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Will Americans ever adopt bidet toilet seats?

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If you’ve ever used a bidet, you know the benefits—starting with the fact that the use of a bidet allows you to be cleaner after each use than toilet paper alone can accomplish. Plus, using a bidet will allow you to be a little greener—less toilet paper is required when you’re cleaning yourself after using the restroom.

But if you haven’t, you’re not so different from the majority of Americans.

Though it was crude in the beginning, the use of bidets was first introduced by the French. Back then, it was just a bowl that one could squat over. Later, it evolved into a separate porcelain fixture that had its own faucets, but it still required the user to straddle it. It remained in bedrooms until around the mid-1900s.

Around the middle of the 20th century when modern plumbing became the norm, American toilet manufactures improved the design and function of bidets, offering a way to permanently install the device in bathrooms—but the American culture didn’t fully adopt the idea and manufacturers were shipping them to other countries, primarily in Europe.

Both men and women can safely and comfortably use a bidet. In addition to the hands-free factor, a bidet offers a germ-free way to get and stay cleaner.

“The common toilet seat has developed into something more extraordinary than just something to sit on,” according to a statement by bidetsPLUS, a California-based company which sells the advanced version of the toilet. “Before the electronic bidet, toilets served only one purpose – to flush and refill for the next person. But just by adding this simple attachment, toilet seats are now more advanced than ever.”

The bidet can also be useful for quick cleanup after workouts, sexual activity and even when you don’t have time to take a shower but want to freshen up quickly.

Senior citizens, those who are disabled and those with impaired motor functions are embracing use of the bidet more often today, and many say that it’s become an important part of their regular hygiene routines.

“Persons who have or want to help prevent various medical conditions such as hemmorrhoids, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, gastrointestinal cancers, prostatitis, urinary tract infections, gynecologic problems and various other ailments that affect the genital and rectal areas,” says an eBay report on bidets. “Also women who want more effective feminine hygiene during pregnancy or menstrual periods.”

But the bidet isn’t just for those who have health concerns—in fact, these convenient devices can help already-healthy people stay healthy and feel really clean at the same time.

“After all, what could be cleaner than actually washing oneself after using the bathroom? Relying on toilet paper is often insufficient, and not only does extra TP usage mean toilet clogging is more common, it is clearly wasteful to use TP for a job that's beyond its powers,” says Mother Nature Network’s Starre Vartan. “Bidets are a far greener solution to using reams of extra toilet paper to make sure you're clean.”

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