Why Are Bidets Not a Thing in the US

The United States is one of the only countries where using toilet paper instead of water after using the restroom is the standard practice. In most countries including Japan and most of the Middle East, the most common method is to use water. This has been done for thousands of years with excellent results compared to using paper. The bidet was invented by the French and never adopted by the English - one theory as to why it has never become popular in the US. But there is a growing movement to bring the bidet to homes across the country.

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We brought many of the practices learned from our English ancestors over. A significant factor could have been that the English rejected the lifestyles of the French and a primary reason they decided to voyage to the United States was that of their puritanical beliefs. These included the distaste for coming in contact with one’s genitals; hence the “paper barrier” used to wipe. This is the most comfortable way to clean oneself outside of the shower, and since most Americans were taught this from a very young age, it can be a hard thing to change. But there are many potential benefits to rethinking this long-standing process. 

The bidet has evolved. I am pretty sure that in some parts of the world or maybe in some bathrooms, there was just a bucket of water and you used your hands to splash the water on your nether regions. This is probably something that is pretty hard to wrap your mind around, understandably, but there are now several options to choose from that I think sound much less intimidating. 

Installing a bidet used to be not only an expensive option for us living in the US, as our existing bathrooms are not properly plumbed for them. Now it is possible to install a bidet system with your existing plumbing and toilet for as little as $25! You can install a toilet seat that has a bidet installed or install one on your already existing toilet. There are also options for a hand sprayer and a heated seat option! You can get as fancy as you want and limited only by your resources. When we sufficiently educate ourselves on the benefits of this ancient practice then hopefully it will become more popular here. 

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Toilet paper wastes a colossal amount of our resources. One estimate shows that the average American uses 49 rolls per year. The current US population is 323.1 million. The average roll of double-ply toilet papers is 500 sheets, 2 sheets thick each measuring 3.7 inches per sheet. This is approximately 2.86 miles for each American and nearly 925,000,000 miles of toilet paper used each year. At 8 oz. each, that is more than 7.9 billion bounds of toilet paper used in the US annually. At an average cost of $2 per roll, each American spends just under $100 a year, costing the country $31.66 billion. (That is enough toilet paper to go 27 times from the Earth to Mars or just over halfway to Uranus.) Here is an article titled, "How Toilet Paper is Made - Basic Overview" from Industrial Shredders Resources. 

In the US we spend billions of dollars a year not only on the product but on fixing the problems that are using it causes. I, myself have become increasingly dissatisfied with the results of using this product. I believe that many Americans are having the same issue. 

The result has been an increase in the use of products like baby wipes to get the job done sufficiently, these products are not only terrible for the environment but can cause severe plumbing problems when flushed down a traditional American toilet. Along with the cost, cleanliness and environmental benefits of using water to cleanse there are also significant health benefits to doing so. 

People suffering from the following ailments can benefit significantly from the use of a bidet:
Hemorrhoids
Rash
Arthritis
Hand and Wrist Injury
Low-Mobility
Urinary Tract Infections

There are also significant benefits to women who are menstruating, and there are some products that have dual sprayer units with a feminine hygiene setting. New and expecting mothers can also use this setting to get the cleanliness and comfort of a clean water wash. 

Everyone may not agree with me, but now that we are aware these benefits I hope to see this practice become more popular here in the US and the UK. 

 

by: Lori Williams