about everything, “Bidets have had such difficulty... Even all the power of capitalism can’t break the taboo.”
So, maybe it took the irrational fear of never seeing a roll of Charmin again to push Americans towards the bidet, but now that we’re here, we might as well learn more about them!
Bidets are especially helpful for folks who struggle with accessibility. Elderly people, or those with physical disabilities that make it difficult for them to use the bathroom unassisted may find that bidets allow them to reclaim their autonomy and privacy. They are also rumored to help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, postpartum healing complications, and hemorrhoids! Besides their utilitarian benefits for people, bidets also help slash the waste associated with toilet paper production. Toilet paper production uses at least 473,587,500,000 gallons of water, and a whopping 17,000,000,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity each year! That’s enough power to light up two million homes, according to the EPA. So, not only does a bidet help you stay cleaner - it can help clean up the planet.
Whether or not a bidet lives up to the hype is really up to the individual. If you feel a bidet could help improve your life, it’s worth a try. Aqua Wolf Plumbing offers full-service bidet installation, so you may never have to lift a finger in the bathroom again!