- Ryan Kretch
TL;DR Please scroll to bottom for products you can buy as alternatives to toilet paper, as first I will go into my personal and scientific rant of why you should stop using toilet paper
My entire life, I frequently suffered with ‘over-wiping syndrome’ which would lead to inevitable bum chafing. If I had a night out after a day of strenuous wiping, all I could think about was my sore bum cheeks. It was only a good night of rest that could alleviate the chafing.
It wasn’t until my move to Shanghai in 2013 that I discovered an alternative. My apartment was conveniently fitted with a Japanese-style electronic bidet toilet seat with more functions than I could handle, but plenty of pictorials to guide me on my first encounter. A little apprehensive at first, I gave it a go. I mistakenly hit the ‘Front spray’ option at first, which I soon learned that the pictorial had an image of a girl for the right reasons. After some squirming from pain, I tried the ‘back spray’. After a few seconds, a jet from nowhere positioned itself perfectly into my bum hole and washed away whatever remnants were left. Afterwards, I pressed the “dry” button and the water stream was replaced by a continuous burst of air that made everything down their picture perfect and dry.
I became addicted to this system. When I had to go in other’s homes, I ached for my Japanese bum washer. There were several times when helping tour friends from home around that we would make our way up to the Park Hyatt in the Shanghai International Financial Center because I knew there were state of the art Japanese bum washers there. The Japanese bum washers became a hit at my dinner parties. A guest would retreat to the bathroom for entirely too long, all of us smirking because we knew what he or she was doing in there.
My time in Shanghai ended, and I came to Hyderabad, India in 2015. One of my main concerns was, what will happen to my bum while here. Especially with the spiciness and unpredictability of Indian food along with the stories I hear about Delhi belly, I was truly fearful of my livelihood and bum condition while here. Turns out I was in for a pleasant surprise. Upon moving into my apartment, I bought my first roll of toilet paper in ages, only to discover a contraption fixed to the right of my toilet. It looked a bit like a water nozzle used for gardening where you can control how much you spray with a trigger. I immediately put two and two together and stuck it down behind me and sprayed upward to clean my bumhole. It became immediately natural and I lost my apprehensions about my upcoming time in India knowing my bum chafing wouldn’t be a problem.
This is actually the magical moment of how one of my fellow colleagues at the time, Mary, and I became friends. She herself came to India for the same program as me and was an avid user of what she called the ‘bum gun’. Our daily conversations would hover around how amazing the bum guns were, while others around us cringed and silently judged us for changing our bum cleansing habits.
What we discovered is that bum guns are not only better on the body, but are advantageous for public health efforts as well as massively beneficial for the environment. Let’s look at the science behind bum guns versus the all-to familiar toilet paper.
Here is what can be said about Bum Guns. It takes 37 gallons of water (plus 1.3 kilowatt/hours of electricity and 1.5 pounds of wood) to produce one loo roll (1000 sheets). If you use 10 sheets (that is being conservative) when you go, that is about a third of a gallon (1.4 liters) for every bathroom visit! While using the bum gun, you typically only have to spray 5 times (or maybe 6, with one long spray). When I tested this in a water bottle (I will make sure I expose of this bottle so that my roommates don’t pick it up and drink out of it), I came up with just over 1/8 of a liter (.125). .125 vs 1.4 liters is a massive difference.
There are 318.9 million Americans. Hypothetically, if each American used ten sheets of toilet paper (again, 1.4 liters during production) during their visit to the toilet, they would use 446.46 million liters of water in one setting vs. 39.8625 mil with the bum gun. That equates to 178.6 olympic swimming pools vs. just under 16 for bum guns!
Some other benefits include a decreased likelihood of clogging toilets. It is rare that a poop, regardless of size will be the sole culprit of a clogged toilet, however when toilet paper is added into the mix, toilets angrily respond by backing up and sometimes even overflowing. Just about everyone has had that sinking feeling at a party or casual get-together when they’ve watched the water level rise to the point of no return. Some are able to find a nearby plunger to reverse the backlash created by the angry toilet, while others are forced to make an embarrassing exit and alert the homeowner of their mishap in the bathroom. A bum gun goes a long way in preventing these awkward bathroom moments.
I have been to other places where plumbing is typically weak and a wastebin will be placed to the side of the toilet for toilet paper. All to often, people are too lazy to clean these and then all you have is a nasty bin of poopy toilet paper piling up and ruining one’s bathroom experience. Bum guns save labor time and make bathroom experiences cleanlier.
Did you know that only half of people wash their hands after using the bathroom (poop or pee) and that about 80% of diseases are passed from human to human contact? When you wipe with toilet paper, sometimes a messy experience will lead to getting some remnants on your hands. After leaving the bathroom, you go and caress your wife’s face and she gets pink eye as a result. Had you used the bum gun, you would not once get poop flakes on your hands, and your wife will remain pink-eye free. Bum guns are a wonder to halting infectious disease in its tracks.
If this hasn’t convinced you to use the bum gun, I don’t know what will. I won’t even go into lifetime savings as well. Someone be my bum gun business partner please, and let’s bring this concept to the West!
What should you do now?! Check out my other article for alternatives investments you can make to get your no-toilet-paper-lifestyle started!