Where is all the toilet paper?

Where is all the toilet paper?


I went to the grocery store the other day and it was obvious their selection of items has dramatically diminished.  One item in particular that was completely depleted was toilet paper.  I did find one single roll of store brand paper towels, but not a single roll of toilet paper. Where has all the toilet paper gone?  Why do people feel the need to stockpile paper towels and toilet paper?  Do pandemics make people wipe their behinds and blow their noses more?

Pandemic panic

As of April 20th, there are over 720,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, including over 37,000 deaths.  People have every right to be concerned about this global crisis, but some make go a little too far.  To make matters worse, the media often over hypes things which makes the public panic even more.

As I searched the web for an answer to this puzzling conundrum, it was clear that there was no actually factual data that provided a definitive answer. Although an undeniable reason was not available, there was a common theory. A majority of the articles and blogs I read suggested conformity being a root cause because of all the media hype during the initial phase of Covid-19.  Everyone is buying up paper goods so it must be the right thing to do.  Maybe conformity can be a good thing if we can all conform to something that makes a difference.  How about using a bidet instead of toilet paper?

What is a Bidet?

Bidets are common features in the bathrooms of many European, Latin American and other countries worldwide, and the plumbing fixture is increasing in popularity in the United States. Bidets offer a hygienic means to clean your body after using the toilet, especially for people with limited mobility and other physical necessities.

My research revealed that it requires between 12 and 37 gallons of water to produce a single roll of toilet paper, while a bidet only requires one eighth of a gallon of water to clean and flush. Americans on average use over 36 billion rolls of toilet paper each year.  The information below reviews how to use a bidet and some of the best bidet options for your bathroom.

How to use a Bidet

Before using the bidet, accustom yourself with its controls so you don’t get any surprises the first time you try it out. The central feature of any bidet’s basin is a spray nozzle that sends water upwards to clean your posterior. Most bidets have a lever that controls the jet, so experiment with it to learn the location of the spray and how high it goes so you can position your target area over it. Some bidets will only spray when you maintain pressure on a lever or button. Many bidets have hot and cold temperature controls. Test them to determine how to set the bidet to your preferred temperature. You don’t want to be sprayed with uncomfortably cold or hot water. Some bidet nozzles can be adjusted for “posterior” or “feminine” angles, depending on your need.

Bidets are not toilets, but rather wash basins designed for cleaning up after using the toilet. Use the toilet and dry wipe once with toilet paper to remove any remaining solid waste before using the bidet. Position yourself to use the bidet by straddling the bowl. It’s acceptable to sit on the rim of the bowl, but many users will squat or “hover” over the bidet. Standalone bidets offer users the option of facing away from the controls, as you would when sitting on a toilet, or towards them, which may make it easier for first-timers to adjust the settings and grow accustomed to the bidet.

Clean Up

Turn on the spray and clean the desired area as you would during a bath or shower. Use a gentle soap if desired, but many hygiene experts find that the water alone should be sufficient. Some bidets do not have jets, but instead use taps and a faucet to simply fill the bowl with water like a sink. In these cases, you may need to wash and rinse the target area with your hands. After washing, pat dry with toilet paper or a towel – homes or hotel rooms with bidets may have dedicated towels and hampers for them. Dispose of bathroom tissue in the toilet, as the bidet is for liquids only. Some bidets include a built-in warm air dryer, which you can use comparably to hand dryers in public bathrooms. Expect it to take longer than drying with toilet paper or towel. Rinse out the basin with water when finished to make the bidet cleaner. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water at the sink as you would after using the bathroom.

Using a Hand-Held Bidet Sprayer

Bathrooms without space for a standard bidet can usually accommodate a hand-held sprayer attached to the toilet’s water supply. These devices allow you to control the direction of the spray, which can be an advantage over standard bidets.

Locate the sprayer and open the shut-off valve, if it has one. Make sure the temperature is to your liking. Place the sprayer underneath your body, aiming towards the area you want to clean. Lightly squeeze the trigger to begin spraying. Wash and dry as you would with a standard bidet. Return the sprayer to its stand or hook and close the shut-off valve.

The United States should become a bidet nation

Bidets can be particularly helpful to the elderly, the infirm and pregnant women, as well as people with hemorrhoids and other skin sensitivities. In addition, by reducing the amount of toilet paper used in a household, a bidet can have positive environmental benefits. People around the world find bidets to be a refreshing part of their regular hygiene routine.   There are obviously many beneficial reasons for us to make the transition to bidets,  maybe its time for America to become a bidet nation.

Here are three bidets that are on my personal wish list:

  1. Bio Bidet Ultimate BB-600 Advanced Bidet Toilet Seat, Elongated White. Easy DIY Installation, Luxury Features From Side Panel, Adjustable Heated Seat and Water. Dual Nozzle Has Posterior and Feminine Wash
  2. TOTO SW2034#01 C100 WASHLET Electronic Bidet Toilet Seat, Elongated, Cotton White
  3. VOVO VB3000SE WATERJET,Bidet Toilet Seat,Elongated, White,LED Nightlight, Power Save, Heated Seat&Dryer,Warm Water, Full Stainless Nozzle,Soft Close


6 thoughts on “Where is all the toilet paper?

  1. Hello, 

    This was positively educational and fun to read throughout. 

    You dealt with a subject that some people mind find awkward and embarrassing in a very straight forward manner.

    Like you I am puzzled as to where all the toilet rolls have gone.

    I now know more about bidets than I ever did before. 

    My best wishes go out to you during this difficult time. 

    Best regards and stay safe, 


  2. That’s a very good question. A toilet roll is a product of comfort and when things start going bad, we all start hoarding.   After reading your post about bidets I’m very surprised that houses are not made with them in.  I have never used one but I know they’ve been around for years.  They sound ideal for many situations and if a shower can out do a bath, why hasn’t bidets taken the place of the humble toilet?

    1. Thank you for the comment Derek.  I learned a lot while researching this post and i am also surprised that they have not already become a common item in American households.  Maybe they will now.

  3. I had the same thing happen to me when I ran out of tp and there was nothing but an empty isle at the store. Thanks for the info on bidets.

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