The battle of the bidet and toilet paper is standard in Western parts of the world. In some non-Western regions, many people have made the switch from toilet paper to bidets. This is due to them being a lot more hygienic.
In Western regions where toilet paper is more common than bidets, there are still some benefits. Just like the bidet offers versatility, so can toilet paper. Toilet paper can be medicated to soothe any anal discomfort. It can also be scented to mask any odors among other things.
The method you decide to use depends, at the end of the day, on your personal preferences. If you are unsure, though, the below will help guide you through the process of choosing one.
Using Bidets and Toilet Paper: The Basics
Bidets are standalone structures with a porcelain basin. They come equipped with a faucet attached to the back of them for cleaning. The temperature of the water is adjustable since bidets are hooked up to your plumbing system.
You can get a bidet toilet seat instead of the standalone fixture that has an attached spray nozzle. Using a bidet is an additional step to cleaning yourself after using the toilet.
Using toilet paper in Western countries is a commonality. Toilet paper usually comes in a roll and is a dry method of cleaning yourself.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Bidets
With the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of bidets.
Advantage #1: It’s Eco-Friendly
Some people may argue that bidets waste more water than just using toilet paper. However, the amount of water a bidet uses is trivial compared to how much water it takes to produce toilet paper.
Bidets only use about 1/8 gallon of water per use. A single roll of toilet paper uses as much as 37 gallons. With Americans using 34 million rolls of toilet paper every day, it is clear that bidets don’t come close to wreaking as much havoc on the environment.
Advantage #2: Cleans Thoroughly
A bidet uses a stream of water that is aimed directly at your bottom. Some bidet toilet seats have an extra nozzle in the front for women to use. The pressure of the stream can be conveniently adjusted on bidet toilet seats. The force from the stream cleans fecal matter thoroughly instead of smearing it like toilet paper.
Using a bidet toilet seat is also an excellent way for pregnant women, the elderly, and those unable to move around easily because it offers greater mobility.
Advantage #3: Less Clogged Toilets
Some people allow themselves to air-dry after using a bidet. However, a lot of people pat themselves dry with toilet paper. Since you’ll be using less toilet paper, you won’t have as many clogs. This means a lot less time spent using a plunger and less money spent on plumbing issues.
Disadvantage #1: Installation Cost and Space
If you choose a standard bidet, they have to be installed separately from your toilet. You’d need to find a professional plumber who can get the job done for you. This can cost you up to $1,000. A standalone bidet also needs a certain amount of space to fit building code regulations.
If you have a small bathroom, you’ll most likely run into issues here.
While you can get a bidet toilet seat popularized by Toto, it will still cost you a decent chunk of money.
Disadvantage #2: Bidets Don’t Clean the Bowl
A topic that is often forgotten about during the conversation of the bidet is the cleanliness of the bowl.
When using toilet paper, the friction of it is enough to clean off most of the fecal remnants. The water pressure of bidets, however, is usually not strong enough to be able to remove all residue. This leaves you reaching for your toilet brush more times than you’d like to.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Toilet Paper
Moving on, let’s zoom in closer on why to use (and why not to use) toilet paper.
Advantage #1: Avoids Direct Contact with Waste
By using toilet paper, you will be avoiding direct contact with fecal matter. This ensures that harmful germs don’t get passed from your hands to your mouth or other surfaces you may come into contact with.
This is great for the prevention of harmful bacteria like E-coli.
Advantage #2: Comes in Many Varieties
Toilet paper is sometimes designed with embossment as an additional aid for cleaning. Some toilet paper is scented to help mask tough odors.
Using toilet paper with medicated elements like anti-bacterial compounds can combat harmful germs. Some brands even add aloe to their product to soothe the skin that may be irritated from a bowel movement.
Disadvantage #1: Doesn’t Thoroughly Clean You
Since you aren’t using water to rinse off, you are essentially just smearing around the waste. Even with an embossed toilet paper, you can’t get fully clean. You may not only have waste sticking around back there but may also have traces of toilet paper.
Not being properly clean puts you at a greater risk for contracting UTIs or other bacterial infections.
Disadvantage #2: Can Be Uncomfortable
People with hemorrhoids or anal fissures may find using toilet paper to be quite uncomfortable. You can also cause small tears if you wipe aggressively.
Chances are you’re wiping aggressively because you’re finding it difficult to clean yourself properly.
Bidet vs. Toilet Paper: The Three Big Questions
Lastly, let’s answer three of the most commonly asked questions – and the main comparison points – in the bidet vs. toilet paper battle.
Which Is More Cost-Friendly?
On average, Americans spend $182 on toilet paper annually. Over a lifetime, that’s almost $13,000 spent on toilet paper alone.
A standalone bidet costs, on average, $1,000 including installation. A bidet toilet seat costs, at most, $1,000 but tends to range from $200 to $450.
The bidet is the clear winner here. There is admittedly a higher initial cost, but throughout your lifetime, you’ll be saving thousands of dollars due to the much lower amount of toilet paper you will use.
Which Is More Hygienic?
Bidets actually rinse you off, and the water’s pressure helps remove any residue left on you. They have amazingly been proven to prevent UTIs in women. The spray nozzle cleans off bacteria from the anus and prevents it from entering the urethra.
Toilet paper leaves fecal matter behind and sometimes even bits and pieces of itself. It has not been proven to prevent any feminine health issues or infections and, at times, is actually the culprit.
The bidet is a clear winner here since it thoroughly cleans you getting rid of all traces of potentially harmful bacteria.
Which Is More Environmentally-Friendly?
When using a bidet, you’ll use a considerably smaller amount of toilet paper. You may not use any at all! Toilet paper plays a role in damaging the environment by destroying forests and using an insane amount of water to produce one roll.
Toilet paper also clogs your toilet more often. This means you’ll have to use even more water because of excess flushing. Approximately two gallons of water is used per flush.
Bidets will prevent your toilet from clogging and only use 1/8 gallon of water per use, making them a lot more eco-friendly than toilet paper.
Toilet paper is an excellent choice for those who may have limited access to water. It is also ideal for people who enjoy scented or embossed products. If you’re concerned about leaving a mess behind in your toilet bowl, toilet paper will give you peace of mind since it will effectively clean the bowl.
If you are pregnant, elderly, or have mobility issues, a bidet toilet seat is a great option for you. Bidets are great for people who want an eco-friendly choice that will keep them cleaner overall. They are also excellent for people who want to save money in the long run.