Is Using a Bidet Better?

Bidet with nearby shelf for soap and towel
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Is using a bidet better? Lately, it seems like we’ve been hearing a lot about how using a bidet is better for your health and the environment. Believed to have originated in 18th century France, the bidet is a common bathroom fixture in Europe and Asia that looks like a toilet but sprays water to clean your bottom after you use the toilet.

According to sociologist Harvey Molotoch, author of Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, we got off on the wrong foot with bidets and just never recovered. He says we owe our overall aversion to bidets to our country’s forefathers: The British associated bidets with French prostitutes, and consequently thumbed their noses at their use. Over time, it became a habit to wipe instead of wash after using the bathroom, and it never went away.

Saving the Trees

According to a recent article from Fortune Magazine, the U.S. consumes more toilet paper than any other country, almost three rolls per person each week. (they must not be double rolls) And the lush brands households choose to use aren’t sustainable, with hardwood trees being pulped to create the soft toilet paper consumers want.

Following the United States’ annual use of 141 rolls of toilet paper per capita is Germany with 134 rolls and the United Kingdom with 127. Japanese consumers average 91 rolls annually, while the Chinese average just 49.

Bidets require soap holder and towel to be nearby
via Agape

I originally thought toilet paper came from scrap wood chips and saw dust, but according to the website ToiletTravels.com, trees are cut down for their virgin pulp. While recycled material would be better, the recycling process of separating and cleaning paper is not very efficient.

To those who say that bidets waste water, advocates counter that the amount is trivial compared to how much water we use to produce toilet paper in the first place.

According to Proctor and Gamble, the leading toilet paper manufacturer, 100% of its wood fiber comes from responsibly managed forests, certified by third parties such as the Forest Stewardship Council.

“Virgin fiber in tissue products is preferred by consumers, and ‘does the job’ much more efficiently.” – P & G

“By using virgin fiber from responsibly managed forests, [P & G] products are more absorbent, so consumers can do more with less waste. Paper products made from recycled materials are less soft, less absorbent and lack the strength that products manufactured from virgin fibers can provide.”

via Behance

Recycled toilet paper and less plush paper is used more often in commercial settings with consumers preferring to buy softer toilet paper for the home. So, it stands to reason, reduction of virgin or multi-ply toilet paper consumption in the home is possible.

Saving Space

One of the reasons a traditional bidet has not caught on in America is because you have to remove you pants to straddle it. Another reason is the extra space required to install it.

While there’s  a lot of hype behind the electric bidet seats (which I’ll discuss later), one of the simplest solutions a homeowner can use is to install a handheld spray near or on their existing toilet.

These sprays, unlike the electronic bidet seats do not require homeowners to hire electricians to bring power into the water closet.

How to position a bidet spray handle
via Brondell

Health Benefits of a Bidet

According to doctors, using a bidet is definitely preferable to toilet paper – at least for women. Bidets can be beneficial for lady parts by helping to reduce the spread of bacteria (a principal source of urinary tract infections), cut down on irritation that can be caused by wiping too much, and keep you fresh before and after sex.  Read about more health benefits (think hemorrhoids)  here.

According to David Kaufman, M.D., a urologist in New York City, we can’t really do away with toilet paper entirely. – a bidet wash alone isn’t enough to do the real dirty work of cleaning with toilet paper.

Most do people use a small amount of paper instead of a washcloth to dry their posteriors after the bidet has done its job; but, more expensive air-drying models dispense with the need for paper altogether.

The most hygienic option is a hands-free toilet
via DXV

Hands Free

In recent years the advent of the intelligent toilet with a built-in bidet wash arm and fan dryer means using the loo can be a hands-free event. This is great considering a report that says only 5% of Americans wash their hands long enough to kill harmful bacteria.

“According to the CDC only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women wash their hands after using the bathroom.”

Hands-free bidets are also a great option for people who might have mobility issues due to an accident, surgery, arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s or aging. Older homeowners who are often cold also tend to prefer a bidet seat that has a seat warmer, heated water and temperature options for the dryer.

If you don’t have to use your hands to use the toilet there’s less chance of passing or coming in contact with bacteria and viruses.

Don’t worry, not all toilet bidet options cost $4,000 or $7,000. A new company called Tushy (click for $5 off) offers a toilet seat conversion that starts at only $69!

Not all seat models are compatible with skirted toilets or riser seats so check the specifications carefully or consult with a bathroom specialist for help.

Amazon is Developing a Home Robot

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According to Bloomberg reports, Amazon’s looking to build a home robot. Its hardware division, Lab126, is apparently working on some sort of domestic droid, code-named “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family. It seems the project has been a long time coming but recently Amazon ramped up hiring engineers  with robotic skills. The household robot could be trialed in employees’ homes later this year and sold to consumers as soon as 2019.

It’s not really a surprise that robots will be coming to the home. Despite the growth of smart appliances, consumers have been slow to adopt due to the price, length of a lifecycle and question of value.

The robots are coming | KitchAnn Style

According to Natalia Andrievskaya, global director for major appliances at GfK, the market has shifted from a push to a pull in recent years, however, “consumers are unclear how to identify the value of [smart] product features, many of which seem aspirational rather than useful.”

So this makes the idea of a friendly robot rolling around your home a lot more plausible. Hotels and resorts have been implementing robots and AI for a while now.  Many believe the hotel industry will lead the way in human-robot interaction and future robot design.

Robots for the Home | KitchAnn Style
Savioke’s Relay robots makes secure deliveries during peak hours and locates Wi-Fi  and LTE signal problems.

Starting this fall Pepper the robot will start a trial as a care-giving robot. truthfully, there aren’t enough workers to meet the demands of the skyrocketing number of elderly people needing care and companionship around the world.

Robots for the Home | KitchAnn Style
Japanese families have already adopted Pepper into the family

Amazon may be one of the first prominent tech companies to seriously embark on the quest for a domestic robot, but the tech giant already has competition.

What is VUX technology for the kitchen?

Robots for the Home | KitchAnn Style

Kuri the Home Robot received good reviews from the 2018 CES show.  With funding from Bosch’s Startup Platform, Mayfield Robotics has been able to offer a robot for $899 that offers pet-like companionship.

For the future, designers will be challenged to create spaces that are compatible to robot movements. Not only will the robot need to navigate the home, it will also need to successfully maneuver around piles of laundry, school backpacks and sleeping pets.

Robots for the Home | KitchAnn Style
LG Styler

Storage will be another design consideration designers will have to face. Where will these robots recharge? Will they be stored next to other machines such as this LG Styler or the Japanese robot that folds laundry?

Robots for the Home | How will robots move from space to space?

Another obstacle I see will be the future need for electronic doors triggered by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or motion sensors. Homes are not currently wired for electronic doors and adding battery packs may be too cumbersome an obstacle for many homeowners to overcome just to make a small area robot accessible.  But, for the early adopters who can drop $20,000 on a Pepper, what’s a little remodeling?

I really kind of adore the pet-like characteristics of robots – I mean who doesn’t want a BB-8 or an Aibo robotic dog? Like most American’s I am leery about privacy issues and having one company gain so  much data on my preferences and habits.  Where do you weigh in?