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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Amid Coronavirus Toilet Paper Hoarding, An Alternative Could Gain Popularity

photo of bidet
POLOMEX
/
CREATIVE COMMONS
Although bidets have been popular in parts of Europe for centuries, they've never been big in the U.S. But that could slowly be changing.

With supplies of toilet paper still limited in many stores, interest appears to be picking up in an alternative.

Bidets have been popular throughout Europe for centuries – but they’ve never been big in the U.S. That could be changing in Ohio according to Jason Norris, president of the state chapter of the trade group, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association. He acknowledges that toilet paper will likely never go away. But after the hoarding of the paper during the pandemic, he thinks people may be more receptive to bidets.

photo of toilet paper at Costco
Credit ANDREW MEYER / WKSU
At Costco, each customer can only buy a limited amount of toilet paper during the pandemic.

“When they’re brought up to the homeowners, there’s a lot of questions that come up," Norris said. "I don’t believe that there’s a ton of advertisement; a lot of people don’t know about these particular items. Before when it was brought up, it was not a conversation at all. But now when it’s brought up, much, much more information is shared.”

Norris adds that when they do install bidets, they’re more often an add-on seat as opposed to a separate, standalone unit.

“There’s product out there now that you can actually add a bidet seat – make any toilet into a bidet – and you just have to run electric and water to it. Typically the seats are heated because you don’t want cold water; you’d like to have water that’s pleasant. It does have a jet that cleans and it does a fabulous job.”