"Paper cultures are in fact using the least efficient cleansing medium to clean the dirtiest part of their body," notes Rose George in The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. "I find it rather baffling that millions of people are walking around with dirty anuses while thinking they are clean."
While bidets and water-based cleansing methods are more widespread in other parts of the world, in America we've had a hard time parting with our trusted rolls of toilet paper and packs of flushable wipes. But as George points out, paper-based products just aren't the solution we think they are—not to mention their environmental toll. "Toilet paper moves shit, but it doesn't remove it," she writes. "You wouldn't shower with a dry towel; why do you think that dry toilet paper cleans you?"
Box Clever—the design team behind the Nebia showerhead—are hoping to change the way we think about bathroom hygiene with Sonny—a portable, handheld bidet (described as a "microshower" on their website) that's sleek enough to display on your counter and so easy to use it may just convince you that toilet paper is officially antiquated.
Made of anodized aluminum and finished with an antimicrobial coating, the discrete tube has only one button and a straightforward process. After filling the canister insert with water, users can slide the button up to release the cleaning nozzle, then push down to start the spray (potential buyers beware: the water—at least in this initial model—will not be heated). The nozzle can be removed for easy clean-up and the product comes with a stand that lets you place it horizontally or vertically, depending on your space.
Since the design only features one button, the main problem Box Clever's team had to resolve was the right placement of it, just far enough away from the butt area to make users feel comfortable.
Sonny comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to three weeks. But you don't have to keep it around in your bag to make use of its portability—creating a wireless device was important to the team chiefly because it takes away any installation hassles that come with retrofitting a toilet with a bidet. With no need for a plumber or an electrician, Sonny can immediately be put to good use.
If you're still not ready to ditch your paper habit, consider this: Every year the manufacturing of toilet paper requires 15 million trees and 500 billion gallons of water.
Sonny launched on Indiegogo today at an accessible $79.
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