Bidets – A Toilet Paper Alternative

Bidets - A Toilet Paper Alternative

Given the current challenges regarding toilet paper availability, it only makes sense for us to take a moment to reconsider the porcelain bidet. A bidet is a plumbing device, usually installed next to a toilet, which is used for sanitary purposes to wash your genitals and your rear end after using the bathroom.  One uses soap and water, just like in the shower.

Here in the United States, the bidet is often ridiculed and its discovery is usually a curiosity. I would estimate that downwards of 0.05% of all home inspections we perform here in Vermont and New Hampshire actually have a bidet. They are exceedingly rare and our home buyer clients are usually revolted when they see one. The conversation goes something like this:

Client: “What is that thing?”

Me: “It’s a bidet. Not very common around here. This bathroom must have been renovated by Europeans.”

Client: “Yuck! I am taking that thing out when we renovate this bathroom. I don’t even know how it’s used and it’s gross.”

Me: “Not surprised to hear that. Sorry we can not demonstrate it’s usage to you, but I will try to check it for leaks. Be sure to let your kids know its not a drinking fountain.”

Bidets are very common in many other parts of the world.  In fact, they are often required in many European countries where toilets are installed.

If you travel to Japan, you will most likely encounter a bidet toilet seat. These run the gamut from very simple devices to computer/electronically controlled jets of water and air driers to take care of business automatically. These bidet toilet seats are like automatic (touchless) car wash for your private areas.

Despite the current run on toilet paper, I doubt that Americans are ready to hug this porcelain bowl just yet. It will be interesting to see how bidet sales change in the coming days.