Toilet Paper vs. Bidet – Which Is Better? (Pros & Cons)

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Toilet paper is one of the most common bathroom essentials. Although there are many other alternatives used around the world,  in most US homes, it’s the standard for wiping and even a go-to from butts to small spills or to wipe clean a bathroom vanity. Toilet paper comes in different types, including texture, design, type of paper, and even color. We even use sometimes toilet paper for wiping or cleaning things outside the bathroom.

One of these alternative modern bathroom tools for getting your privates clean is a bidet. While there are several types of bidets, including wall-mounted ones, the easiest way to test one out in your bathroom is to use a bidet toilet seat attachment. You can  While this might seem obvious to many people around the world (some American’s are still mystified by the concept) let’s just be clear exactly what a bidet does – like a toilet paper, a bidet can clean the anus, inner buttocks, perineum, and genitalia but uses a stream of water.

Although bidets may seem more helpful to use, other users might still opt for the conventional way of cleaning their privates. To identify which is better for you, let’s find out the pros and cons of toilet paper and bidets.

Toilet Paper vs Bidet 

Pros & Cons of Toilet Paper

Advantages of Toilet Paper

Toilet paper with smile prints
Toilet paper with smile prints (Image: Carola68)

 1. Low cost 

Unlike a bidet that has a large upfront cost and may require professional plumbing and installation, toilet paper is a cheap bathroom essential that is readily available to consumers and can be easily replenished.  Depending on the cost of the average water bill in your area, some could argue that it’s cheaper than the water used by a bidet.

Shoppers can also further reduce the cost of toilet paper by buying in bulk or signing up for automated ordering options such as Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. Buying a typical pack of 4 rolls will end up being more expensive per roll than buying a mega pack of 60 double rolls.  Of course, the decision will depend on how many people are in your household and how much toilet paper you want to stock at home at one time versus the cost savings.

2. Handy

As briefly mentioned earlier, toilet paper is very handy to carry when traveling or even when you’re at work. To make it less bulky in your bag, you can get the cardboard paper roll and then compress the toilet paper gently. Place it in a small plastic roll bag to make sure it doesn’t get damaged or dirty when mixed with other things in your bag. It’s also very light, so adding weight to your hand-carry bag will not be a problem.

If you don’t want to caught in a public toilet without a supply of pape you can simply get some of it and fold it inside your bag, pocket or purse. Although there is such a thing as a travel or portable bidet, realistically it’s not as handy as toilet paper. 

3. Easily Available

One good thing about toilet paper is it’s found all over including convenience stores, supermarkets, and drug stores. If you run out at some odd hour,  you can simply stop by a convenience store and buy a few.

When you’re in an emergency situation where you are in a crowded place, need to clean spills or a parent changing a diaper and forgot the baby wipes, there’s a good chance the closest public bathroom will be stocked with toilet paper.

Disadvantages of Toilet Paper 

A person holding toilet paper
A person holding toilet paper (Image: Jasmin_Sessler)

1. Increases the Risks of Allowing Germs in Your Hands

Although toilet paper is very handy, it also increases the chances of coming into contact with germs from your urine and stool and increases the chance of staying on your hands if you don’t wash them properly. Germs found in your hands can easily get inside your body when you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.

The risk of having germs from using toilet paper is even higher when you don’t store it properly, making it vulnerable to dirt and other bad elements. Single-ply toilet paper or those with very thin sheets of paper can also make your hands dirty when wiping wet surfaces, as liquid easily absorbs in it and leaks to your hands.

2. Not Good for the Environment

Toilet paper might easily decompose, but it’s still made from trees. A single tree can create 200 rolls of toilet paper, not to mention that there are more than 80 million rolls manufacturers produce daily.

This production process is obviously hurting our forests. Another concern with toilet paper production is it uses water, where 99.5% of paper stock is water. Not only that, but you also have to consider that trees need water. This makes water a very essential part of toilet paper production.

Used toilet paper can also add to water and land pollution because it still needs time to decompose. It’s also a problem for septic systems as it clogs septic filters and when used in excess fills the tank faster than it can biodegrade – requiring your tank to be pumped which gets expensive. 

3. Does Not Guarantee Thorough Cleaning

Using toilet paper to clean yourself after pooping won’t guarantee 100% cleaning. Some small amounts of fecal matter can still stick to the skin in the surrounding area.

This can increase the risk of accumulating germs and could lead to diseases. The accumulated germs can also get into the reproductive organ of a female’s body.

Aside from that, the skin may get irritated from repeated wiping, especially if you’re using a toilet paper material that’s a little rough. While there is toilet paper for sensitive skin and people with allergies, on the market that can help alleviate the problem, repeated wiping is still often a cause for irritation.

People that are used to using a bidet often comment that when using toilet paper they feel they still need to use water to get a better clean.

Pros & Cons of Bidets

Advantages of Bidets

Bidet beside the toilet
Bidet beside the toilet (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

1. Better Hygiene

One great benefit of the bidet is to ensure thorough cleaning of your butt and genital area. A bidet only uses a stream of water to completely remove waste residue that might get stuck in the area.

If you’ve never used a bidet before you may be pleasantly surprised how refreshed you feel after washing the area clean as well, maintaining and improving the overall hygiene.

2. Reduces Plumbing Problems

Toilet paper is one of the main culprits to toilets getting clogged. Because bidets eliminate the need for toilet paper, they can nearly eliminate toilet clogs.

Apart from the hassle of getting out the plunger or worse – having to call a professional plumber and pay their ever-rising hourly rates.

3. Environmental Friendly

The removal of the use of toilet paper in the bathroom helps the environment considering trees and water used during the production of every roll of toilet paper.

It also prevents the disposal of used toilet paper from contributing to land and water pollution. You can also avoid the bleaching process used in creating toilet paper that is very damaging to the environment because of the chemicals used. While there is lots of non-bleached toilet paper on the market, much of it is still bleached to the pearly white color we associate with cleanliness.

A bidet only uses water compared to toilet paper that uses lots of water in its production and then again to flush it (sometimes multiple flushes) down the drain. You can easily control the amount of water you use with a bidet- so you can definitely save on usage.

Disadvantages of Toilet Bidets

1. Up Front Costs

The initial costs of installing a bidet at home are more expensive than buying packs of toilet paper. However, unlike frequent restocking of toilet paper, buying a bidet is a one-time investment that should last years. Full-sized bidets have a useful life similar to a porcelain toilet and bidet toilet seats or attachments should only need to be replaced about as often as a standard toilet seat.  

Although there are lower prices for bidets as well as seats or affordable bidet attachments, the cost of a full-sized bidet starts from $250, with $1,000 or more. Aside from that, the bidet might need professional installation which raises the cost considerably. 

You can opt for high-end bidets or full-blown smart toilets like the Toto Washlet that include additional features you can benefit from like pre-mist, heated toilet seats, and air dryers.  

2. Less Convenient

One noticeable disadvantage of traditional bidets is it is less convenient than having only one toilet. You basically have to transfer to another toilet seat to wash. 

Aside from that, people with mobility issues might find it difficult to transfer from one toilet to another or might find it hard to generally use bidets. The structure of bidets is also different from the regular toilet, so other users might not be comfortable with it.

The installation of it can also cause hassle as well because it’s something new and many of us are unaware of how it works entirely. You might need to call for a professional plumber to help with the installation, which causes hassle and adds cost.

This has been mostly resolved in the last decade with the wide availability of bidet toilet seats and bidet attachments that eliminate the problem of having separate toilet and bidet.

3. Takes Up Space

If you have a small bathroom at home, installing a full-sized bidet might not be the best option for you. It takes up quite a bit of space, which you can use for other bathroom fixtures or tools.

A bidet in your bathroom might also cause you to be careful with your movements, especially if you have a small space. You might hit yourself with it, which can hurt.

Another thing is you have to install the bidet near the toilet, so it’s easier for you to transfer. So, if you’re adding it to your bathroom, it can significantly affect the interior design of the space.

It may not be a good addition to the decorative value in your bathroom if you don’t have the space to accommodate an extra plumbing fixture in an already tight space.

Again, as with the last point, this is no longer a major issue since many toilets can now be retro-fitted with a bidet sprayer or seat.

4. House Guests

Guests visiting your house may be somewhat perplexed by a bidet if they’ve never used one. It can also be an uncomfortable conversation for you to detail the steps of using one. If you regularly have guests over you may have to stock a supply of toilet paper and have it available for those that don’t feel comfortable using a bidet. 

Conclusion

With the different pros and cons of toilet paper and bidet, you can better assess which one is better for your family’s use. For consumers that don’t have the budget for a bidet, using toilet paper might be a good option.

For those who want to get rid of toilet paper and prefer to use water for cleaning instead, bidets are a wonderful choice. Just make sure to consider your budget, convenience, and quality of use when deciding for a purchase.

You may also help to read about some of the myths about bidets here. Start weighing your options now and re-check if toilet paper or a bidet is best for you long term!

 

Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons

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