3 Surprising Reasons Why You Need A Bidet (And How To Pick One)

bidet

UPDATE: With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the worldwide toilet paper shortage, I felt it would be timely to revisit this post!

While bidets are popular and even ubiquitous in some countries around the world, they’ve never quite caught on here in the U.S. (For a fascinating look at the history of the bidet and America’s aversion to it, check out “The Bidet’s Revival” on The Atlantic!)

But I believe it’s time for us to revisit our stance on the bidet. They’ve never been more affordable, and many are so easy to install that you can do it yourself without any special tools or plumbing knowledge!

Although easy installation and affordability are nice, there are much more compelling reasons to own and use a bidet. I’ll be sharing the 3 best reasons to use a bidet below, followed by my picks for the best bidet for every budget! :-)

What Is A Bidet?

A classic bidet is a stand alone fixture that resembles a combination of a urinal and a bathtub.  It usually sits alongside the toilet in bathrooms.

Today, the classic bidet is less common than the bidet toilet seat attachment, which is affixed to your existing toilet seat.  There is also a handheld bidet (or bidet sprayer), which attaches to your toilet or bathroom sink.  With this type, water comes out of a spray nozzle for washing.

All types of bidets are used primarily for cleansing yourself of urine and fecal matter with water after you use the bathroom.

How To Use A Bidet

The correct way to use a bidet entirely depends on which type you are using.  The classic or traditional standalone bidet is used by straddling it, either facing toward or away from the faucet (depending on what area you want to focus on cleaning.)  After adjusting the temperature to your liking and cleaning yourself, you pat yourself dry with toilet paper or a towel, rinse the inside of the bidet, and clean up any water splashes.

To use a bidet toilet seat attachment, you use a “wash” button or knob on a controller to the side of the attachment.  The water jet extends from the attachment and sprays a stream of water on your underside and the excess water drips back into the toilet bowl.  After you are clean, wipe off the excess water and flush as normal.

Some toilet seat bidets have the option to control the water temperature. They are known as electric bidets and use an electric water heater to heat the water. They tend to be more expensive than the ones that exclusively use cold water (which operate using water pressure alone). And from personal experience, you get used to the cold water after a few days of using it!

Benefits of the spray attachment type of bidet, also called a bidet shower, are the lower cost and the ability to control temperature with your bathroom sink.  However it can be the hardest to use as the high pressure of the water can spray excess water in unintended places.  However it is used very much the same way as the other two: clean yourself with the water, dry yourself, and flush.

The Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Get A Bidet

bidet

1. Better For Your Budget

When you rely solely on toilet tissue for post-potty cleanliness, a roll can disappear in no time! Even those Costco-sized packages of toilet paper don’t last all that long when everyone in the house is using a lot of it!

On the other hand, using a bidet can drastically reduce the amount of toilet paper you need to use. You’ll buy toilet paper less often, saving yourself money and probably a few trips to the store too!

bidet

2. Better For The Environment

Our collective reliance on toilet paper and flushable wet wipes isn’t only hard on our budgets. It also wreaks havoc on the environment, and in more ways than one!

Considering the amount of trees that go into making toilet paper, we flush the equivalent of 30,000 trees per day down our toilets! And in addition to the resources required to make them, toilet paper and wipes themselves take a heavy toll on the environment by clogging up sewage systems and even polluting our oceans.

But a bidet not only makes flushable wipes obsolete, it also helps conserve toilet paper. And that’s a clear win-win for the environment! :-)

bidet

3. Better For Your Bum

There are a variety of unpleasant conditions that can affect one’s personal hygiene and nether regions, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and more. And many of these conditions make wiping with dry paper a literal pain in the butt!

For those affected by them, bidets offer a gentler, and thus healthier, alternative. As long as the water isn’t too forceful (and most bidets are fully adjustable), it’s sure to make using the bathroom a much more comfortable experience!

bidet

Which Bidet Should I Buy?

I prefer the toilet bidet attachment because it combines the best features of the classic bidet with the frugality of the handheld sprayer.  You lose the ability to use warm water for self-cleaning, but it’s hard to argue with the savings.

In addition to the savings, having a toilet with a bidet rather than a separate fixture can save gallons of water along with space savings.

bidet

(Note: The models below are all toilet seat attachments, but there are more styles out there! To learn more about sprayer-style bidets, read my blog post about them.)

My Budget Pick: Greenco Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment ($23)

This simple bidet attachment from Greenco is a perennial favorite on Amazon! It has an average rating of 4.5 stars from over 2,700 reviews, with customers raving about how easy it is to install and use.

If you’ve never used a bidet before and aren’t sure how you’ll like it, this option is inexpensive enough to make it worth a try!

My Mid-Tier Pick: Luxe Bidet Neo 230 Toilet Attachment ($58)

If you’re looking for more features, this bidet attachment has what you’re looking for! In addition to an adjustable nozzle, it also offers temperature control and a self-cleaning function.

Because it needs to be hooked up to hot water, installing this model will be slightly more complex. But the additional features may make it worth the added cost and effort!

My High-End Pick: Brondell Swash SE400 Bidet ($260)

Looking for an attachment with all the bells and whistles? This deluxe model offers adjustable water temperature, oscillating nozzles, a night light, a heated seat, and even a warm air dryer!

With this bidet attachment, using the bathroom is sure to become as luxurious an experience as using the bathroom ever could be! ;-)

bidet

Do you have a bidet in your bathroom?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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52 Comments

  1. I recently bought a toilet bidet, I had no idea that they existed until then, and they’re so reasonable! I was thrilled to bits. I’m 72 and remembered first using a stand alone one when I was 17 and on holiday in Spain. I’ve never understood why they weren’t standard here in the U.K.! Possibly toilet tissue manufacturers have been keeping them as quiet as possible! I’d recommend it to anyone!

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  2. We have a SWASH in both bathrooms in our house. Don’t know how I survived without them before. Everything, including the bathroom is cleaner now.

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  3. We first experienced the joys of a bidet (or douchette) when our granddaughter was born. We bought a sprayer hose (like the kind you use in a kitchen sink) and hooked it into the toilet water line so that we could pre-rinse her dirty diapers before laundry. I’d hold the dirty diaper over the toilet and use the spray hose to rinse most of the mess right into the toilet bowl. Then I’d put the offending diaper in the washing machine. Then I thought, hmm, maybe I could use it to take a little mini shower after going to the bathroom. I bought soft washcloths and put them in a basket on the back of the toilet. I’d do my business and then spray myself clean and then dry off with one of the clean cloths. (Just as if I was drying off after a full shower!)
    Did you know you can buy a portable one to take with you when you travel? They look like a plastic water bottle, but it has a curved nozzle with a nub at the end with tiny holes. It’s great to have when traveling and you’re at the airport for hours. Just take the bottle with you, fill it up at the sink, head for the bathroom stall and use it afterwards to spray yourself clean. It makes traveling for long periods much more fresh. Here’s what it looks like. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GWYVF73/ref=dp_iou_view_item?ie=UTF8&th=1

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  4. I have the Luxe (pronounced “Loo”!) bidet attachment. I cut my washcloths in half and keep them handy for a pat dry after the Luxe rinse, then hang up the cloth to air out and ready for next visit. I never use TP now, although I have it around for visitors. Never use wipes. I’m always clean and fresh, drastically reduced risk of UTI, hemorrhoids, irritations. TP industry is very bad for the environment. An added note: I care for my super senior mom. Even she likes it! It is a lot of effort to keep a super senior clean — it’s strenuous to bathe mom. The bidet is a godsend for cleanliness without effort.

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  5. I came across these in-bowl bidets on a visit to Turkey. No-one else in our group had noticed them but I was curious about the little lever at the side and tried it. Such a simple thing to include in all basic toilets that solves the problem of blocking pipes with toilet paper. I thought it was great, though I couldn’t convince anyone else! Cold water – not a problem. The water spout is short and at the back. It only works.

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  6. I think this is a great idea, but more things to clean around above and beyond the hinges, etc. Costco just had one on sale last month, the separate seat next to the toilet. Plain, streamline, easy to clean. I wish we had room!

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    • Not with the in-bowl models with self-cleaning nozzles. No more that the usual, assuredly.

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      • I agree, and it saves so much money on TP and wipes! I wish I knew about the toilet seat ones a long time ago, but better late than never!

  7. I figure our bidet installation saved $8800 per month for about a year because it delayed my elderly father’s move from our home to a facility. — plus cutting out plumbing bills because he used so much TP before installation. We bought a Toto, had a new outlet installed and never looked back. Ours has a remote control with two user settings, front vs back, water temperature, seat temperature, air dryer temperature etc. The remote was too much for him to manage but that’s ok, I set it just once.

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  8. I’m concern about how to keep the bidet attachment clean. WIll it easily break? Does it need anything special? What about germs?

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    • It’s cleaned when you clean your toilet, it doesn’t need anything special and I’m not sure how it could break. Do an internet search for “toilet bidet”, you can see what they’re like, and how popular they are

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  9. I’m European, and I highly recommend what we use most – a proper, separate bidet. That is not an attachment in the toilet, but a separate thing completely, with its own hot and cold taps and nozzle. Traditionally, you still wipe with paper before you use it, because you are going to be moving from one seat to another, but not to the extent you might have to if you weren’t going to be having a good wash…. so, you save paper. The attachements proposed here are not bidets, but spray attachments. I’ve read about the Japanese products, but we in Europe tend to think that using an attachment in the loo itself is rather unhygienic. We actually tried an installed spray like these once in the bathroom where we don’t have a bidet, but found it messy and tricky to use properly.

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    • Depends on the model you purchase. The separate sprayers are definitely a big mess. It’s much less $$$$ to install than a standard bidet, less to clean (one bowl v. two), less use of toilet paper, and doesn’t involve any “musical chairs.”

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      • Agreed, the ones that are attached to the toilet are no bother and no mess at all, and they’re not at all unhygienic

  10. Got the next-to-most-expensive model of the Brondell Swash last year, when after major back surgery I discovered I couldn’t reach to use t.p. on the anal area. My model doesn’t have the night light or the warm air drying features. I use a separate, dedicated washcloth sort of between the legs and shoe-shined to dry if I’ve used both back and front wash features. I do definitely feel cleaner for using my bidet and now I can’t imagine being without it. (Incidentally, our utility company specifically requested that we do NOT flush wipes of any sort, and prefer that we not flush tampons.)

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  11. This is fine if you have more than one outlet in your bathroom

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    • Granted, we had to pay for an electrician to install an outlet. Still less than putting in a traditional bidet.

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  12. I use a squirt bottle with Cetiphil in it—-works like a charm

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  13. I disagree with your luxury pick. Toto Washlet is the best!

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  14. I have requested one and may show hubby this article. I now have a fractured right wrist and have a much harder time keeping clean without a “post-potty shower” followed by disinfectant in the shower. Thanks for this article.

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  15. How DO you dry off? And, I’m not sure how to use one. I have seen one when we visited Spain several years ago.

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    • Well, I use toilet paper to dry off. It almost never takes me more than one wipe (I typically use four squares per wipe) to get satisfactorily dry for me. I think many people would prefer to use two wipes to get completely dry, or else get one with a fancy air dryer. I initially hoped thie bidet would emiminate the need for toilet paper, but it unquestionably takes less toilet paper to dry than to wipe poop alone. Besides, when drying the paper comes off without visible poop more often than not, demonstrating how much better the bidet cleans than paper alone. If you were absolutely dedicated to being green, I think it wouldn’t be too unhygeinic a compromise to use cotton rags for drying purposes, just wash them afterwards.

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    • I bought a pack of 4 washcloths at the dollar store to dry myself off. (And yes, they are soft!)

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    • How to use one, you ask. I’ll try to be clear but polite. The bidet nozzle sits below the toilet seat, behind where stuff drops down. The nozzle points forward and upward diagonally, aiming at where one’s bottom should be. If you’re not sitting bare on the toilet, don’t turn the bitet on, or it’ll shoot water upward where you probably don’t want it. One visitor squirted himself thusly while standing up because he mistook the bidet control for the flush.

      As pictured by Jillee above, there’s typically an adjustable dial, somewhat like a speaker volume dial, that serves as on/off and power adjustment for the stream of water. Turn it on and to the desired strength, and the nozzle shoots a stream of water. Start weak until you know from experience how you want it. Increase pressure if you find the mess requires it. The stream MAY be slightly painful if you turn it to full blast immediately when you’re not used to it.

      Move your bottom as desired so the stream hits any poop on your bottom. The poop then is loosened and falls off. Imagine using a garden hose to clean off a muddy patio; it is the same except you’re moving the patio instead of the hose. You should be able to detect where the water hits by feel. You can even shift your posture and weight so the stream goes further inside, if desired.

      Turn off the dial when you’re ready, and the stream will turn off. Your bottom will likely be dripping wet. Use the air dryer if you have one (I haven’t used that), or dry off with toilet paper.

      If you get much poop on the toilet paper, that may mean either one didn’t rinse well enough, or there is more poop that hasn’t come fully out yet. In my experience, rinsing the bottom helps when I’m having trouble getting it all out at once. I’m guessing, having a clean bottom makes it reflexively easier to let more come out. If this happens, you may want to cycle between pooping and rinsing a couple times, until you are as clean and empty as desired. Sorry if this is too graphic an explanation, but believe me, it is far preferable to waiting minutes upon minutes on the toilet until more poop is ready to come out.

      Rinsing with a bidet often is faster than just using toilet paper, another benefit that Jillee didn’t mention. That’s both because it makes defecation easier, as I noted above, and because it doesn’t require as many repeated foldings and uses of toilet paper.

      It is unlikely, but possible, for poop to get on the nozzle, so clean it when cleaning the toilet. (According to Murphy’s Law, it will sometimes happen.) The nozzle typically extends downward (or forward, depending on model) when shooting, and goes back up immediately when not in use, which helps keep it out of the way of poop. Extension can happen by mere water pressure, so this applies to low-budget models, too.

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      • It’s not any more unhygienic than your seat and bowl are. Disinfectant bowl cleaner takes care of anything a self-cleaning, retractable nozzle does not with the on-seat models.

  16. We have a To. Which is widely used in Japan. Not cheap but great. My husband has Parkinson’s and cancer and is a blessing. Highly rated and warm water and seat!!!

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  17. Hi All,
    I just had my husband install one for me as a Christmas gift. He bought one with all the bells and whistles – a Brondell. As I age, I don’t think I’m always as fresh as I’d like – even though apparently I am, as my husband says I’m obsessive about it. I don’t want to be an old lady that smells like pee . I absolutely LOVE my bidet! My kids are laughing at me but I don’t care. We had people over for the Super Bowl and some wouldn’t use that toilet (It’s the main household toilet; I don’t have a master bath). They used the powder room . I didn’t think of a sign. I’ll have to put one up. Thanks for the idea Kennedy!

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  18. I’ve never been to Europe or had an opportunity to use a bidet so pardon my stupid question – don’t you still need something to “dry off” with anyways?

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    • K, that’s my question as well…unless purchasing a more (quite a bit more, apparently) expensive model, “drying off” would still require TP wouldn’t it?

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      • Yes you do but much much less than you would from wiping and wiping until you feel clean

    • No! We have a stack of soft face cloths on the toilet tank , two hooks on the wall (mr & Mrs) , and a small plastic flip top wastebasket on the floor. We use a face cloth to dry off and reuse it if it was just used after washing after a pee.

      Even so, use toilet paper after a poop, then rinse clean and dry usually does not soil the washcloth. Once it’s soiled, it goes in the waste basket to be washed and reused.

      Though I know the facecloths are sanitized when washed in hot water in the machine, I did buy a dedicated set of potty towels just because of the mental ewww factor.

      I was prone to vaginal infections and bought a Toto about 15 years ago. I have not had a single infection since. When we moved, we bought another bidet toilet. Wouldn’t be home (nor would I feel clean)without it!

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    • Like Najia’s reply below, I have a stack of cotton washcloths (larger ones are cut in half) and use to pat dry (that’s all that is necessary) and then air them out. I wash after several uses.

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      • Not much difference in using a towel to pat dry with SWASH than using a bath towel to dry the “nether region” after a shower. I don’t toss the bath towel after one use either.

  19. My only problem with public bidets is that they would need to be continually sanitized. I creep out enough when I need to use a public toilet, let alone wonder what might be in the bidet nozzle. Especially now that the coronavirus has been determined to move through pipes.. Now home is a different matter and I will have to think about that.. :)

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    • I wouldn’t use a public bidet either. Too much of the EW factor – I don’t even sit, especially when traveling in highly trafficked tourist locations.

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  20. Since traveling to Europe 2 years ago I’ve been seriously thinking about purchasing one of these bidet units. Before committing to it, though, I’m wondering if anyone out there has installed the cheaper version where unheated water is the only option. If so, what do you think of it? The idea of ice cold water hitting delicate tissue sounds kind of uncomfortable to me. Tapping into the hot water feed will definitely require a plumber and/or electrician, at my house, which could be quite expensive.

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    • Monica, personally I would lean towards a hardy yes, but I should say it depends where you live & your sensitivity. Not too long before I left California I got one of these bidets. It worked fine. Only a few times during the coldest days of a Cali winter did I get shocked with a cold blast. I thought it would have been nice, but not worth the trouble. That changed. I moved to colder climes & it became a necessity. I went whole hog & got a Japanese toilet & bidet that does everything but rocks you to sleep. Love it. Worth it, even on a budget. Didn’t realize what I was missing til I had it to miss. I appreciate the temperature control even on temperate days. It’s like stepping into a warmed robe after a shower on a cool day instead of grabbing a cold towel. A small luxury worth its weight. You can always try Jillee’s economical recommendation & see if it works for you. If not then you know it’s worth the extra expense of a heated type. Plus you will already be set up for installing a unit with all the bells & whistles, should you ever decide to upgrade (& you probably will).

      A general FYI… These are a God send for people with certain mobility issues. Also,
      a lot of people are intimidated by bidets. I’ve made a cute sign for guests to make them feel more comfortable for a first time user. They love it. They all come out saying the same thing. They were a little nervous/intimidated. The sign out them at ease & made it fun. They also actually really liked the bidet experience. Then I take them to the bad boy in my master bath. Like kids in a candy store.

      Enjoy people. Once you bidet you’ll never want to toilet any other way!

      Thanks Jillee for bringing up a great topic.

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      • Kennedy, I was on vacation and the hotel had one of the fancy Japanese toilets and I was spoiled by it! I haven’t splurged on one for home, but I love the options above. I love your idea about a cute sign. :-)

    • I have the cheaper model and the water is not cold it’s room temperature. It is an inside pipe. I don’t have an electrical plug but even if I did I would not have heated water. I live in Michigan and it’s fine even in the winter

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      • Thanks Jackie! This should help answer the question about the water temperature for many of these comments!

    • I live in the wet side of Washington state. Though, in addition to climate, the issue of water depends on how cold your house’s particular domestic water system is. How well insulated, whether well/public system, etc. I’ve got a cold-only bidet, and I think it is sufficient for us. But the cold water DOES take getting used to. I CAN tell a difference depending on the day and the season, or my mood. And I think warm water would probably dry quicker. In the end, I think it totally depends on the person.

      I wish I could liken it to washing hands with cold water, or rinsing in the shower with cold water, but it honestly isn’t the same. One’s bum isn’t an extremity, nor is it the whole body, but it is somewhat internal. So, the cold feels a little more intrusive (for lack of a better word), but warms up more quickly than those two examples.

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    • It’s winter here in Minnesota and I don’t have a problem. As one replier said it’s room temp water. Just like at the sink it takes awhile to get really cold.

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    • I have a bidet wand that connects to the toilet tank and would be cold. Fortunately, my toilet is right beside our sink so my husband was able to connect it to the water pipes under the sink so I can get warm water. He states he has absolutely no plumbing ability, so if he can do it, I guess the average person can, too.

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      • Wow! Thank you so much, everyone. Your comments are chock full of really thoughtful information. The main takeaway from each reply seems to be unanimous … bidets are the way to go (pun intended)! I’ll carefully consider all of your opinions before I make my purchase. Cheers!

  21. Absolutely a must have – we redid our main bathroom and purchased a toilet with a bidet- expensive but so worth it ! Never look back !

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  22. I didn’t realize that American toilets were “incomplete” until an Italian family whom we had stayed with in Sicily came to the U.S. During a restroom stop their teenage girls went into a stall and immediately came back out, exclaiming that the toilet was only half-there! I’d never really noticed the bidet at their home as they had purchased toilet paper to accommodate their American guests.

    I agree that a bidet would save toilet paper, but a couple of considerations are a) Toilet paper can be made from recycled paper; it’s just as “comfortable” (imo) as the major brands and it doesn’t have to be more expensive. I’ve been buying the Publix brand for years. b)Bidets may save trees but they still use more water than a standard flush toilet, so there are still tradeoffs. But I’ll have to research what toilet models might be available in the U.S. with integrated(?) bidets and what the price difference might be, as we’re getting ready to start a home build (if it ever stops raining) and toilets haven’t been picked out yet.

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    • Thanks for sharing! Not to disagree, but there’s plenty of water used in the making of toilet paper. I won’t comment on how much, because I don’t know.

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      • This is true…good point.

    • I first got a bidet wand because I was tired of buying toilet paper. Then I read where in other countries they think we are dirty because we don’t use one. I thought about that and realized, if we get baby poo on our hands we wash them. And, of course, wipe the baby’s bottom with a wipe or warm, damp cloth. But if we wipe ourselves with toilet paper only, we just wipe with dry paper. Not a great cleaning solution. And we wonder why big dogs sniff us when we walk by. LOL! That stopped once I started using a bidet!

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  23. We just visited family members living in Japan and fell in love with Japanese toilets! The Japanese elevate toilets to a whole new level in the home and public restrooms. My husband wants the heated seat while I liked the bidet. We came across toilets with various features that included air fresheners and front and back bidets with adjustable water pressure. If you wish privacy, a speaker would emit a babbling brook sound! Flush handles worked in up and down. One direction was a small flush while the other direction was a large flush. Public restrooms were every where and clean! Well done, Japan!

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