The Bidet vs. Toilet Paper: Which is Better?
To wipe or to wash: that is the question.
If you live in somewhere outside of North America, the question has an obvious answer: wash - duh.
In this part of the globe, though, we love to wipe, and we feel pretty strongly that this is a much better option than the alternative.
So, what’s the deal? Is wiping really superior? Has the rest of the world just not caught on, yet? Or are we, as Americans, missing something that, like the metric system, the rest of the world just knows makes sense?
Let’s dive in and figure it out.
How the Rest of the World Gets Clean
America is one of the only countries on earth that relies heavily on toilet paper. There are a few good reasons for this.
One is that we can afford it. Most people in this country don’t think twice about grabbing the Costco-size package of bath tissue or picking up a few rolls at the store. This isn’t the case in many other parts of the globe.
The other reason is that we have the waste disposal systems to deal with all that toilet paper and make sure it doesn’t clog up our sewer systems.
If you’ve traveled globally, though, you’ll know that this particular bathroom habit doesn’t extend to the rest of the world. Head to Asia right now, for example, and you’ll find bidets in virtually every home, airport, public bathroom, baseball stadium, and train station.
In fact, 60% of modern Japanese households are outfitted with high-tech bidets right now. They’re nearly synonymous with existence in Asian countries, and for a good reason: people in these cultures believe sincerely that bidets are much more hygienic than toilet paper, and that using them offers a cleaner and more sanitary experience.
Are they right? Or does toilet paper really rule?
The Deal With Toilet Paper
Americans are familiar with toilet paper. We love toilet paper. Quilted, double-thickness, bargain brand - we love it all.
For most Americans, the idea of using the bathroom and not wiping clean with toilet paper is unthinkable. It seems barbaric, right? What most people never stop to wonder is whether all that toilet paper has a hidden cost.
Here’s what most U.S. paper-lovers don’t know:
Toilet Paper Production Consumes a Huge Amount of Water
Toilet paper is made from trees, and the material that comes from the trees needs to be bleached to give it that pearly whiteness we all know and love. This bleaching process, however, consumes about 473,587,500,000 gallons of water annually.
That’s not all, though: toilet paper production also gobbles up about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually, and countless more resources throughout the packaging, transportation, and delivery processes.
When you look at it this way, it’s clear that toilet paper production is no friend to our natural resources, and that the demand of Americans for their Downy soft tissue has a massive impact on the environment.
Toilet Paper Isn’t Good for Your Body... Like, at All
We know this might come as a shock, so you might want to take it sitting down: toilet paper isn’t great for your bum.
While Americans believe deeply that wiping with toilet paper is enough to remove bacteria from the nether regions, this might not actually be true. According to Doctors, toilet paper doesn’t actually clean very well, at all.
Not only does toilet paper do little to remove fecal bacteria, but aggressive wiping can also cause numerous health problems, including fissures and hemorrhoids.
Using a bidet, on the other hand, keeps you in the clear from many of these issues. In fact, bidets can help with or alleviate the following symptoms:
- Anal Fissures
- Rectal Prolapse
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
By reducing the irritation associated with wiping, bidets can help keep your bum healthier and happier, and prevent the creation or worsening of painful conditions.
Toilet Paper Destroys Trees
If you thought toilet paper was bad for water, just wait until you hear what it does to trees. Right now, the American population uses about 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper annually. Producing this devours about 15 million trees.
Are you still standing?
15 million trees is no joke, and thinking about literally flushing them down the toilet makes most people a bit ill. This is one of the reasons bidets are so popular.
Because bidets wash the bum with water and then dry it with a warm air dryer (A feature on most bidets, at least), they can help cut down on deforestation and leave our trees for the next generation.
In fact, installing a bidet means you can get rid of toilet paper altogether, or at least cut down on your use of it hugely.
Toilet Paper Clogs Pipes
Flushing toilet paper down the drain isn’t just bad for the forests - it’s also bad for the drains. Each year, cities around the country spend millions of dollars unclogging pipes and building wastewater treatment plants designed to remove particulate from the water.
Need an example?
Toilet Paper is Expensive
Sure, the U.S. is a wealthy country, but toilet paper is expensive! Right now, Americans spend a total of $6 billion on toilet paper annually.
While it might seem like a small expense in your household, you’d have some additional funds to allocate to other things, if you gave it up.
You’d also have cleaner pipes and less “dead tree” guilt.
The Bidet Vs. Toilet Paper: Which is Better?
Still wondering which option is better for your home? The obvious answer, of course, is the bidet.
In addition to being less wasteful and more healthful, bidets may actually save you money in the long-run. Sure, buying a bidet involves a startup cost, but it’ll pay for itself over the years, as you stop shelling out for toilet paper.
Here are a few of the other reasons a bidet, washlet, or bidet toilet seat is such a wise choice:
Bidets Waste Less Water
The average toilet uses about four gallons per flush, while the typical bidet only uses about 1/8th gallon. This represents a huge water savings, over time, and can go a long way toward decreasing your household’s water bill and making your place a bit more eco-friendly.
Bidets Reduce Risk for Your Bum
While pooping isn’t exactly an extreme sport, getting clean after the fact does have some health impacts.
When you use a bidet, you increase your personal cleanliness and reduce the risk of irritations and painful conditions, like rashes and hemorrhoids. Bidets can also cut down on the risk of communicable diseases, 80% of which are passed around when people fail to wash their hands after using the facilities.
When you go hands-free with your bathroom hygiene, it not only keeps you cleaner, but it can have a positive impact on the health of everyone around you, as well.
Bidets Make the Bathroom Fun
Does your bathroom feel like a spa or a horrible place you have to be?
If you’re in the latter bucket, installing a bidet is a great way to elevate the experience a bit. Boasting features like heated seats, warm air dryers, LED lights, and Bluetooth speakers, modern bidet toilet seats are a luxurious addition to any bathroom.
Scared off by their purchase price? Don’t be. Investing in a bidet is a one-time cost, and it’ll offer years of comfort, luxury, and hygiene in return.
Are Bidets Easy to Use?
If you’ve ever seen Crocodile Dundee, you’ll recognize the clip above. In an upscale hotel, our friend Dundee finds himself face-to-face with a bidet and, not surprisingly, he doesn’t know what the heck to do with it. Eventually, he figures it out: “For washing your backside, right?”
Don’t worry, though, Crocodile Dundee makes the bidet look quite a bit more complex than it is. Today, bidets are commonly built into toilet seats, making what is commonly known as a bidet toilet seat. These seats replace your existing toilet seat and offer the functionality of a bidet, without requiring you to install a freestanding unit. They’re easy to use and not at all difficult to figure out.
Most are controlled by a side-arm panel or remote and are easy to customize and adjust to your liking.
Get a Bidet - It’s Better Than Toilet Paper
In the bidet vs. toilet paper debate, the bidet wins hands-down. Not only is it quite a bit sexier than toilet paper, but it has far-reaching health and wellness impacts that can make a major difference for your entire family. Install one in your bathroom to decrease bacteria on your bum and your hands, reduce irritation and discomfort and save resources.
Ready to drop into your very first bidet? Check out the selection in our online store, or give our team of bidet geniuses a call. They’ll be happy to help you find exactly what you need.