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Bidet boom: Toilet technology sees rise in popularity in Canada

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When it comes to cleaning up after doing business, North Americans have had a tough time letting go of toilet paper.

But recently, it seems more people are warming up to the idea of bidets.

For the average Canadian before the pandemic, the idea of installing one may have been flushed right away. That’s not the case now.

“We’ve seen a rise in interest in the last couple of years,” said Himalaya Srivastava, store manager at Bath Depot in Kitchener, Ont.

There’s been a steady flow of customers looking for bidets since shoppers battled over toilet paper shortages. In more recent history, they’ve cracked the Canadian market even further.

“Every six months they’re bringing in some kind of new bidets,” said Srivastava.

In addition to standard bidet functions, smart toilets have extra features like seat heating or air drying. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV Kitchener)

But what’s behind the boom in this bum-cleaning device?

Srivastava thinks it has to do with people from different parts of the world moving here.

“Americans and North Americans in general, they’re used to using toilet paper. And I, myself, got pretty used to that idea,” said Srivastava. “Mostly, I’ve seen Africans, Southeast Asians – they come in asking for handheld bidets that you can easily attach to the existing pipelines.”

The handheld bidets, also known as bum guns, are among Bath Depot's more popular sellers, but they could soon become number two to the smart toilets.

University of Guelph professor Ryan Gregory is among the new wave of Canadian customers following a recent vacation.

“So what I decided, I think in part on the advice of the family, was to install the same kind of thing we had seen all over Japan,” said Gregory.

His recent post on social media showing he installed not one, but two bidets, has over five million views. Many people expressed their curiosity about the concept.

“It’s a classic example of us in North America, ostensibly discovering something that is widely known already, but it’s not something we’re used to,” said Gregory.

Many bidets operate using water pressure from the bathroom’s supply. But smart toilets require a power outlet to benefit from functions like seat heating and air drying.

Srivastava says no matter the model, it’s worth taking the plunge because it is more hygienic than toilet paper.

“It will make your butt a little softer [too],” he said, chuckling.

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