Updated: Jan 5
It wasn't very long ago that the idea of using a bidet really freaked me out. When I was living abroad for a year in high school, my host family had one and I never used it - not once! So I don't blame you if you are also hesitant about installing a bidet in your bathroom. I think you'll find though that they are not quite as intimidating (or weird) as you might have thought.
But why even use a bidet? Why not just keep using toilet paper?
First, it doesn't actually use more water. Because even though a bidet replaces toilet paper with water, you have to consider how much water went into making that toilet paper piece. Estimates suggest around 36 gallons of water are needed to make one roll of toilet paper! If you assume that one standard roll of TP has around 1000 sheets and you use 8.6 sheets per visit, that's about 1/3 of a cup of water per wipe. Depending on the flow of your bidet, you usually don't use much more than that! Not to mention that you are no longer supporting deforestation and the carbon emissions that go into collecting the pulp, processing the paper, and delivering it to every grocery store.
Bidets also reduce the reliance on toilet paper and therefore reduce the use of single use, disposable products. Bidets can work both with or without toilet paper depending on your preference. You can just shake the old fashion way and skip the TP altogether (or see below for family cloth)! Even if you do choose to dry off afterwards, you're already nearly clean so the amount of TP you need is less. Just by using a bidet before wiping, you can save up to 60% of your TP! Even though most of zero waste bloggers out there that keep waste jars don't "count" toilet paper as part of their yearly waste (myself included), that doesn't mean TP isn't a single use item. It's only designed to be used once and then enters the sewer system. Unless you have a composting toilet (another great idea for those building or remodeling houses!) it's straight to the sewer pit for these fellas with no way of recycling or composting them later.
Bidets also save you money because you end up using less toilet paper! And who can say no to saving money? A bidet upfront will definitely cost you more than TP with bidets ranging from $40 to $500. However, one blogger reported that he spent $52.43 a year on toilet paper. In one to two years then you will cover the cost of your bidet and no longer be spending money on toilet paper (or at least less).
Easy to Use
And finally, they are not as weird as you think. In my opinion, using a bidet is so much more sanitary than using a flimsy piece of paper. Think about how much residue those things leave behind. Bidets are designed to remove 90% of what's on your bum just by washing it with water alone! And just as you wash your body in the shower, it only makes sense to add a little water to keep your bottom nice and clean.
So, have I convinced you to try one yet? I own the Brondell PureSpa bidet which I have been using for a couple weeks now and really enjoy it. Some bidets even come with built in water heaters and dryers, although they will typically run more in the hundreds of dollars range. I find that having cold water though isn't actually that big of a deal and doesn't make the experience uncomfortable. If you're seriously considering buying one, make sure to shop around and see what's in your price range!
And on a final parting note, I want to plant the idea of using the "family cloth" system in combination with your bidet - completely ridding the need for toilet paper at all! Family cloth can easily be implemented by either making or purchasing small cloth squares that are used to dry off your under-area after using the bidet. These clothes can then be tossed into a laundry hamper and washed altogether once a week. There will be more on family cloth to come though so don't freak out on me yet!
Do you use a bidet? How do you think it works?