“The only thing we have to fear is… fear of the rear itself.” Bidets are back…

‘When Did you and the Bidet First Meet?‘ According to the majority of dictionaries a Bidet is still described as, ‘A small, low bath in which a person washes the lower part of their body.’ That’s exactly how I remember seeing a ‘bidet’ for the first time in a relative’s bathroom. I didn’t have a dictionary to hand, there was no, ‘Okay Google…’ so I figured it was time to introduce myself. With the bathroom door firmly locked I checked out the white stand-alone low-level oval porcelain tub with taps. Positioned between the bath tub and the toilet, why would I even think about shuffling from the WC (with my trousers around my ankles) to go wash my bum? I guessed it was for washing my feet and I did. I ended up using 3 rolls of toilet paper to mop up the shower of water I’d sent cascading across the floor and took five attempts to flush the soggy evidence down the toilet. Departing none the wiser, until my second acquaintance on a trip to France by which time I’d figured it out and finally, in Japan, I got to feel the real deal. The question that struck me most, prior to trying out a bidet was, ‘Why having grown up with toilet paper would I want one?’ But the new bidets are easy to install, hygienic and above all they’re changing peoples perspectives.

Why Bidets Got a Bum Rap. Way before my first encounter, America a big potential market for bidets, had failed to adopt them (the low-level sit and wash version) because they got a bum rap. Many Americans associated the stand-alone bidet with sex-workers, having seen them being used in European brothels during World War II. The question of space and additional plumbing for bidet fixtures in, ‘the smallest room‘ didn’t help its cause either, added to which the use of toilet paper was gathering pace. Travelling even further back in time, long before the Romans sat in their rows of toilets with a ‘sponge on a stick‘ to mop up after themselves, the world was already awash with ‘washers.’ The options for the finishing touches included; stones, leaves, grass, corn cobs, animal furs, sticks, snow, bits of porcelain, seashells or simply your hand.

Toilet Paper is ‘On a Roll.’ The Chinese are credited with inventing the new alternative, toilet paper, as far back as 1391 and by the late fifteenth century it was widely available throughout China. Fast forward to 1596 and, rather like computers, the invention of the modern WC/Toilet provided the hardware for a wider audience. The software sales (toilet paper) took a further 260 years to take off when eventually in 1857, Joseph Gayetty of New York, marketed a modern commercially available toilet paper, ‘Medicated Paper, for the Water-Closet.‘ The first perforated toilet paper rolls were finally introduced in 1890 and by 1930 toilet paper was widely manufactured and ‘splinter free.’ Since then toilet paper has gone ‘on a roll‘ (pun intended) for wipers worldwide as being, ‘The go to, when you go do!‘. The appearance of toilets in every home coupled with improvements to the softness and strength of toilet paper and its extensive sales and marketing went on to influence a social change, and social conditioning in countries like the US and UK (still two of the leading wiper countries.) With bidets (in their original format) failing to take off and get deep enough into the human psyche, the momentum was lost and led to a generation of toilet owners (in the USA, UK, much of Europe and many East Asian countries) becoming keen wipers and subsequently dedicated toilet paper users. Until now that is…

Douche and Dab’ or Wipe. It’s a long time since bidets first appeared in France back in the late 17th century, and although the first flushable toilet was invented in England (1596) WCs/Toilets didn’t gain popularity until 1851. It took approx. 100 years longer to establish themselves in the modern world. In 1980, the first ‘paperless toilet‘ was launched in Japan by manufacturer Toto. Since the 1980s technology, design and functionality have gone on to transform the product, the experience and the accessibility of both toilets and bidets. In regards to ‘wash vs wipe,’ billions of ‘washers‘ around the world had their cleaning experience happily established for ages. In many parts of the world [e.g. South East Asia, The Middle East, India and some European countries] washing has always been the preference over wiping. Their culture is a flip on the way ‘wiping society‘ thinks with our reliance on toilet tissue. For the residents of many nations, washing with either bowls, ‘bum guns’ (washing wands) and/or bidets are ‘the main event,’ the toilet paper is the ‘(back) side show,’ or even a complete no show. In trying to persuade people, it’s far easier to ‘upgrade’ a habitual and established washing method, rather than change the habits of a lifetime, i.e. get them to exchange ‘douche and dab,’ for the waterless wipes with toilet paper. Quite understandably when you put it like that.

Team Wipe vs Team Wash. This has meant that for some while ‘Team Wipe‘ have been sitting on their backsides (so to speak) focussing on how they could upgrade their own experience with things like softer or more eco-friendly tissue options. Meanwhile, manufacturers and designers for ‘Team Wash‘ have been coming up with a range of smart new inventions and health benefits to enhance their offering. You’ll no doubt be familiar with toilets with built in bidets, and functions such as; wash, dry, self-clean, funky lighting, music, automatic seat open and close, health checks and a whole lot more. But hey, I hear you! 😉 ‘That’s all very well but it’s not so easy to make the switch if your current set up is a standard toilet, plus toilet roll holder(s)… and there’s a great range of toilet rolls to choose from these days.’ Okay, let’s get to the bottom of all this.

Changing Your Perspective. The recent panic buying and fear of running out of toilet tissue has been a timely opportunity to grab the wiping world’s attention with alternatives to just using toilet paper. For the toilet paper consumer as it were, trying to sell something to ‘attach to a toilet and wash your butt,’ is no easy task. There have been various attachable bidet patents and inventions dating back to the late 1800s, the most recent appears to be from 2010. Having said that, only in the past few years have ‘attachable bidets‘ begun to get spotted by the ‘wiping community.’ The outbreak of coronavirus led to toilet paper ‘shortages,’ and then the closure of many public toilets left people with another dilemma, ‘how to go on the go.‘ Media attention turned from toilet paper to bidets as a solution with more and more headlines and greater press coverage (yep, there’s even a travel version in case you’re caught short outside). Once the public had embraced the possibilities of a bidet and were loving the buzz of other ‘new’ peripheral toilet temptations (Aesop Post-Poo Drops or Poo-Pourri as examples) the whole bathroom experience began to inspire a new audience, a wider following and a big fan base. Perspective has changed.

The Generation Game Changer. That game-changer (life-changer) for ‘the wipers’ has a lot to do with the coming of age of ‘attachable bidets‘ and for many Millennials and Generation Z they make total sense. With no history, nor necessarily any memory of ye olde off-putting bidets, ‘The Attachables‘ are grabbing their attention, and this generation are technologically immersed, care about planet earth and constantly discussing the endless list of environmental issues. Another advantage, if you rent your home, is that this is an inexpensive way to get a bidet installed, and take it with you anywhere you go. In exploring the world of attachable bidets there are some brilliantly designed alternatives out there, with all sorts of functions for all sorts of people. However, making a bidet appealing enough to promote change isn’t just about what it does, ‘it’s about what it does for you.‘ That vital part of the persuasive process takes a brilliant marketeer [Miki Agrawal] and an innovative new approach [TUSHY.]

Reasons to be Cheerful not Fearful. One of the other reasons for the attachable bidets new resurgence and success is its simplicity, in 10 minutes you can easily convert your current toilet into a bidet and… it looks good too. Costs vary but a ‘classic‘ starts at around $89 (approx. 60-100 rolls in toilet paper money;)) making it very affordable. That’s quite tempting vs the considerably greater expense of having to buy and fit a completely new smart toilet/bidet with wash, dry and other multi-functionality built in. But fear not toilet paper fans, bidets do not necessarily equate to ‘no toilet paper whatsoever’ because with bidet attachments you’ll still need to dry up afterwards. The preferred methods being toilet paper (biodegradable) or bum towels (ideally bamboo in both cases.) After all, whatever age, you’ll still have your toilet rolls (or bum-towels) close to hand. You decide how much toilet paper you use and/or how often you get to use the bidet – so sit back, relax, and… ‘ease your way into your new bidet.

Hello TUSHY. Let’s get back to ‘TUSHY.’ Founded by Canadian born New Yorker Miki Agrawal back in 2015. Miki, CEO Jason Ojalvo and their team have been making a big splash by changing consumer perceptions (and misconceptions) about using a bidet, or ‘making a clean start‘ so to speak. Miki, whose parents are Indian and Japanese (so she knows about bidets and the washing ways) is a disruptive innovator whose marketing approach mixes, ‘hygiene + humour, entertainment + environment‘ which confronts and cuts through traditional taboos and bravely challenges the status quo. ‘TUSHY‘ have jumped the obstacles and put attachable bidets ‘front of mind for your behind.’ Apart from convincing people that using a bidet is the best way to clean your butt, and in spite of the stiff competition, they’ve got a lot of people’s attention! The TUSHY bidet attachment is also environmentally friendly, squeaky clean, saves you money, it’s fun, totally natural to use, and it makes you feel, ‘It’s the way to go if you’re in the know.’

Health, Hygiene and Environment. Environmentally the big plus about bidets is they save water, a lot of water. Another is ‘Trees vs Bamboo’ as millions of trees are cut down to make toilet paper, check our article, ‘Is Wiping our Bottoms Wiping out Forests?’ Bamboo offers a sustainable future. As numerous stats clearly illustrate bidets are good for the environment, healthier and the most hygienic self-care option. But tell that to people a couple of years ago and ‘yer, right!’ The fact is it’s Miki has managed to get that message out there, got it across and got it to stick. The ‘better for you‘ factor is backed up by a long list of positive personal stuff that’s going to benefit us by using one including; not using our hands and/or spreading germs around, avoiding haemorrhoids, washing with water is non-abrasive, it can help with IBS, UTI’s and periods… quite a lot of which gets covered in their most recent (and amusing) advert, ‘Time To Get With The Clean Poop Program, People.’

The TUSHY Talk

Taking the ‘Boo!’ out of ‘Taboo.’ It would be fair to say that in my personal opinion, in terms of converting the unconverted and taking the ‘Boo!‘ out of ‘Taboo,‘ TUSHY (with their bidet attachments, bamboo tp, bum towels and travel bidet) are currently the greatest influence in moving washing back to the no. 1 spot for our no. 2s and suchlike. But there’s another great ‘finishing touch’ to the TUSHY story and that’s the fact Miki Agrawal is also a philanthropist, ‘TUSHY is passionate about fighting the global sanitation crisis and has helped almost 60,000 families gain access to clean toilets in India.’ TUSHY, ‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts… and the hearts of our bottoms!’

We’ll be back in a week or two with another of our independent takes on the world of taboos, loos and no. 2s… As ever do get in touch with any comments or feedback. Have a great weekend! Well be back in a couple of weeks as heading off to our B&B in Corfu to check all’s well.

[All photos in the article are copyright of HelloTUSHY]

‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? This week’s news on loos & no. 2s.

Getting out and about as lockdown eases. Illustration from the children’s book ‘All Animals Poo & We Do Too’ copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

Scoop the Poop. The past few weeks have seen more and more people out and about in the sunshine at parks and beaches. But at the same time public toilets have so far remained shut. This has led to a number of headlines highlighting the growing problem of ‘where to go when there’s nowhere to go’ and what’s subsequently been happening to these well-loved beaches and beauty spots. We’re used to the ‘scoop your poop’ signs and doggy doo’s bags and bins for our pets, but as for us humans? A more tongue in cheek sign at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada recently served to highlight the issue, one that we felt needed to be discussed in this week’s post. Here’s that exact article by Jenny Yuen for The Toronto Sun in which she said, “Ten thousand people, no bathrooms, you do the math.” So we did – see below!

Facebook | Ira Samuel Cohen

Scoop on the Poop. To focus on one country as an example, the UK has approximately 9 million pet dogs. One in four households in the UK has a pet dog, and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poop a day, or 365,000 tonnes a year [Hansard UK Govt.] and that’s about 85,000 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus [The Measure of Things.] Now that your imagination is ignited… That would mean that in theory if the UK population still had to poop their average 4-500 grams a day outside [LiveScience] then at 68 million people, we would be depositing the equivalent weight of approx. 68 million adult Pandas of poop in the open each year. That’s without accounting for the use of tissue to clean up after, which would mean mountains of mess throughout the land and widespread disease. Fortunately for us that’s not the case, but remarkably it is still the case for 1/3rd of the world population.

To be in the Loop. This may seem rather abstract but it helps us to add a perspective on outside pooping, and also introduces the more serious and less publicised point that open defecation (rare in the toilet owning world), is a huge problem for over 1 billion people worldwide [WHO] that still have to ‘go outside.’ An even higher figure if you add those without access to basic sanitation or water, which brings the total to 1 in 3 people globally. Add to that the extraordinary number of diseases associated to this scenario and you may be surprised to learn that those diseases include; cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. According to the WHO diarrhoea remains a major killer (432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually). So far 380,000 deaths have occurred worldwide from coronavirus. But, better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years ‘each year’ from said diseases.

The Big Necessity.‘ There are many resources you can access if you want to know more, and plenty of statistics and eye-opening stories but our ‘take home on this’ is that while the problem is being addressed through a number of determined passionate people and organisations, this is nowhere near enough supported to stop the tragic and yearly consequences from being anywhere near adequately addressed. For what we consider to be one of the most ground-breaking, informative and unforgettable books on the subject, go buy Rose George‘s, ‘The Big Necessity‘ – it’s a fascinating read as she exposes the biggest single unexposed health problem on planet earth.

When Nature Calls. Meanwhile back to where we started, and a few links to get you through the weeks ahead until the public toilets reopen. Stay safe, stay aware and please leave no trace when pooping outside to keep other safe too. As an addendum, we just spotted an article in the Evening Standard by Lezlie Lowe, published today 5th June, entitled, ‘As lockdown eases we need to talk about toilets.’ Here, Lezlie reiterates the comments we’ve made and also those we discussed about improving public toilets for women, link here. Well worth reading as she’s researched the subject far more than we, and do buy her book too, ‘No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.’ The other article that’s popped up since we published was in HuffPost on 6th June, where Sophie Wilkinson writes for ‘Opinion’, ‘Public Toilets Are An Equalities Issue. Why Don’t We Care?‘ Great to see these expert views on the subject.

  1. Huffpost: How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.
  2. Road Trippers: Nature is calling: Here’s how to poop properly in the great outdoors.
  3. A classic list from Adventure Journal: Seven Ways to Poop Outdoors.
  4. The Manual: How to Poop in the Woods: A Guide for When Nature Calls.

We’ll be back again next week.

Catching up on the recent news on loos & no. 2s…

Neanderthal to Now
‘Neanderthal to Now’ Squatting or Sitting on the Throne [from ‘All about Poo’]

Straighten the kink. With the UK Bank Holiday just past, on Friday we were discussing our patents pending for an attractive manufactured accessory to help lift your legs and mimic a squat when you sat on the toilet, straightening our colons. In fact that’s were our banner idea came from (above) ‘Neanderthal to Now.’ Interestingly the subject of how best to poop popped up again yesterday in a UNILAD article, ‘Only 11% Of People Poop The ‘Healthy’ Way, QS Supplies Study Finds‘ by Lucy Connolly. As per our own research and further medical evidence, ‘So then why is the footstool the way to go? Well, while sitting with your feet on the ground might relax the puborectalis muscle slightly, it still takes quite a bit of effort to push the waste through because the position of the rectum is still kinked up. However, if you introduce a footstool and sit with your knees up above the hips, leaning forward slightly, this kink is removed and the faeces is able to empty out quickly and thoroughly.’

Having taken up Friday’s post on that kinky business, we neglected to do our usual round up of the week’s news on loos and no. 2s so here it is:

Worth taking time out to watch… ‘Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest‘ is the grand prize winner of KQED’s Homemade Film Festival. A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper.

With a daily routine of exercising outside being a major help in times of lockdown, news keeps breaking on how people are managing, or not, with the public toilets being closed. So, from HuffPost‘s Doug O’Neill, ‘How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.’

Waiter, there’s a poop in my soup. As practically every living creature poops, we also like to keep updated on their poop news too, so here’s a round up on ‘All Animals Poo and We Do Too’ with some news that may surprise or entertain you, take your pick. Firstly, ‘Shinohara has high hopes for a range of additional insect-based products, including beer made from crickets and a tea made from silkworm excrement.’ On Business Day, ‘Creepy-crawly soup, with silkworm-poo tea.’

Then in no particular order; In Science News, ‘Tapirs may be key to reviving the Amazon. All they need to do is poop‘ by Gloria Dickie. On ABC.net Australia, ‘Fish poo and gut goo are helping scientists eradicate a major pest on the Great Barrier Reef‘ Podcast [7mins] by Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive with Neil Byrne, preceded by some Kangaroo news. ‘This Is Why Magpie Poop Is Black And White‘ Gisela Kaplan for Gismodo. From BBC Earth [on Facebook] see, ‘First Year on Earth: Hyenas have white poo‘ [1min 24]. Death by Poop, ‘Ice Age giant sloths died in a pit of their own poop‘ by Mindy Weisberger for LiveScience. Finally, as it’s been all over the news this past two weeks, we’ve picked EcoWatch, ‘Antarctic Penguin Poop Emits Laughing Gas‘ by Jordan Davidson.

Adventures in the World of Human Waste. On that happy note regarding penguins, we’ll be back on Friday, and the following week we hope to have a catch up on ‘The Big Necessity‘ by Rose George, who in 2008 published the first popular study on the subject of the world of human waste. Apart from highlighting a few remarkable facts and observations from Rose, now, 12 years later what’s changed in solving the single biggest unsolved public health problem on the planet?

Does my Toilet make sense? BBC CrowdScience Podcast

Is it time to reinvent the flush toilet? Take 39 minutes while you’re home to get to know about your toilet. A brilliant podcast from the BBC’s WorldScience on that very topic. First released on May 15th 2020 and featuring Rose George author of the ‘The Big Necessity‘ published in 2009 (available on Amazon) Description: ‘Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, hidden by euphemism, sh*t is rarely out in the open in ‘civilised’ society, but the world of waste – and the people who deal with it, work with it and in it – is a rich one. This book takes us underground to the sewers of NYC and London and overground, to meet the heroes of India’s sanitation movement, American sewage schoolteachers, the Japanese genius at the cutting edge of toilet technology, and the biosolids lobbying team. With a journalist’s nose for story, and a campaigner’s desire for change, Rose George also addresses the politics of this under-reported social and environmental effluent, and the consequences of our reluctance to talk about it. Witty and original, The Big Necessity proves that sh*t doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

We’re beginning to get our sh*t together… with ‘Sewage Epidemiology.’

from Mark's Children's Book series about loos and no. 2s
Image copyright | Hendriksen & Hopson [illustration from the children’s book ‘It’s all about Poo.’]

Most people are aware of what a healthy poop should look like and how it can signal or warn of potential health problems. Taking a look at your daily motion is stage one, then if necessary, with poo samples doctors and scientists take that a stage further by providing detailed analysis of our health and wellbeing. But, until now, few of us had known that our collective poop can show a lot about the health of a community and in doing so help track and trace the likes of coronavirus and other diseases. We touched on the subject of testing in sewers a while back – now it’s among the weekly headlines we’ll go deeper into, ‘How sewage analysis can help track, trace and protect against viruses.’

Following on from an article on May 3rd in The Guardian, ‘Sensor taps and no door handles: Covid-19 shows it’s time to rethink public toilets.’ We got in touch with Maria Centracchio to a) to compliment her on her piece and expand on future challenges for public toilets, and b) to mention ‘the onward journey’ from public toilets in regards to another article where, “The Guardian had reported that scientists are researching how sampling our stools could offer a faster and cheaper way to pinpoint where outbreaks of COVID-19 are brewing before scores of people become seriously ill, either by tracking or detecting remnants of the virus in municipal sewage.

No sooner had I posted my reply to Maria when my (Dutch) wife popped into my office to show me where virus tests can be done without testing people directly in this explanatory video from nu.nl in The Netherlands. The accompanying dialogue basically translates as… “Why they are looking at your stool for traces of coronavirus. The coronavirus has been found in our sewers. But why are we specifically diving into our sewage to find it?‘ You can check out the video here. Interestingly, research out of The Netherlands has shown that the virus’ genetic material, or RNA [RNA is one of the three major biological macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life, along with DNA and proteins] can be detected in wastewater (faecal matter) as much as two weeks before the first diagnosis of a sick patient by a doctor.

However, wastewater testing per sae is nothing new as it has been used for drug testing for some while. This can be seen, for example, in the work of The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. But with COVID-19 the breadth of testing via wastewater has stepped up. An article from Applied and Environmental Microbiology illustrates how much research and potential this type of analysis holds, (provided courtesy of the American Society for Microbiology [ASM] and released back in 2014) ‘Detection of Pathogenic Viruses in Sewage Provided Early Warnings of Hepatitis A Virus and Norovirus Outbreaks.’ In fact it might beggar the question as to why governments appear not to have picked up on this somewhat earlier. Nevertheless, to get under the lid of just how impactful wastewater testing may potentially be, take a look at the media links on BioBotGlobal leaders in wastewater epidemiology, whose mission is to transform wastewater infrastructure into public health observatories, where millions of dollars are being invested to establish just how effective this particular type of test could be.

Sewage epidemiology is now being used around the world, and although The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that the ‘COVID-19 virus, does not readily spread through sewage and wastewater systems. But like other microbes, non-infectious genetic residues of the virus can remain in wastewater systems in the locations where infected people go to the toilet. Add the work of other major organisations into the mix, such as The Water Research Foundation who held a summit on ‘Environmental Surveillance of COVID-19 Indicators in Sewersheds’ at the end of April. Then also the numerous universities around the world and you get a growing list of researchers in The NetherlandsFranceThe USA and Australia who have been testing sewage for SARS-CoV-2 for over a month now, and generally reported that the rise and fall of their results reflect officially reported local rates of infection with COVID-19.

Another resource is The Toilet Board Coalition, ‘The Toilet Board Coalition has expanded its reach to proactively call for catalysing innovations and new business models that fill the gaps needed to leapfrog to next generation sanitation systems.’ As mentioned above, using sewage to detect viruses like COVID-19 as early as possible is gathering increased interest as the chart below [copyright Toilet Board Coalition] helps to illustrate.

The important point in all this is the more studies that take place, the closer we may be to finding a truly effective way of making the difference we all seek with a new weapon against COVID-19. As part of next week’s post, we’ll look at how human faeces is being used for health, fertilizer, fuel and even ‘sh*tting bricks,’ plus get back up to date on the latest news on loos and no. 2s here at, ‘The Daily Poo!’