Bidets Versus Toilet Paper – Hygiene, Health and the Environment

The Benefits of Using a Bidet.

Are bidets better for your body than toilet paper?  This question has haunted toilet users since toilet paper first entered the ring way back in 1857. 

Find out how bidets completely dominate toilet paper in these three aspects:

Sanitation|Health and Wellness|Environment

  • Are Bidets More Sanitary Than Using Toilet Paper?

There is a quote floating around the internet regarding wiping our bottoms with toilet paper; it goes something like “if you found some fecal matter anywhere else on your body, would you be content with just wiping at it with tissue until you couldn’t see it anymore?”

I certainly wouldn’t, and I’m sure you wouldn’t, either.Bidets keep your rear much cleaner than toilet paper, washing away waste.A typical bidet will reduce the amount of wiping done with toilet paper (or eliminate wiping completely), which will keep your hands cleaner than the alternative.

This is the single most substantial way that bidets can keep you cleaner and healthier.  Do you ever find yourself using an ungodly amount of toilet paper after going #2? You wipe and wipe (sometimes the toilet paper rips….ugh)  with very little evidence of making much progress until you decide, “well, this is as good as it’s going to get”.   Not only are your hands now filthy with fecal bacteria, you can severely irritate or damage the sensitive skin around your anus with excessive wiping.

Cleansing with water is more effective than wiping with paper alone.

In a recent study (2005) done in an American nursing home, the instances of UTIs (urinary tract infections) decreased in patients who used a bidet versus those who didn’t. Think of a car with mud on it, sure, you can wipe it off with a towel or tissue, but there will still be a film of grime where you wiped.  Now, get out your hose and wet that same area; it will do a much better job of removing the dirt.  While not an exact comparison, the water from a bidet will reduce the amount of fecal bacteria left to multiply and spread, however, the jury is still out on how much more effective it really is in this regard as the number of peer-reviewed studies on the subject is lacking.

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  • Can a Bidet Improve My Health and Wellness?

Bidets are a fantastic way to improve the health of your derriere.  The way a bidet cleans is the key to their superiority over toilet paper.  Gentle water has some expected and surprising benefits when it comes to your skin.A bidet can provide some surprising health benefits compared to toilet paper.Bidets decrease the chance of infection from fecal bacteria (if properly used!).

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that repeatedly rubbing paper on the sensitive skin of our rear ends can cause some uncomfortable and unhealthy conditions.  Friction and fecal matter don’t mix well; sometimes we wipe a bit too much or too hard, causing micro-tears which are quickly filled with fecal bacteria.  This, in turn, can lead to rashes and infections.  A properly used bidet can prevent this, as well as provide a host of other health and wellness benefits.

Gentle spraying with warm water has therapeutic effects on hemorrhoids, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Doctors recommend treating hemorrhoids by sitting in a warm bath for up to 15 minutes three times a day, as well as after every bowel movement (while this can help with the pain and irritation, it won’t cure the underlying issue, although it will help speed the healing process).  A bidet with a warm water option can accomplish the same thing.  While it isn’t recommended to sit on the toilet, spraying your undercarriage for 15 minutes (too much spraying with a high pressure setting can remove helpful bacteria in the region and inhibit healing and may lead to another infection or other problem), a brief rinse with warm water from your bidet will still go a long way towards feeling better and alleviating your hemorrhoid, anal fissure or other anal rash symptoms.  As a bonus, warm water is also used to treat constipation, which in itself can be a cause of hemorrhoids when people strain themselves on the toilet.

Toilet paper is full of harmful chemicals that are needed for its production.

When you think of paper, you usually think of trees.  Now, if you imagine a ground-up tree, do you envision a pile of white pulp that will make perfect, white paper?  The idea is silly.  So, how do paper companies make their toiler paper white?  They bleach it with chlorine.  Chlorine bleaching can create some scary chemicals as it reacts with organic molecules (dioxins and furans are two carcinogenic chemicals you can find in white toilet paper.  Dioxin was the dominant toxic component in Agent Orange).  These chemicals can very easily enter the body through the thin, sensitive skin they are used to wipe.  Using a bidet can eliminate or dramatically decrease the amount of carcinogens found in toilet paper that the average person is exposed to.

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  • Are Bidets Better for the Environment?

Annually, Americans rip, wipe and tear through 36.5 billion (yes, billion!) rolls of toilet paper.  Can the popularization of bidets help curb the waste?Bidets can go a long way towards helping our forests and environment at large.The true cost of toilet paper isn’t measured only in trees.

According to Scientific American, Americans use enough toilet paper every year equal to about 15 million trees to produce.  That isn’t all; you can’t just simply turn a tree into paper.  Along with the millions of trees, nearly 473.6 billion gallons of water are used in the manufacturing, as well as 253,000 tons of chlorine used to turn the paper its pristine white color.  We aren’t done yet.  The energy requirements are also staggering, coming in at 17.3 terawatts needed for the manufacturing alone (not to mention transportation, packaging and storage energy costs).  To put this in perspective, the whole world is using about 12 terawatts of power on average (that means that right now, the world is drawing approximately that amount of power to keep everything up and running).  That number includes ALL energy expenditures, not just electricity being produced at power plants.  Think of all the cars, trucks, trains and ships that factor into that statistic.  Making toilet paper is extremely costly, in time, energy and natural resources.

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