All Blogs/ Bidet Hygiene

Bidet versus Toilet Paper: The Ultimate Showdown

6 November 2023 · JOHN PHUNG · 13 min read
    Bidet Hygiene
toilet paper vs bidet

Table of Contents

    First World Toilet Paper Problems

    It's a bit wild when you think about it—our ancestors got by just fine using nature's bidet, yet here we are relying on rolls of paper. The very idea of wiping with toilet paper is a relatively new blip in human history, a 'modern' convenience that our ancestors would likely find amusing, if not downright wasteful.

    Now, in the plush aisles of first-world supermarkets, toilet paper is a staple, almost as ubiquitous as bread and milk. But venture into developing nations, and the cost perspective shifts dramatically. The price tag on TP, when contrasted with the average income, makes it less of an essential and more of a luxury.

    toilet rolls in bathroom

    And who could forget the bizarre scenes of the recent pandemic? A collective frenzy that turned toilet paper into a bizarre form of currency causing toilet paper shortages in supermarkets. The sheer lunacy of stockpiling rolls upon rolls of paper in a crisis, while the humble bidet sat quietly in the corner, offering a hygienic, cost-effective, and sanity-preserving alternative.

    Above all, the environmental impact is nothing to sneeze at. More toilet paper equals more trees down the drain, quite literally. It's a cycle of consumption and waste that begs the question: Haven't we learned anything from our water-savvy forebears?

    Is Toilet Paper Really Hygienic?

    Ever had an unfortunate mishap with a chocolate bar that melted onto your hand? Did you reach for a paper napkin, or did you make a beeline for the nearest faucet? If you'd choose water for your hands, then why treat your backside any differently after a trip to the loo? It's a cheeky question, but it gets to the crux of the matter: Is toilet paper really giving you the clean you think it is?

    Let's talk about the bidet, the hygiene hero that allows for a hands-off approach to posterior cleanliness, especially post-deuce. Using a bidet can drastically reduce the direct hand-to-derriere contact, cutting down the chances of transferring any lurking nasties, from germs to viruses, from your bum to, well, anywhere else.

    Bidets offer a soothing solution for those battling the discomfort of hemorrhoids, the sting of anal fissures, preventing urinary tract infections, or the dry drag of constipation. And for those itchy moments that have you squirming, bidets provide a gentle reprieve from the dreaded pruritus ani.

    Think about pressure cleaning for a second—the way a concentrated stream of water can blast dirt off a driveway. That's your bidet at work, efficiently jetting away the unwanted remnants of your bathroom break, providing a clean that paper alone can't match. Wiping can push around what we want to remove, leaving behind a microscopic film of faecal matter. And let’s not skirt around the issue: no amount of dry wiping will truly rid your skin of that...distinctive bathroom bouquet.

    The truth is, to get anywhere near a true clean with toilet paper, you'd be unspooling enough sheets to make a mummy costume—and that's just wasteful. Plus, you're essentially rubbing the problem in, rather than washing it away. It's a bit like trying to get perfume out of a dress with a dry cloth instead of a proper wash.

    The Cost of Wiping Your Butt

    coins in cup with plant

    Let's talk dollars and sense, or more specifically, how much of your hard-earned cash is literally being flushed down the toilet. On average, Americans fork out a not-so-small fortune of $70 to $120 yearly on toilet paper. To translate that into Aussie dollars, you're looking at around 100 to 170 AUD – enough for a decent night out or a couple of rounds of "shrimp on the barbie".

    Now, enter the humble bidet, a game-changer in the economics of wiping cutting down toilet paper usage. A basic handheld bidet sprayer set can start at a modest $40, while bidet attachments begin at about $80. So, in just a year or so, you could be seeing the sort of return on initial investment that would make any financial advisor raise their glass. And if you're a frequent visitor to the throne due to a rebellious gut, your ROI accelerates even faster. Plus, if you're running a multi-person household, you'll begin to see savings piling up quicker than you can say "loo roll".

    Sure, there's a whole spectrum of bidet luxury out there, with the swankier models – like plush toilet bidet seats and full-on smart bidet systems – starting at the $300 mark. But let's be real, if you're eyeing these high-end thrones, you're not just counting pennies; you're looking to treat your tush to the regal experience it deserves.

    Which is Greener, Better for the Environment?

    In the quest for a greener planet, the bathroom is an unexpected battleground, and the fight is between bidets and toilet paper. The production of conventional white toilet paper isn't just a matter of cutting down trees—it's a dirty affair, marred by chlorine bleaching processes that spew pollution into our environment.

    In response, many toilet paper brands are pivoting towards recycled materials, like bamboo, which certainly earns them eco-points. Yet, even recycled toilet paper isn't without its environmental cost. The recycling process itself has a carbon footprint that we can't ignore, thus bringing up the toilet paper debate.

    Enter bidets, the one-off purchase that promises years of service with minimal environmental impact. Particularly, bidet sprayers and attachments, which rely solely on water, are champions of the eco-friendly cause. They require no electricity, no extra resources—just a simple, clean stream of water.

    However, we must acknowledge that some bidet models come with bells and whistles—temperature control, adjustable nozzles, and other features that necessitate a power supply. While these features might mean a slight uptick in carbon emissions, they're still minuscule compared to the environmental toll of toilet paper. And let's be real, unless you're pampering your posterior with a warm rinse every time, the impact remains low.

    And there's another plus: With bidets, you're not just cutting down on the production of toilet paper, but also on its disposal. Less toilet paper means less waste in our landfills and fewer clogs in our sewage systems. It's a win-win for your bum and the planet.

    Never heard or seen a Bidet?

    Around the globe, the bidet is met with varying degrees of acceptance. In many third world and Asian countries, bidets—or at least, water for post-toilet cleaning—are part of the cultural fabric. The cost of toilet paper and a heritage that favors water for cleanliness make bidets a logical choice.

    Interestingly, despite its French origins, the bidet feels alien to many in the Western world, where the luxury of toilet paper has long overshadowed alternatives. In countries like the United States, a bidet is a rarity, not the norm. It's often something encountered in the tech-savvy bathrooms of Japan, where they've turned the humble bidet into a sophisticated piece of hygiene technology.

    man looking outside the window sitting on bidet

    For those unacquainted with the sensation, the first encounter with a bidet's spray can be quite... refreshing. And while the health and hygiene benefits are clear, there’s a significant behavioral shift required to transition from paper to water. Humans are creatures of habit, often reluctant to change what seems to work for something unfamiliar, even if the new method is superior.

    However, the jump from paper to spray isn't insurmountable. It’s just a leap. Once individuals experience the heightened cleanliness and comfort a bidet provides, the thought of going back to rough, dry toilet paper is unpalatable. It's not just a change in routine, but an upgrade in lifestyle.

    How Do Bidets Work?

    The mechanics of a bidet are simple yet ingeniously effective. For those opting for a handheld bidet spray, it's akin to a mini garden hose for your nether regions. You control the pressure and spray pattern—a narrow jet for precision or a wider mist for a more encompassing clean. This flexibility allows for easy targeting, whether from the back or the front, ensuring a gentle yet thorough wash.

    Then there are the bidet attachments, toilet bidet seats, and the increasingly popular smart bidet toilets. These are designed with a nozzle that nestles discreetly under the rim of the toilet bowl, providing a jet of water that cleans from behind. While the spray is often more focused due to the nozzle's design, it's nothing to worry about; this direct spray ensures a deep and effective clean. The pressure can be fine-tuned with a dial or button, usually found on a side panel, allowing for a customized experience.

    The more advanced toilet bidet seats and smart toilets come with additional perks. Water temperature, spray angle, and even air drying can be adjusted, often via a control panel or remote control. These features add a touch of luxury and can make the transition from paper to water feel like an upgrade in both hygiene and technology.

    In short, bidets work by providing a focused, adjustable stream of water for personal cleaning, with the level of sophistication varying according to the type of bidet. Whether it’s the manual control of a handheld sprayer or the high-tech wizardry of a smart toilet, bidets offer a more hygienic, refreshing, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional toilet paper.

    Are Bidets Easy to Use?

    Certainly! Bidets might seem daunting at first, but they're surprisingly simple to get the hang of. For those with mobility issues or for the elderly, bidets are a game-changer. Their intuitive controls are a boon for anyone who finds the physical act of wiping challenging or uncomfortable.

    Take the handheld bidet spray, for example. Yes, it requires a bit of hand-eye coordination to aim accurately and manage the water flow, but it's nothing a trial run or two can't fix. It's so user-friendly that even children can master it quickly—just remind them it's not a toy to avoid an impromptu bathroom shower!

    For bidet attachments, simplicity is key. They typically feature a pressure knob that controls the water jet without any fuss over angles or targeting. A gentle twist is all it takes to find your preferred setting—just remember that full blast isn't always best unless you're trying to achieve orbit. It's a perfect tool for anyone seeking more autonomy in their personal care, especially for children who are learning bathroom independence.

    Toilet seat bidets and smart toilets are like the smartphones of personal hygiene—intuitive and customizable. Although they come with more bells and whistles, like angle adjustments and nozzle depth control, these are all at your fingertips through a user-friendly control panel. It's about as complicated as using an app: a few taps and you have a tailored, comfortable bidet experience. This accessibility grants a sense of dignity and self-sufficiency, reducing the reliance on caregivers for such a private matter.

    So, are bidets easy to use? Absolutely. Whether you're reaching for a handheld sprayer or adjusting settings on a high-tech model, operating a bidet is a breeze. It’s a small learning curve for a cleaner, happier bum.

    Ease of Bidet Installation

    Installing a bidet doesn't have to be a plumbing saga. In fact, many handheld bidets and bidet seat attachments can be a DIY affair. But if you're not confident about your plumbing skills and dread the thought of an indoor flood, you can call in a plumber. Keep in mind, though, this choice could bump up your initial costs by a fair bit.

    Before you begin, ensure that your bathroom's toilet connection has a valve—this is non-negotiable for any bidet setup. Turn this valve off to halt the water flow. Next, you'll be fitting a T-adapter, which is a nifty little device that directs water to both the toilet tank and your new bidet. This step is crucial for preventing pressure build-up in the bidet and extending its life.

    For the handheld bidet spray, it's as simple as connecting the hose to the spray head. Voilà – you’re all set. With a bidet attachment, it's a tad more involved: remove your existing toilet seat, line up the attachment, and then re-secure the seat over it. Tighten those screws, and you’re almost good to go.

    Toilet seat bidets, where the seat and bidet come as one package, are just a seat swap away from installation. Once everything's in place, turn the water back on and give your bidet a test run. Keep an eye out for leaks; any dripping is a tell-tale sign that something's amiss and might need a replacement or a tighter connection.

    As for the high-end smart toilet bidets—these gizmos are usually a full toilet replacement and definitely warrant professional installation. They're the crème de la crème of bidets and require a bit more know-how to get them up and running smoothly.

    So, whether it's a quick attachment switch or a full toilet upgrade, installing a bidet can be a straightforward task. Just remember, if in doubt, there's no shame in calling a pro to ensure your bidet experience is splash-free from the get-go!

    The Bottom Line

    When it all flushes down, the choice between traditional toilet paper vs bidet is not just about personal cleanliness—it's a lifestyle decision that reflects our growing consciousness about health, hygiene, and our environmental footprint.

    Embracing bidets might feel like a leap for those of us wrapped up in rolls of toilet paper, a commodity that has been a fixture in Western households for generations. Yet, this change is not about discarding a familiar comfort, but rather about elevating our hygiene practices to a level that's in harmony with the wellbeing of our planet and ourselves.

    The bidet stands out as a champion of cleanliness, a friend to forests, and a wise investment that pays for itself in savings and comfort. The initial cost, which can be surprisingly modest, is quickly offset by the long-term savings from not purchasing toilet paper. Moreover, the environmental benefits of reducing paper waste and saving water and energy are too significant to ignore.

    Culturally, while some may balk at the idea of a water cleanse after a bathroom visit, those who have experienced the fresh, clean feeling a bidet provides often can't go back to the dry wipe of toilet paper. It's not just about the clean; it's about the experience of freshness and the peace of mind that comes with making an eco-friendly choice.

    In conclusion, the bidet is more than just a bathroom fixture—it's a statement of how we choose to live and take care of ourselves and our environment. The humble bidet invites us to reconsider what true cleanliness feels like and offers an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable world—one bathroom break at a time.

    Join the Discussion

    Keep on reading
    All Blogs

    Join the Bumwash Community

    Get the latest in Bumwash product updates, insights on bum health and news on special deals.