Toilet paper's been hard to come by these days. With millions of Americans under shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, households have taken to hoarding -- stocking up big time on things like canned goods, frozen foods, and, you got it, paper products.
The move has left store shelves empty and many families scrambling for an alternative.
Could the bidet be that very option? According to reports, the European cleaning fixture is picking up steam in the U.S.
TUSHY, a bidet start-up based in New York, has had a tenfold jump in sales over the last few weeks, according to its CEO, Jason Ojalvo. Another manufacturer -- Hygiene for Health -- saw demand for its GoBidet model surge 50% in March.
Brondell, yet another bidet company, reported a sales increase of 300% since all this began. A company spokesperson told Business Insider it raked in $100,000 in just a single day last month.
The future of bidets
Though grocery stores and toilet paper manufacturers have done their best to put shoppers' fears at ease, it's likely bidets will continue to see an uptick as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens and more Americans are ordered home.
The question is: Will they be permanent fixtures in U.S. properties, or will their popularity die off once the health emergency -- and resulting TP shortage -- comes to a close?
There's no telling, but according to experts interviewed by Kitchen & Bath Design News, bidets and self-cleansing toilets were already trending before all this occurred. And for builders, fix-and-flippers, and multifamily developers who weren't considering these fixtures previously, there's plenty of reason to give them a second look once the dust settles.
Here are just a few of the benefits that bidets can offer property owners and tenants:
- Reduced waste: Bidets cut down on the amount of paper waste your property produces, and they can also reduce your chances of clogged pipes and other expensive plumbing problems caused by too much TP.
- A lower environmental footprint: Bidets use only an eighth of a gallon of water. But a single roll of toilet paper? It takes up to 37 gallons to make -- not to mention the many trees killed in the process.
- A more marketable property: Bidets can also save your tenants money -- plain and simple. Toilet paper doesn't come cheap (often $10 to $20 for a multipack), and paying for a quick spray of water could likely save them hundreds of dollars across a single year.
Bidets aren't expensive, either. There are a few different options, from standalone ones that act as entirely new fixtures to handheld bidets, bidet attachments, and simple toilet seat bidets. You can get a basic attachment model for just $30 on Amazon -- hardly a game changer for most budgets.
The bottom line
Bidets clearly have their place in the current climate, but will they stick around for the long haul? There's a chance.
With the benefits they offer both property owners and their tenants, as well as the ease with which they can be installed, bidets just may be the next must-have bathroom fixture well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.