Why You Should Definitely Get a Bidet

Cristian Storto Fotografia/ iStock via Getty Images Plus
Cristian Storto Fotografia/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Other cultures may love the bidet, but Americans have long been loath to give their butts a good wash after pooping. But, if we’re going to get down and dirty about it, bidets can vastly improve your bathroom life—and for a relatively low price, too.

Mental Floss took a test run with a toilet-mounted bidet from Tushy, a company of "toilet crusaders" founded in 2014 that sells non-electric bidet attachments. Tushy's main models include "Spa" (includes warm water and cool water; $109) or "Classic" (one temperature setup; $79). We tested the cold-water-only device, because hooking hot water up to the attachment requires open access from your toilet to the pipes under your sink. Our verdict? Once you get used to it, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Who doesn’t want a little cold spray to wake up in the morning?

As promised, the installation was relatively simple. Even with no previous knowledge of where toilet water even came from, this first-time plumber was able to install the splitter that allows you to channel water to both your toilet tank and the bidet (without mixing the two). The bidet comes with Teflon plumber’s tape, which is used to seal the joints where the parts connect. (Full disclosure: For a hot second during installation it seemed like no amount of tape would stop the water from spraying out of the connection between the hoses, but eventually the magic sealing tape worked and the water stopped leaking onto the bathroom floor.) A month later, the amateur plumbing job has held, so the easy-installation claim gets a thumbs-up.

The addition of that adjustable spray of water to a bathroom routine is, quite honestly, eye-opening. So fresh! So clean! Without getting too gross, it’s the difference between cleaning off your muddy rain boots with a hose or wiping them with a paper towel. For ladies, it’s a more pleasant way to get through the mess of a period, and if you’re spending a lot of time sitting on the pot, using water is a great way to avoid unwanted toilet paper chafe. Since you'll be using less toilet paper, using a bidet also saves you money (especially if you rent your home and your landlord pays your water bill).

At first blush it might seem like the extra water a bidet uses with each flush would be wasteful, but compared to the manufacturing of toilet paper, a bidet is gentler on the environment. According to one estimate, it takes 37 gallons of water to create a single roll of toilet paper, and Tushy reports that Americans use 57 sheets of toilet paper every day. Compare that to the 1.3 gallons of water a week it takes for the typical user to splash themselves with the bidet, and the winner is clear.

Lest you leave the restroom dripping wet, a little bit of toilet paper is necessary to dry yourself after using the bidet. But if you are really looking to be eco-friendly, Tushy sells towels to replace your toilet paper. For someone who has used toilet paper for decades, the prospect of wiping your bum with a reusable towel (especially one that’s 100 percent bamboo fiber and soft enough to become your favorite face cloth) is horrifying. How is this sanitary?

In search of answers, Mental Floss reached out to the company’s PR team. According to Tushy’s Elliot Friar, many people who have “mastered using Tushy” only wash their towels every few days. If you clean yourself thoroughly with the bidet, the only thing standing between you and truly green washroom habits is your own adherence to cultural bathroom norms. “They're definitely something new and go against the booty belief systems we've created as a culture for hundreds of years,” Friar says.

In short: If you love your butt, get the bidet. A Japanese toilet that heats up and plays music may be overkill, but you can find bidet attachments on Amazon for as low as $30. Tushy’s bidets are more stylish than your average attachment, and the price reflects that. Either way, your bum and Mother Nature will thank you.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

This article originally ran in 2016.

Mental Floss's Three-Day Sale Includes Deals on Apple AirPods, Sony Wireless Headphones, and More

Apple
Apple

During this weekend's three-day sale on the Mental Floss Shop, you'll find deep discounts on products like AirPods, Martha Stewart’s bestselling pressure cooker, and more. Check out the best deals below.

1. Apple AirPods Pro; $219

Apple

You may not know it by looking at them, but these tiny earbuds by Apple offer HDR sound, 30 hours of noise cancellation, and powerful bass, all through Bluetooth connectivity. These trendy, sleek AirPods will even read your messages and allow you to share your audio with another set of AirPods nearby.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. Sony Zx220bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones (Open Box - Like New); $35

Sony

For the listener who likes a traditional over-the-ear headphone, this set by Sony will give you all the same hands-free calling, extended battery power, and Bluetooth connectivity as their tiny earbud counterparts. They have a swivel folding design to make stashing them easy, a built-in microphone for voice commands and calls, and quality 1.18-inch dome drivers for dynamic sound quality.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

3. Sony Xb650bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones; $46

Sony

This Sony headphone model stands out for its extra bass and the 30 hours of battery life you get with each charge. And in between your favorite tracks, you can take hands-free calls and go seamlessly back into the music.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

4. Martha Stewart 8-quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker; $65

Martha Stewart

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a new pressure cooker, this 8-quart model from Martha Stewart comes with 14 presets, a wire rack, a spoon, and a rice measuring cup to make delicious dinners using just one appliance.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

5. Jashen V18 350w Cordless Vacuum Cleaner; $180

Jashen

If you're obsessive about cleanliness, it's time to lose the vacuum cord and opt for this untethered model from JASHEN. Touting a 4.3-star rating from Amazon, the JASHEN cordless vacuum features a brushless motor with strong suction, noise optimization, and a convenient wall mount for charging and storage.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

6. Evachill Ev-500 Personal Air Conditioner; $65

Evachill

This EvaChill personal air conditioner is an eco-friendly way to cool yourself down in any room of the house. You can set it up at your work desk at home, and in just a few minutes, this portable cooling unit can drop the temperature by 59º. All you need to do is fill the water tank and plug in the USB cord.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

7. Gourmia Gcm7800 Brewdini 5-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $120

Gourmia

The perfect cup of cold brew can take up to 12 hours to prepare, but this Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker can do the job in just a couple of minutes. It has a strong suction that speeds up brew time while preserving flavor in up to five cups of delicious cold brew at a time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

8. Townew: The World's First Self-Sealing Trash Can; $90

Townew

Never deal with handling gross garbage again when you have this smart bin helping you in the kitchen. With one touch, the Townew will seal the full bag for easy removal. Once you grab the neatly sealed bag, the Townew will load in a new clean one on its own.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

9. Light Smart Solar Powered Parking Sensor (Two-Pack); $155

FenSens

Parking sensors are amazing, but a lot of cars require a high trim to access them. You can easily upgrade your car—and parking skills—with this solar-powered parking sensor. It will give you audio and visual alerts through your phone for the perfect parking job every time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

10. Liz: The Smart Self-Cleaning Bottle With UV Sterilization; $46

Noerden

Reusable water bottles are convenient and eco-friendly, but they’re super inconvenient to get inside to clean. This smart water bottle will clean itself with UV sterilization to eliminate 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. That’s what makes it clean, but the single-tap lid for temperature, hydration reminders, and an anti-leak functionality are what make it smart.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

Why Can’t You Smell Your Own Breath? There Are a Few Theories

Hands are built-in tools for detecting bad breath.
Hands are built-in tools for detecting bad breath.
SIphotography/iStock via Getty Images

The fact that we rarely catch a whiff of our own breath seems fishy. For one, our noses are only a philtrum’s length away from our mouths. We also don’t have any trouble inhaling other people’s stale carbon dioxide, even with a solid few feet between us.

Though we don’t yet have a decisive scientific explanation for this olfactory phenomenon, there’s no shortage of promising theories. According to BreathMD, it could be that we became so accustomed to smelling our own breath that we simply don’t notice its odor anymore—similar to the way we can’t detect our own "house smell." This kind of habituation doesn’t just inure us to unpleasant aromas, it also leaves our noses free to focus on unfamiliar odors in our environment that could alert us to danger.

As HowStuffWorks reports, another hypothesis suggests that we’re more conscious of other people’s halitosis because breath released when speaking is different than breath released when exhaling regularly. All the tongue movement that happens when someone talks could push odors from the back of their mouth out into the air.

But if that’s true, it seems like you’d be able to smell your own breath—at least when you’re the one doing the talking. Which brings us to the next and final theory: That your bad breath dissipates before you get a chance to inhale it. When someone else exhales, you’re inhaling their air almost simultaneously. When you exhale, on the other hand, you have to wait until you’ve reached the very end of your expiration before breathing back in again. By that time, the malodorous particles may have already dispersed.

Even if you’re blissfully unaware of how your own breath smells, it could be a little nose-wrinkling for others—here are some tips for getting rid of halitosis.