I recently came across a lengthy post on the Dr Mercola (never-use-3-words-if-333-will-do) site extolling the virtues of bidets. Bidets could, according to Dr M’s calculations, save 47,000 megawatts of electricity, 693 tons of chlorine, 1.3 billion gallons of water and 41 thousand trees each day in the US alone… Because that is, apparently, what is used each day to produce the toilet paper needed to wipe the bottoms of the US population.
This sounds like a wind up but in fact, as is often the case, beneath the huff and puff, Dr M is promoting sound sense. In many parts of the world, our habit of using paper to clean ourselves instead of washing after urination or defaecation is regarded as deeply unhygienic. In India or Sri Lanka, for example, un-westernised loos are fitted with a small hose with which to wash yourself.
As Dr M says:
When you hands are dirty, do you simply wipe them off and proceed with your regular activities?
When your clothes are soiled and need laundering, do you take a cloth to quickly wipe them clean?
When you have finished a high-octane workout and are dripping with sweat, do you simply use a cloth to clean your body?
No, you wash them – so why would you not also wash yourself after disposing of unwanted waste material?
Moreover, washing has other advantages – apart from saving the world:
• There is far less potential for contaminating your hands with urine or faecal material so, unless you can always be relied on to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, better all round hygiene.
• Water is a far gentler way of cleansing the skin than paper – very desirable if you have haemorrhoids or any other sort of inflammation or irritation around the anus resulting from diarrhoea, constipation, ulcerative colitis etc; cooling and soothing for sufferers from cystitis or similar urinary infections.
• It could reduce the need for, and use of, potentially irritating ‘hygiene sprays’
So, what does Dr M suggest? Well of course (we all have to live) he has a handy device which you can buy – the Mercola Soft Spray Bidet (spool to the bottom of the page) that will work in any loo, is a doddle to fit, does not need any electricity, has ‘an adjustable nozzle to support dual-hygienic cleaning’… and will only cost you $72! Which, given that the first loo I found on line with a built in ‘toilet-bidet’ was on offer at $2,435, seems a bit of a snitch.
However, if you don’t want to pay for Transatlantic postage, Hyundai (yes,I do mean Hyundai) offer basic toilet seat bidets (the ‘Bidush’ and the Bidanit’) for £34.79 and £41,83 including delivery, and a ‘travel bidet’ for £35.65.
The Green Office can offer you their ‘Feel Fresh Hi-3000 Toilet Seat Bidet Washlet’ for £299 + VAT or, if you really want to go plush, you could go for the Bio Bidet 1,000 Toilet Seat which will bring you in at £499. Alternatively, you could go to the real experts and import a toilet bidet from India – the Pragati Sales Corporation would be happy to help…