Lifestyles by Estelia… Day of the Bidet
Have you heard of Toto, the Japanese company that pioneered the modern electronic toilet seat? For those of you who associated the name Toto with Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, this Toto is a whole other story.
In 1980 Toto began marketing the Washlet – a high-tech toilet that is now more common in Japanese households than home computers. It became available in the United States in 1989 but it took another 20 years for mainstream vendors like Home Depot and Lowes to embrace the technology and for prices to come down enough for average customers. (FYI: In addition to the general prudishness about discussing the way we clean ourselves, some people worried about the high-tech toilets’ requirement that a grounded electrical outlet be near-by.)
A bidet is an experience-driven product that is hard to explain to someone who has never tried a high-tech toilet. But the taboo is beginning to lift as people try them and become more interested.
There are roughly 1.5 million high-tech toilets in use in the United States and millions more featuring more basic, nonelectric, water-cleansing methods such as attachments and sprayers. Vendors say that bidets are most popular in larger East and West coast cities and seem to be gaining ground among baby boomers, caregivers for the elderly and those who are interested in high-tech and environmentally friendly products.