Bidets Are Poised to Take Over American Bathrooms

Do you currently have a bidet in your bathroom? If not, you might soon. That’s because bidets are taking over American bathrooms, with more Americans than ever swearing by these nontraditional bathroom devices. In a matter of years, or decades in a worst-case scenario, bidet could become totally normalized – and to be expected in most bathrooms in this country.

How did this momentum shift happen? And where do we go from here?

The History of Bidet Adoption

For decades, bidets were seen as a peculiar oddity by Americans – and even now, many people outright refuse to even try using one. But throughout most of the world, bidets have long been established as the superior method of post-bathroom cleaning. 

There are many reasons for this, which we’ll explore in the next section, but it’s important to recognize that bidets have largely been ignored and underutilized in this country.

It’s only within the last decade or so that bidets have become more popular. Bidets themselves haven’t changed much, so what’s responsible for this turn?

The Benefits of Bidets

First, it’s important to understand why the fascination with bidets exists. What is it that’s motivating so many people to install these bathroom fixtures?

·       A cleaner feeling. If you’ve never used a bidet, it’s probably hard to wrap your mind around the concept of a cleaner feeling after you leave the bathroom. Cleaning your underside with a jet of water results in a more pleasant, more comfortable experience than wiping with rough toilet paper. Even if you splurge for the softest toilet paper on the market, water is still likely to make you feel cleaner.

·       Improved hygiene. It’s not just about feeling cleaner; it’s also about being cleaner. Using a bidet means less physical contact and far fewer opportunities for infectious diseases to spread. In other words, bidets are strictly more hygienic than toilet paper.

·       Less toilet paper waste. When using a bidet, you’ll probably still need a small amount of toilet paper to dry yourself off. But the total amount of toilet paper you use should be far less. If you install a bidet in your bathroom, and you have a family of four or more using it, you could easily save $100 a year or more on toilet paper.

·       Total water conservation. Strangely enough, bidets functionally conserve water. Yes, these devices use water for cleaning, but this amount is trivially small, and it forgoes the need for toilet paper, cutting back on the need for tree development. Overall, bidets are the environmentally friendly option.

·       Fewer hemorrhoids. Bidets also have the ability to prevent and reduce the severity of hemorrhoids. And if you already suffer from hemorrhoids, washing with a bidet is a much more comfortable experience than wiping with toilet paper.

Push Factors

These benefits have existed for many years, so why is the shift happening now?

·       The toilet paper shortage. Early in 2020, there were circulating fears of a toilet paper shortage, as millions of people preparing for lockdown stocked up on vital supplies. These fears were somewhat self-reinforcing, as people driven by fear purchased more toilet paper, making it less and less available. Without toilet paper, bidets seem like a more reasonable option – and millions of people tried them for the first time.

·       COVID-19 reactions. The COVID-19 pandemic, in general, also encouraged more people to rethink their habits around infectious diseases. When the general public was concerned about a deadly illness circulating in unknown ways, they became hyper-aware of important hygienic activities like washing hands thoroughly and sanitizing surfaces. Bidets offered a more hygienic experience, and they became an attractive option even to people who had never considered them before.

·       New technologies and forms. It also helps that bidets have evolved in form. In decades past, if you wanted a bidet, you would have to get a standalone model, which would often mean completely replumbing the bathroom. These days, there are many different options that can directly attach to your existing toilet, relying on the existing water supply, with no major plumbing changes required. In fact, many of these bidet attachments can be installed with little to no DIY experience and no plumbing expertise.

·       Snowballing popularity. As bidets become more popular and more generally accepted, they naturally snowball in popularity. If everyone in your friend group has a bidet, you’ll feel at least a little pressure to install one in your own bathroom – or at the very least, you’ll be more open to trying one. Many articles like this one have been written to acknowledge the phenomenon, and each one of them ultimately contributes to bidets’ expanding reach.

It’s hard to predict bathroom trends, even with all the data in front of us, since it’s hard to tell how technologies are going to develop and how public perception and opinions are going to evolve. Still, it seems like Americans are moving forward with bidets without looking back. 

In another few years, you can expect to see a bidet in the majority of American bathrooms.