We’ll try not to get too personal…
We’ve all been there. You’re doing your business, and you realize there’s no toilet paper. You start to panic, frantically searching your bathroom cabinets hoping to find even half a roll.
With a national TP shortage, this is a reality we’ll likely be dealing with for quite some time. But whether you’re thinking of stocking up with hundreds of rolls or rationing your sheets, there might be another solution.
What is a bidet?
Bidets direct water from a nozzle to your umm, “area” after you use the toilet. They’re popular in other parts of the world, like across Asia and Europe. But in the States, we’re only used to seeing them in fancy-schmancy hotel bathrooms or as an ironic joke in our favorite movies. Not anymore! Bidets are slowly gaining popularity throughout the U.S.
Bidets come in different configurations: permanent plumbing fixtures, built-in to the toilet, attached by a special toilet seat, and handheld sprayers. The attachable toilet seats and handheld sprayers are particularly popular, as they’re typically less expensive and they’re easier to install.
How do I use a bidet?
No, we’re not going to give you a full demonstration. (Had you a little worried, though, right?)
To make the most of your bidet, you’ll first need to:
- Familiarize yourself with the controls. Find the controls for temperature, spray intensity, and position of the nozzle or sprayer.
- Test the bidet on a less sensitive body part. Place your hand over the nozzle or sprayer, and test your bidet. Some have a rather powerful spray, so have a towel handy just in case you misjudge the angle.
- Give it the full-blown test when it’s convenient for you. Don’t try your new appliance before a big date or business presentation. Maybe change out of your fancy new jeans. Don’t expect to get things right the first time.
The most important thing to remember is to read the directions and be patient with your new friend.
What benefits do bidets offer?
We have to be honest: That is a headline we never anticipated writing. But as it turns out, bidets offer multiple benefits:
- You’ll use less TP. Less toilet paper usage means more money in your pocket and less waste down the toilet.
- It’s more hygienic. Washing yourself with water after the toilet can be a more hygienic way to do your business. The hands-free experience of some bidets can aid in toileting more cleanly.
- It’s better for mobility or other medical concerns. If you have a medical concern that’s irritated by the use of toilet paper, a gentle stream of water may be the answer to your prayers. And if you or a loved one has difficulty cleaning up due to limited mobility, a bidet will help you to reclaim your dignity.
What’s not so great about a bidet?
- Bidets are not a total replacement for toilet paper. Depending on the bidet, you may still need toilet paper to remove some waste before using your appliance. You may also choose to use TP to dry yourself, while others prefer a washable towel.
- It’s an extra expense. While you may save money in toilet paper in the long-run, you have to account for the up-front cost. Depending on your preferred model, a bidet can cost from $40 to $1,000!
- Your water bill might increase. Bidets obviously add some water to your flush.