For the last few months, bidets, washers, and sprayers have shown an unprecedented rise in popularity. Due to the coronavirus and the subsequent toilet paper buying panic, people have started looking into bidets, washlets, and sprayers as alternative solutions. However, the surge in their popularity might continue even after the pandemic, owing to their hygienic benefits, their reduced impact on the environment, as well as personal finance.
In this article, we will explain the difference between bidets, washlets, and sprayers and all the aspects of their use that, according to many, make them the superior solution to toilet paper.
They are superior when it comes to hygiene
As people all over the world have become more aware of their hygienic habits during the pandemic, the interest in bidets and washlets has grown practically tenfold. It is not only about the toilet paper shortage concerns that people have. They are also concerned about fecal bacteria and viral particles getting in contact with their hands, so bidets have turned up as a logical solution. As people wash their hands to reduce the risk of infection, it is good to know, before washing them, that one’s hands are also cleaner to begin with. And as practically anyone who has switched to a bidet can testify, in terms of hygiene, a bidet or a washlet feels superior to using toilet paper.
Another health concern that is connected to toilet paper is the chemicals and fragrances that many of them contain. In that respect, the clean water that comes out of a washlet is way safer, especially for sensitive skin. Using bidets and washlets can reduce skin irritation and help with any existing issues, as it also improves hygiene. In times like this when people are rethinking their approach to hygiene, it is no wonder that bidets, washlets, and sprayers are gaining popularity.
They are more environmentally friendly
The reduced environmental impact of washlets and bidets is one of the main drivers behind their popularity. According to some estimates, toilet paper production takes away about 27,000 trees a day. This consumes a lot of resources such as fertile soil and water and energy that is required to cut, transport, produce, and package the final product. What is more, toilet paper production sometimes also includes using astronomical amounts of bleach.
As sanitation and plumbing conditions improve all over the world, the need for toilet paper rises, and in the total amount of paper we spend, toilet paper takes up around 10 percent. That number is far from negligible. Therefore, although washlets, sprayers, and bidets do use water and a small amount of energy, they still have less impact on the environment as they require fewer resources. Depending on whether the washlet or bidet has an integrated drying option, their users might need either significantly smaller amounts of toilet paper (for drying), or they needn’t use any at all.
They come in a range of options
We have so far mentioned bidets, washlets, and sprayers, and although they serve the same purpose, it is important to make a distinction between them. The word bidet refers to the standalone bathroom accessory that is planned just for the one purpose. Sometimes it is used to refer to a washlet as well, although washlets are a more modern invention: they are a combination of a toilet and a bidet, and high-end washlets like the TOTO come with options such as seat-warming and drying. Finally, there are sprayers, which are separate, hand-held devices are the most affordable of the three.
Although having a high-end bidet with all its functions guarantees a luxurious bathroom experience, due to the space they take up, they are not practical for every bathroom. For bathrooms that are either smaller or have different design requirements, washlets can offer the same level of luxury while saving precious floor space. Washlets can also come with options such as controlled water pressure and temperature, and some even come with music that is designed to mask any unpleasant sounds.
Finally, the simplest solution is the sprayer. For those who are brave enough to rethink their bathroom routine, they are a good start as they are simple to use and very affordable. They come in different designs and are easy to install.
Bidets have been popular for centuries
Although there is no precise information on the exact birthplace of the bidet, it is generally thought to have been invented in France sometime in the 17th century. In the 18th century, bidets were present only in the most affluent households, often decorated and made of expensive materials. Although they have started off as companions to the chamber pot, with the advent of plumbing they have moved from the chamber to the bathroom by the beginning of the 20th century. They have been popular for a long time and are considered common in West Africa, the Arab world, Southern Europe, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as South American countries such as Uruguay. In many countries, they are even legally required fixtures in bathrooms.
They have surged in popularity in Japan, especially with the invention of the washlet, but they have taken decades to catch on in Western countries such as the UK and the US. Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, bidets, washlets, and sprayers are such high demand that this period will certainly be considered a new chapter in the history of the bidet.
Although the toilet paper shortage has urged many to invest in washlets, bidets, and sprayers, most of those who now use them would probably not go back to their old bathroom ways. As we see how great of an effect improving out hygienic habits can have on the society at large, it might be the right time to take another look at our existing hygienic habits. And when it comes to bidets, washlets, and sprayers, all we can say is that they are taking the lead in three very important aspects: hygiene, ecology, and comfort.