By Linda Merrill, Networx
Most Americans have only seen a bidet (derived from the French word for pony) in hotel rooms in Europe and other parts of the world.† Likely as not, most of those travelers did not actually give it a ďtest ride.Ē† Itís not clear why the bidet isnít as popular in America or Britain as it is in other parts of the world; however, many high-end hotels do install bidets for the comfort of their international guests.
Pro-bidet communities feel itís the ultimate in cleanliness and sanitation and foe-bidet forces believe it to be less sanitary than the standard use of toilet paper.
Interestingly, itís the environment that is bringing the bidet into more common usage, and the use is apparently growing. According to Treehugger.com, ďWe use 36.5 billions rolls of toilet paper in the U.S. each year, this represents at least 15 million trees pulped. This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes. The manufacturing process requires about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually. Also, there is the energy and materials involved in packaging and transporting the toilet paper to households across the country.Ē
One might ask if the extra water used by a bidet is environmentally worthwhile, however, the numbers above seem to answer that question.† It appears to be an ecologically-sound bathroom renovation choice.
Todayís toilet and bath fixture manufacturers are producing more and more bidets (both the standard separate fixture and those integrated with the toilet) than ever before and advances in technology are making them more accessible, and acceptable, to the vast American buying public.
- Kohler is producing a line of bidets and faucet fixtures for the bidet that integrates with their standard bath fixture lines. Their C3 line of toilets features integrated bidet functionality into the seat of a standard toilet. Water and seat temperature are controllable, as is water flow and direction.
- Kohler is also producing a top of the line Numi toilet/bidet that not only handles the usual functions one expects from a toilet and bidet, but it also has a foot warming feature and an auto-close lid. It has an MP3 player, LED lighting and has two flush settings and can sense when more or less water is needed to get the job done. At nearly $6,400, this is a true ďthrone.Ē
- Designís bad boy Phillipe Starck has designed a functional toilet/bidet for Duravit that combines his signature streamlined design style with true functionality. The Sensowash Shower Toilet Seat Starck features an oscillating wash, remote control and self-cleaning capability.
- Totoís Neorest 600 is a traditional stand-alone bidet that offers a warm air dryer to the standard mix of bidet features, a remote control and full sanitizing features.
- Bidetís arenít just for the designer bathroom fixture set. The Simplet, available at Biobidet.com, is a simple low-tech snap on bidet seat that will fit most standard toilets. For $50, it offers adjustable water pressure and a hand held nozzle for easy direction.