Better Off With Bidets

Toilet seat with a bidet attachment.

I cannot describe the newfound excitement for going to the loo. Going pee has become synonymous with joyride!

I have two bathrooms. Each had a toilet. Those now have bidets, and I am having a blast telling everyone about them. (Be prepared for a few puns!)

On top of being super eco-friendly, a bidet is a lovely bathroom addition. It is refreshing. It is clean. It is cool. It is efficient. It is sanitary. It is so darn nice.

This is a simple, but powerful post. I want to really highlight the quick pros of installing a bidet, for under $100, and how using toilet paper is, actually, a half-assed job!

Is it green? Yes, though for more nuanced reasons than simply saving trees. 

Chris Baskind

Basically, bidets help the planet:

  • by saving toilet paper. I am not using toilet paper any longer. It’s pretty badass. Yes, saving rolls and rolls of toilet paper is an obvious pro for the bidet, but it is so much more than just “saving” trees. Toilet paper doesn’t come from virgin trees, but its industry isn’t super eco at all. Toilet paper is made up of, mostly, sawdust and leftover scraps of timber. And those forests are managed. According to Treehugger and other similar sources, the TP thing is encouraging a monoculture where there’s no rich ecology: habitats are ruined, wildlife is displaced, fauna destroyed. Then there’s the fossil fuels to make it, transport it, etc. But, by dispensing with toilet paper, I am also saving money. And during COVID and the craze for rolls of cashmere-like softness, I am ok to keep my money for takeout and beer!
  • by saving water. So by not using toilet paper, you’re reducing water usage. Yes, when you use a bidet you are using your cold water access to spray your bottom, bits and bobs, but water is being saved in the long run because making toilet paper takes a lot of water. And I mean a LOT OF WATER! And often, bleaching products as well.

Canada’s boreal forest, which covers almost 60 percent of our country, is the most carbon-dense forest ecosystem on earth, each year removing 24 million cars’ worth of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to a 2019 report from the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), by using toilet paper we are literally flushing those resources down the toilet.

Ishani Nath via Chatelaine

If you want a fuller understanding of toilet paper’s history, how we have wiped our butts in the past, including wiping with copies of Farmers’ Almanacs, (yes, you read that right), and a whole deep dive on the whole bathroom thing, check out this fun and short read from Chatelaine: Why You Should Consider Giving Up Toilet Paper.

Another check mark for the bidet is that, for me, it feels more hygienic (and it kind of is). I know it is actually getting all the poop away. In doing my research, I found this interesting read from The New York Times, so I added it, and it does talk about how bidets might help alleviate pruritus ani, an itchy butthole, by really getting them clean and not leaving behind any, ah, residue! So many items to note on the pro list.

Now, you do get wet! That shouldn’t be alarming. You are squirting water to your rear or your front. To dry myself after the douche, I opted for using reusable, washable toilet paper, or cloths. These are also known as family cloth, but Susan, owner of All Things Preserved, has dubbed them Needa Cloths*, which I love! I have her Needa Cloths for our dish cloths in the kitchen (blue coloured) and I have them for our two bathrooms in “poop” colours; lovely shades of browns, oranges, tans, and rusts! I love her stuff! All made from recycled or upcycled materials she repurposes what might have once ended up in the landfill to useful products. I also own her wool soap sock, her beeswax wraps, her produce bags and more. I met her years ago at an eco show, bought a skipping rope made from old T-shirts (which works better than any other skipping ropes) and have been supporting her since. Definitely check her out. But I digress… I ordered 60 of her Needa Cloths for the four of us, and I didn’t colour coordinate per person. It’s just a mix and match in brown hues for us all. I find I have been washing them every other day to every 3 days. I know what you might be thinking. But just get the gross thought out of your head. Family cloth is just not gross.

First off, I cloth diapered for years, and so did half the world. Once you do that, you can do anything! Secondly, there’s no poop or pee on the used cloths; the bidet washed those away. These are just drying water that’s on me. When I go do the laundry, I am washing these with what I call “pyjama and underwear” loads. You know, it’s the load that has comfy clothes, sweats, t-shirts you hang around the house in, etc. Or I am washing it in the towel load. While some bacteria might linger, it’s not the cloths that are gross… it’s your laundry machine. And I have a solution for that. Clean it!

Here’s how to keep your washing machine clean (from all types of laundry):

  • Regularly wash your laundry with a good-quality eco soap. I use The Soap Works (which can be bought in bulk at most natural and eco stores or bulk refineries or ordered online or in their pre-weighed bags). This product only needs a tablespoon per load (yes, that little). I have an HE front-loader and that’s all I use. This product already has borax in it, which will kill mould that gets trapped in your machine.
  • Use a good, natural rinse agent. Put vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in your rinse drawer (NOT BOTH) for the final rinse to disinfect. Both are natural, non-toxic, safe and don’t do harm like bleach. Learn more with David Suzuki’s Queen of Green who will blow your mind. She also made up this handy-dandy cheat sheet for cleaning your home with other natural, safe products like lemons! SAFETY NOTE: Do not mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together! Use them separately. Pick one and don’t mix! Both these clear liquids are natural disinfectants, so not only is the machine getting clean and germ-free, so is the load inside it!
  • Every once in a while, run an empty load to wash your machine. Just run a normal cycle, with hot water, and an extra rinse with the above named detergent and rinse agent, and get it really clean! Wellness Mama offers up a few other solutions and natural DIY washing machine cleaning mixtures.
  • Use the power of the sun to disinfect. I love the sun. We all do. I talk about this bright star often, but she is more powerful than just growing plants, keeping us warm and giving us tan lines. The sun can disinfect, so place your bathroom cloths or reusable toilet paper on the line.

I went with the Brondell SimpleSpa Thinline* bidet option that slides under my toilet seat for the main bathroom upstairs. The settings are situated on an extended arm that sits alongside the bowl, on the right or left hand, like a remote control. For the powder room, we opted for the “fancier” one, the FreshSpa Comfort+ Dual Temp* which has the option to use warm water. Due to placement of the waterlines, toilets and sinks in the rooms, we couldn’t use one with the warm water option upstairs. Truth be told, there is a $30 difference between the two, and other than the self-cleaning option on the FreshSpa, I now can say that I would have saved the $30 difference next time. The SimpleSpa is perfect! They both have rear and front nozzles. What else do you need?

Now, I clearly don’t have a problem with over-sharing, hence my post on a bidet; I’m an open book. So here I go. I also think that bidets are wonderful and brilliant options if you are still menstruating. I wrote a whole blog on using my period cup, and for me, as a heavy bleeder, I do have to dump its contents often. I will tell you that there is nothing nicer than refreshing yourself with the use of the bidet to clean up after taking out and putting back in the menstrual cup. A delight! So there is yet a another tick on the pro list.

I only share stuff I actually do! And it needs to be able to be easy, the basis of my whole blog and convincing people to switch to a sustainable, low- to zero-waste lifestyle. Bidets are beautiful! They are easy to use. They are easy on your body. They are are a key choice in moving to a greener life because they are so easy on the planet. Best of all, after your purchase of about $100 or less, you will not have to buy toilet paper again. That is so easy on your budget.

Here’s to more butt showers!

*I only link to products I use or love. I do not receive any compensation. In my house, purchasing both bidets, from an American manufacturer, Brondell, including All Things Preserved Needa Cloths (60 of them) I spent $300. I do not have to do the math for you to realize how much I am saving over the years.

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