As we all know, some Americans have gotten quite excitable when it comes to buying—and hoarding—toilet paper in these trying times. And while I hope most out there aren’t actually that panicked, I see this moment of ultra-plush, double-roll weakness as a crucial time to make a case for the most underutilized bathroom fixture in the U.S.: the bidet.
You see, I made it through a good portion of my life without ever using a bidet. My cousins (the rich ones) had one in their gated-community mansion, but I never really knew what it was—and spent many a childhood moment giggling when one of them said, “It’s for washing your butt.” Even after spending most of my early 20s traveling to many countries where bidets are commonplace, I still avoided all use of the nether-region-washing machines. It wasn’t until I was 25 in South Korea (and drank a little too much soju) that I finally sat down and turned on the spigot.
And, as many other late-bidet-bloomer accounts go, my life was changed. I finally felt clean—without chafing, irritation, or paper bits stuck to my bits—for the first time. I spent a bus ride between Busan and Gyeongju the next day googling all the rational, hygienic reasons to use a bidet and trying to figure out why Americans thought they were “gross,” when in fact smearing dry paper across your bum is . . . well, yeah.
I decided right then and there that when I finally got a place of my own, I would do my part to end the stigma of a bathroom’s best-kept secret and install a bidet in my bathroom. And not just any bidet, but one of the futuristic, temperature-regulating, perfectly pressurized, multistage washers that I had experienced in South Korea. I wanted a smart bidet seat to install onto a toilet. It’s my conviction that bidet seats are preferable to traditional bidet fixtures for two reasons: One, they save space in a room where space is often not easy to come by; and two, they allow you to remain on the toilet instead of haphazardly jumping between two lavatory appliances—which just seems more hygienic.
Fast-forward a few years: It’s late 2019, and my partner and I are closing on our first home. It’s momentous for me—not exclusively because I get to finally have a bidet, but that certainly was a factor. Although we inherited a bathroom shaped like a hallway and painted Kermit-the-Frog-green by the previous owners, I was thrilled to modernize it a bit with not only a splash of white paint, but also with the installation of the perfect smart bidet seat: the Coway Bidetmega 200.
The Bidetmega 200 is as feature-packed as its risible name suggests. It boasts a heated seat (a true boon first thing in the morning), three different temperature settings for the water (I prefer the warmest), a multistage wash, customized pressure and water direction, and a built-in dryer. Setup was as easy as I (a woman who has never followed a recipe in her life) hoped it would be. After acquiring either the elongated or the round design (depending on the shape of the toilet you own), you unscrew your current toilet seat, screw this one on, install a T-connector to your toilet’s water supply, plug it into an outlet, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
And because it runs on electricity (yes, you have to be able to plug it into an outlet near your toilet), Coway thought to incorporate a special eco-mode that helps to reduce the total energy consumption of the unit while it’s in use, as well as when it’s not. Additionally, it’s not as imposing or as intimidating as some of the other, more exorbitant bidet-seat models out there. The Bidetmega 200 utilizes easy-to-understand buttons on the control panel and includes child-friendly modes, as well as braille for those who are visually impaired.
Long story long, installing a bidet five months ago not only saved me from a bad time fighting over single-ply rolls and worrying about the availability of toilet paper in the time of COVID-19; it’s also helped our household cut down on waste—of the paper variety as well as the kind left behind on your behind. Honestly, it’s the best appliance I’ve ever owned, and I refuse to go back to my old ways. In case you’re interested in investing in your own Bidetmega 200 round or elongated version, it’s currently available at The Home Depot, and Amazon, starting at $335.
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