Wash and Go
I’m getting complaints in the bathroom department; the level of service Greenmum is providing is just not up to scratch. And the reason? I’ve bought value loo roll. ‘We have to make savings somewhere,’ I explain blithely. ‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘It’s like sandpaper,’ he says. ‘I’ve got a delicate bottom.’ I say I’ll upgrade if he uses less on a visit.
In fact, this proposal is not just beneficial to the Greenwood’s snowboarding fund (see page *) but to the whole entire world. Planet Earth is losing 9 million trees a year to bottom wiping, that’s 27,000 trees a day. Each roll we decadently spin through uses 37 gallons of water in manufacture, 1.5 pounds of wood, 1.3 KWh of electricity and a glug of unfriendly bleach, not to mention transportation and retail and the resources to unblock pipes in our aged sewer system.
But what’s the alternative?
In Japan, 70% of households have water spray features incorporated in their toilet seats; top of the range models come with warm air drying and retractable cleaning wands; gulp. In Venezuela, the number of households with bidets is as high as 90%.
But really? Bidets in the UK? The humble bottom fountain is something one encounters on holiday, moderately useful for washing sandy feet. And anyway, how on earth do you actually use them? I google a bit and ask my friend Janet who’s got one in her rental apartment in Turkey.
‘It’s surprisingly good,’ she says. ‘I’d consider getting one at home.’
‘It was my brother who told me about it and it’s very refreshing,’ says Arlene on Amazon. Another review says, ‘I will never go back’. As she gave the product 5 stars I presume she means to wiping, not to the bidet.
I won’t provide detailed instructions, you can find those on the internet, but basically: you ‘go’, you wipe briefly (for number twos), you allow the jet to do its stuff (no hands needed), then you blow dry (hi tech version) or pat dry (if not). You still use tissue, but not as much.
Environmentally, this makes sense: a bidet uses water, but not as much as the toilet paper manufacturing process and then there are forest, electricity, bleach and sewage savings to consider.
If you’re still not convinced, 44% of British men reported they’re not good at wiping and when Good Morning America tested public transport seats on a trip from Washington DC to San Francisco they found 50% contaminated with faecal matter. I’m done here.
When the other half returns from his trip to Ireland, I’ve got a surprise for his delicate bottom. Bidet attachments cost as little as £9.99 on Amazon (with an excellent recommendation from Arlene and her brother). I just need to make sure he’s not sitting down when I tell him.