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An emerging bathroom tool for at-home hygiene could improve your health — and save you hundreds each year

"I recommend them all the time for my patients."

"I recommend them all the time for my patients."

Photo Credit: iStock

Ready to wipe out wasteful bathroom habits? Bidets offer a refreshing splash of innovation in personal hygiene and friendly environmental habits. Say goodbye to the "bottom" line of excessive toilet paper use and dive into a cleaner, greener way to wash away your worries.

What is a bidet?

A bidet is a bathroom fixture designed to cleanse yourself with water after using the bathroom, offering an alternative to traditional toilet paper.

There are various types of bidets available to suit different preferences and needs. Options range from standalone fixtures resembling low sinks to handheld hoses and toilet seat attachments. Travel bidets offer convenience for those on the go, ensuring access to hygienic cleansing wherever they are.

Bidets are often associated with European and Asian countries, and they are gaining attention for their potential health benefits and environmental advantages. Despite the wide adoption of bidets in other countries — 77% of people use one daily in Japan, per WebMD — bidets are not as commonly embraced in North America. 

Why are bidets important?

Bidets offer numerous advantages, ranging from personal hygiene to environmental sustainability. 

Research suggests that bidets provide a more thorough cleaning compared to toilet paper alone, potentially reducing the spread of bacteria and lowering the risk of conditions like hemorrhoids. 

As a contributor for the Washington Post, Dr. Trisha Pasricha said: "I recommend them all the time for my patients with loose stools, like in irritable bowel syndrome, who find constant wiping makes their skin raw. Bidets are also excellent for anyone who might struggle with balance or coordination reaching back to wipe and especially fantastic for people with hemorrhoids, anal fissures or those who are recovering postpartum."

How do bidets help your wallet and health?

In addition to personal benefits, bidets contribute to environmental conservation by reducing reliance on toilet paper. Traditional toilet paper production is quite resource-intensive, using many gallons of water and contributing to deforestation. 

While it may seem like more water is used with bidets, they actually use less water on the whole by greatly reducing the need for toilet paper, which also means more trees in the ground and less pollution from paper production and transportation. It's a simple swap in your bathroom that can have a lasting impact on our forests and waterways.

Additionally, the average American household can use about 400 rolls of toilet paper each year, which adds up in costs. By installing a bidet, you could significantly cut down on the amount of toilet paper you use — by around 75%. In fact, with a simple bidet attachment that can cost as little as $40, you could start seeing those savings pile up, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars annually. Incorporating bidets into daily routines can drastically decrease your ecological footprint while enjoying the benefits of improved personal hygiene and household budget.

The Cool Down's TCD Guide page for buying a $100 bidet puts those savings at $1,250, 350 pounds of toilet paper, and 2,000 gallons of water saved over 10 years, without even accounting for the associated transportation fuel and pollution savings. 

While bidets offer numerous advantages, you should be mindful of potential risks and hygiene practices. Research on bidet use and its effects on vaginal health is still inconclusive, for example, highlighting the need for further investigation or at least proper use. Additionally, maintaining cleanliness and proper sanitation is essential to prevent bacterial growth and ensure optimal health outcomes.

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