The title of this piece might be a bit misleading. In many parts of the world, there is no need for bidets to ‘make a comeback,’ because bidets are common and have been used for centuries. In North America, however, bidets are relatively rare. This is beginning to change, however, as more and more homeowners are realizing the many benefits of a bidet.
Other countries have known about the benefits of bidets for a long time
Thought to originate in 18th century France, bidets are quite common throughout European nations. France, England, Germany, Belgium and Spain are not the only countries where the water jet personal cleansers are popular. In Venezuela, nearly 90 percent of bathrooms feature a bidet. In Japan, the number is only a little bit lower, where some 75 percent of households contain a bidet for personal use. According to TreeHugger, high-tech bidets are currently one of the most popular purchases made by Japanese electronics consumers.
Soothing spray of sanitation
If you are a typical American, you probably have never seen, let alone used a bidet to clean yourself after visiting the toilet. If trends continue, that may change soon. Water is the universal solvent and nothing cleans your bottom and genital area better than a soothing spray of water. No matter how carefully one wipes, there is always a bit of poo left behind. A bidet washes away all traces of feces and leaves the user with a clean, fresh feeling.
A bidet spray is easier on sensitive areas than toilet tissue. This is an especially nice feature for folks who deal with the pain and irritation of hemorrhoids. Bidets can benefit people with other health issues, as well. Gentle bidet spray eliminates the discomfort that many new mothers experience when using standard toilet paper products.
A bidet offers a hands-free way to ensure rectal hygiene for seniors, the disabled and other persons who may have difficulty reaching around to wipe their bottoms after a bowel movement. Young children can be taught to use a bidet, too.
Statistics show that much disease is passed from human to human via the hands. When you use a bidet, your hands never come in contact with the sort of fecal matter that spreads hepatitis and other bacterial diseases.
Better for your bottom, better for the environment
Scientific American notes that bidets are more sanitary than conventional toilet paper and better for the environment, too. Bathroom users in the United States consume more than 36 million rolls of toilet paper every year. If Americans started using bidets to clean themselves after using the restroom, some 15 million trees might be spared annually.
According to technology website MetaEfficient, the manufacture of toilet paper makes a big impact on the environment. In addition to the harvest of 15 million trees, toilet paper makers use 253,000 tons of bleach along with 473,587,500,000 gallons of water every year. The TP making process also consumes in excess of 17 terrawatts of electricity.
TreeHugger breaks these numbers down to per-roll statistics. To make one roll of toilet paper, manufacturers use one and a half pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and more than one kilowatt hour of electricity. Imagine the positive impact it would have if even a fraction of Americans installed a bidet in their bathroom.
More bidet use translates into less paper in municipal sewer systems. Households with septic systems may find that after installing a bidet, there is less frequent need to call a professional to empty the septic tank.
Buying and installing a bidet
If you think that the purchase of a bidet will break your budget, please think again. Yes, you can pay several hundred dollars for a super high-end unit, but a number of nice bidet options are available for less than $100. Shop around, and you will find portable units that you can take with you when you travel or move and easy-to-install bidets that connect to your household water supply with simple tools and not much time.
The best bidet seats offer warm water options, and some even provide a gentle burst of warm air to dry your backside after using the bidet.
If you visited a home builder supply store even five years ago, chances are you would not have seen bidets or bidet attachments offered for sale. In the 21st century, more and more people are coming around to the idea of bidet use as a normal and necessary part of their daily hygiene routine.
Kiera Morris is a home decorating consultant with a background in interior home design. She enjoys writing about her insights online. Her articles appear mainly on interior decorating websites.