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It’s Called a Bidet

Fun Fact: Fecal matter can travel through 10 layers of toilet paper!


Not too long ago, I remember listening to a TED Talk podcast about toilet paper. Oddly enough, it was rather interesting. The speaker likened using toilet paper after using the toilet to playing with dirt outside and then trying to clean your hands with a dried piece of paper. If the idiom, “cleanliness is next to godliness” is true, then that means that using toilet paper is one of the most unhygienic practices that we follow. Instead of cleaning the fecal matter, like we think it does, it simply moves it.

So what’s the best answer? Japanese toilets have all sorts of bells and whistles; with electronic touch screens and all…just to operate a toilet. But most homes don’t need something that complex. And because flushing wipes down the toilet is not a good idea (and keeping them in a trashcan next to the bathroom may be even worse), then the next best answer is likely to be a bidet (pronounced bid-day).

Bidets were invented by the French in the 17th century and it’s basically a low sink designed for the nether regions. The most traditional design consists of the bidet next to the toilet so that the user can easily transition from the toilet to the bidet to clean up. The vertical water jet (think water fountain) then shoots upwards to clean the region. It’s controls are similar to a traditional sink with hot and cold handles to adjust both temperature and pressure to the user’s liking. Some restrooms even contain soaps and towels for thorough cleaning. This is the perfect solution for cleaning up and ensuring that you’re practicing the best hygiene available (short of taking an entire shower after each bathroom use).

Bidets, nowadays, have evolved and no longer have to be a separate fixture in the bathroom. Modern technology now allows a bidet to be installed onto an existing toilet or you can get a toilet/bidet combo. This is perfect if you’re looking to save space and money. The way these combos work is that after you use the restroom, a little wand/spout comes down and then sprays water to clean the area. These units come with an electronic control pad that allows you to adjust the pressure, temperature, and location of the water jet. There are models that even allow for pulsing/massaging water streams. Some bidets even come with a fan/blower to “air dry” your nether regions so that towels and toilet paper aren’t needed at all.

Most systems are self-cleaning so that you don’t have to worry about cleanliness issues. Just regular routine cleaning and maintenance is needed to ensure that your bidet is running smoothly and efficiently. As the world turns to more renewable and reusable technologies to minimize our footprint on earth, this may become a standard in future household bathrooms.

In America, bidets are a foreign concept, even though they’re widely popular in a lot of European and Asian countries. With the toilet paper marketing raking in over 2.4 billion in sales in 2016, it’s no wonder people are hesitant to make the change to a paperless system. The average American is said to use about 50 lbs of toilet paper annually. Consider the cost of the toilet paper versus a little water to clean yourself and it’s a no brainer. In Tucson, a gallon of plumbed water costs about $.003 cents (so less than half a penny). Factor in that water will clean you better than dried paper and it makes sense to switch.

Unfortunately, when it comes to toilets, most people don’t purchase a new one unless the current one breaks down. If they do, they opt for the tankless or greener toilets that use less water. Which, if you think about it, doesn’t make as much sense as using more water but getting rid of toilet paper. When it comes to upgrading or remodeling bathrooms, a toilet is typically not where people will spend money. But it definitely should be.

I guess the only way to wrap this blog up is to reiterate the “fun fact” that started the blog. Fecal matter can travel through 10 layers of toilet paper. Eww.

If you’re interested in a bidet or having a toilet/bidet combo installed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to come take a look at your setup and make some recommendations.

Happy flushing!

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About The Author: Nary Vang is the Creative Director at Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling. She graduated Summa Cum Laude at the age of 21 from the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business with a masters’ degree in Business Management and bachelors’ degree in Human Resources Management. She has held certifications for Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). In addition, she was accepted into MENSA International at the age of 26. Among her proudest moments are graduating college with a 4.2 GPA and opening her own graphic design company in 2009. Although Nary’s background contains extensive Human Resources, executive level administration, and web/graphic design, her true passion is helping others and elevating them to the next level.