Bidets - Just an International Phenomenon?
Invented in France in the late 17th century, it is speculated that the bidet was created by Christophe Des Rosiers, a furniture maker for the French Royal Family. Although appearing similar in design to the toilet, the bidet is actually more comparable to a washbasin or bathtub.
While most Americans may find the idea of using a bidet a bit grotesque, there are several health benefits to using a bidet. These appliances are actually ideal for those with limited mobility, such as the elderly, pregnant, and disabled to maintain cleanliness in instances when using a bathtub or shower may be uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even dangerous. In fact, according to healthcare professionals at Columbia University, bidets are much more hygienic than toilet paper use alone, and many bidet manufacturers believe that bidets can significantly conserve paper and reduce septic tank cleanout.
Unfortunately, the widespread use of bidets in this country hasn't caught on yet partly because many Americans are often squeamish about their certain personal hygiene habits and also because of price. Resistance to bidet usage in the United States may be due to the perception of the uncleanliness of the device (although residents of countries like Greece or France where bidet usage is universal will wholeheartedly disagree). In terms of bidet prices in the United States, some bidet-like toilet attachments can be relatively inexpensive, but it is also not uncommon to see top-of-the-line, digitally controlled bidets costing up to $1,000.
Thankfully, because bidet attachments are becoming increasingly popular with the aging community, many hospitals and nursing homes are seeing its merits in helping to maintain hygiene. This increased popularity is also helping to lower the prices of these units, and many high-tech models offer features such as built-in filters, heated seats, and even dryers. Perhaps this increased awareness of the hygienic benefits that a bidet provides over standard toilet paper use will result in even more Americans adapting the use of these appliances into their everyday hygiene routine.