How a Bidet Cleans You and Protects the Environment

How a Bidet Cleans You and Protects the Environment

In the 17th century, French furniture makers invented the bidet, a common bathroom fixture in the Arab World, southern Europe and West Africa. Though North Americans have resisted the innovation, more U.S. residents have embraced it, particularly during nationwide toilet paper shortages.

Now, bidets have evolved from emergency personal hygiene alternatives to just one more feature in a luxurious bathroom. 

Man holds Fluidmaster Soft Spa remote control
Some bidets — such as Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 9500 — come with remote controls, providing easy access to personal hygiene. 

What is a Bidet? 

A bidet’s primary purpose is personal hygiene. While most people use dry toilet paper, a bidet offers a wet alternative. 

Bidets can be freestanding, separate fixtures; toilet seat replacements with jets; or handheld attachments that spray water. 

Regardless of the type of fixture, each has the same function: to provide the best personal cleansing experience. 

Bidets also have environmental benefits, reducing the need for toilet paper and stress on forests. In fact, North Americans annually use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper, so switching from dry to wet cleaning methods could save 15 million trees, according to Scientific American.   

Fluidmaster Soft Spa box, unopened, in a bathroom
Retrofitting a toilet with a bidet seat is a space-saving alternative to installing a separate, freestanding fixture.

About Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 

If you’re looking to give your bathroom a spa-like makeover without renovating your entire space, you might consider the Fluidmaster Soft Spa Electronic Bidet Toilet Seat

It offers more luxury than a traditional bidet, without the hassle of replacing your toilet. 

The Soft Spa features adjustable water pressure, wand positioning and temperature, as well as a heated seat and warm air-dryer. It even includes a remote control and easy-to-follow instructions. 

Fluidmaster Soft Spa, still in the box, parts visible
Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 9500 comes with everything to replace your toilet seat with one that doubles as a bidet. 

If you’re new to bidets, no problem. Soft Spa’s Gentle mode is perfect for even the most sensitive users. 

And if you’re worried about the maintenance involved, a self-cleaning wand saves you from extra work and guarantees a superior clean.

So, you can lounge in luxury, and save on elbow grease! 

“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, pictured with the Fluidmaster Everything Kit
Fluidmaster developed the Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kitfor the most complete solution to quickly repair your toilet. 

The Importance of Maintenance

You would think that something you use every day would get regular maintenance to ensure its optimal performance.

But in the case of the toilet, most of the time, you’d be wrong. 

People take toilets for granted. But our friends at Fluidmaster want to help you transform this lowly fixture by upgrading your toilet technology.

Because you spend a lot of time there, you need the toilet to work properly. So Fluidmaster developed the Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kit for the most complete solution to quickly repair your toilet. 

Whether your toilet leaks, makes noises or constantly runs, you can solve the problem with this kit. It includes a fill valve, adjustable flush valve, tank-to-bowl gasket, adjustable flapper dial, color-coded tools and stainless steel hardware. 

The kit is designed to work with every toilet type; it comes with step-by-step instructions and installation tools. 

That way, your toilet is ready whenever you need it! 

B&A: This Dingy Bathroom Went From Drab To Absolutely Fabulous for Less Than $2

B&A: This Dingy Bathroom Went From Drab To Absolutely Fabulous for Less Than $2

Of all the spaces in your home, there should be at least one place where you can unwind and relax. For lots of people, that’s the bathroom. Whether it’s practicing your skincare routine or laying back for a bubble bath, you deserve some R&R. Sometimes, though, enjoying your “me time” can be tough due to your surroundings. For Geri Alessi, relaxing felt nearly impossible in her dark and dreary bathroom, and that’s why a makeover was on her to-do list.

When Alessi bought this home eight years ago, the bathroom fixtures and finishes weren’t doing the space any favors. “The builders put in the brown tiles, which I have always found so oppressing,” she says. Compounding that, the bathroom only has one tiny window above the toilet, so the room doesn’t get much natural light. Any sunlight that found its way into the bathroom “was automatically sapped by the dark tile,” Alessi says.

Over the years, she tried to inject some color into the space by doing things like painting the wall teal and adding a pink vanity above the sink. Still, it was lacking the color and character Geri was desperately seeking. “It was always one of my least favorite spaces in the house,” she says. “I normally love having a bath but couldn’t relax in this space.”

Completely fed up with how her bathroom looked, Alessi finally made a plan to renovate. “I thought about what I could do to make the biggest impact and started there,” she says. First on the list? Painting the tiles on the walls white, which made the biggest difference in this space and was the tallest task. First, she scrubbed the tiles to ensure they were free of dirt and oil before painting. It took three coats of paint and three days to completely cover the brown tiles; she let each coat dry a full 24 hours to get optimal, streak-free coverage.

She used a foam roller to apply most of the paint and reached for an angled brush for the corners and the hard-to-reach spots. Around the tub, Alessi chose to add a bold pop of color with bright pink accent “tiles” painted in geometric shapes. “I took a risk on the pink paint, as it was ceramic paint rather than tile paint but it’s holding up nicely,” she says. She used frog tape to get straight lines on her triangle pattern on the shower surround and vinyl tape on the shower door to create a factory-style window pane look. To make cleaning easier, she only applied tape on the outside of the shower door.

Old beige floor tiles were replaced with a new, bold black-and-white pattern that really makes the floor pop. “The floor tiles are just vinyl stick-on tiles, which I just adhered to the floor after cleaning and drying it,” she says. Opting for vinyl instead of traditional floor tile saved Geri a lot of money and time in the end. The total cost of this project came out to £125.98, which is roughly $170, and Alessi tackled it completely on her own. “The whole renovation took less than two weeks, and I probably could have done it in less time but I wasn’t in a rush,” she says.

Now the bathroom looks completely different, even though the transformation was fairly simple and inexpensive. “I can’t get over how much I’ve managed to achieve for so little,” she says. The entire bathroom was overpowered by all the dark tile, so painting the walls and replacing the floor tiles was all Alessi really needed to set off the space and literally make it more reflective. “The light just bounces off the walls now, and it always feels happy and bright in there, even on a gloomy day,” Alessi says.

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is a master binge-watcher and home cook. When she’s not testing new recipes or re-watching Gossip Girl, you can find her on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a news producer turned lifestyle blogger and professional homebody. She has a bachelors in journalism from Clark Atlanta University, a certification in Digital Storytelling and is earning her Master’s degree from Harvard University. Savannah believes every day is a good day and there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

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The One Thing You Shouldn’t Do When Making Your Self-Care Routine Greener

The One Thing You Shouldn’t Do When Making Your Self-Care Routine Greener

You probably learned in grade school that skin protects the body and regulates temperature, but for all of the practical, science-y information out there, many folks simply want their skin to look and feel good. After all, though a stubborn blemish or puffy morning eyes are completely normal, they might not help you feel your best.

With all of the serums, masks, oils, and treatments on the market, it can feel challenging to wade through ingredient lists and vague language — especially if you’re trying to be more sustainable as a consumer and in your home life. Buzzwords such as “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” and “clean” can seem enticing, you might not know exactly what the manufacturer means when they put them on a label.

Although some of these terms are meaningful, a mindful self-care routine is more than just scanning ingredient lists, and sustainability is broader than simply considering what’s inside your products.

But if you’re looking to make your routine more sustainable, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do:

Don’t adopt an all-or-nothing approach and throw everything you already have out, just to start fresh.

It’s easy to think you need to clear your medicine cabinet of every product that doesn’t fit your eco-aware lifestyle, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Making small steps and easing into finding planet-conscious products is better than ignoring the problem, or making unnecessary waste. You already bought those products, so the most sustainable thing to do is use what you have. And when it comes to replacing those items, research your current skincare routine, and swap products as you see fit. 

From packaging to functionality, here are five ways to actually make your self-care routines greener.

Be leery of the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list.

“My number one recommendation is to avoid anything with the word ‘fragrance,’” advises Emilie Hoyt, the founder and CEO of LATHER. Although it’s common to think of the term “fragrance” as scent, it can cover a whole host of things, including chemicals — both synthetic and natural — that manufacturers don’t need to disclose. 

“In skincare products, fragrance is added either to give a product an enjoyable aroma or to mask the natural odor of the product,” explains Dr. Michele Green, MD, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist. “Even a skincare product that is labeled as ‘natural’ or fragrance-free’ may still contain ingredients that naturally give it a scent. Varying essential oils are often incorporated into the formulas of skincare products that are labeled as fragrance-free, causing them to be scented.” If certain smells bother you, see if you can sample a brand before committing to a purchase, and research their stance on using organic and artificial fragrances.

Use the web or an app to thoroughly research brands.

Companies that focus on eco-conscious practices will often have their philosophy clearly defined on their websites, and more companies than ever are being truly transparent about everything from their supply chain to how consumers can mindfully recycle their products. Additionally, apps like Think Dirty and CodeCheck rate ingredients, and the web is a wealth of information. “It may sound boring, but self-education is key,” Olga Ringquist, who co-founded Oquist Cosmetics with her father, told Apartment Therapy. “Identify what you find important when it comes to sustainability.”

Vivian Wong, owner of artisan skincare brand Butter & Me, echoes using the web as a resource. “Educate yourself with more green beauty information like visiting the EWG website or follow a reputable green beauty blogger so that you know how to make your choice,” she says.

If your primary concern is that the company uses organic ingredients, start there. Slowly work through your skincare routine and include new products as you run out of your current stash. “We all have the option to question what is being marketed towards us, and a double-check is just a click away,” offers Ringquist. 

Take the packaging into consideration. 

Beyond thinking about the potentially toxic ingredients inside, a product’s packaging and shipping can be just as harmful to the environment. As a result, some companies offer refillable bottles and pouches, which may produce less waste than the traditional-sized bottles. This is just one step towards a more conscious lifestyle, so be sure to appropriately recycle any shipping materials, bottles, and plastic pumps as needed. 

When a product has to be mailed, try to stock up on shelf-stable items to avoid multiple shipments over time. Another alternative is to visit a farmers’ market to find a vendor that offers body products; not only will you prevent shipping waste, but a local business may also be willing to refill your bottles.

Some companies are taking their efforts a step further. For example, all of Butter & Me’s packaging is plastic-free and is shipped in recycled materials. “There is only one thing in my mind: no plastic,” says Wong. “My packaging is either recyclable, compostable, or at least biodegradable. Most importantly, I encourage repurposing the packaging such as reusing the cotton bag to keep small personal items.”

Oquist Cosmetics houses its skincare line in terracotta vessels that you can repurpose as a vase or decorative art piece once the container is empty. “We knew from the start that we wanted to have packaging that one would want to have out on display and that one could repurpose after the product inside is finished,” says Ringquist. Mindfully making small changes in reducing waste aligns perfectly with a green routine.

Only purchase what you will use. 

Sure, there are times you optimistically buy a new product only to realize it really doesn’t agree with you, but tossing skincare products before the bottles are empty could unintentionally be harming the environment. “Try to buy only what you will really use until the last drop,” advises Ringquist. “We all have that drawer in our bathroom with all those spontaneous purchases that are just lying around for years.” She suggests remedying this by researching and finding products you will enjoy until the end. You can also commit to trying testers of a product before buying the full-sized version if you’re not sure you’ll use it.

In addition to using everything to the last drop, using less of your skincare regimen will stretch the product and your pocketbook. Hoyt suggests only using what you need. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to skimp on your usage, listen to your skin and follow its cues when it tells you that you might be using too many products for its liking. “Use less,” she says. “Look for good ingredients and support honest companies.”

Have an open mind about trying a different brand.

Products may look, smell, feel, and function differently than your current regimen, but giving a conscious skincare line a try may ramp up your routine and give you better skin in the process. “Be open-minded and try out new green skincare products,” says Wong. “They might not be the same as your non-green products, but keep trying.” 

Additionally, finding out how your skin responds to a different line takes time, so be willing to stick it out as long as you aren’t experiencing adverse symptoms, such as a rash. “Skin irritation such as redness, swelling, excessive dryness, itching, burning, peeling, rash, or breakout are indications that use of a skincare product should be ceased,” advises Green, who suggests performing a patch test, which involves putting a small amount of product on a hidden area, such as your inner arm, and observing any reactions after 48 hours. “If there is no discomfort or irritation noticed after waiting this amount of time, the product should be safe for use without sensitivities,” she says. As long as you don’t have an adverse reaction, what begins as an experiment may lead to a new, positive experience with the added benefit that you’re doing your best to be kind to the earth.

Before and After: A $900 DIY Redo Transforms This “Raspberry Disaster” Bathroom

Before and After: A $900 DIY Redo Transforms This “Raspberry Disaster” Bathroom

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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These Are the 9 Highest Rated Bathroom Organizers on Amazon

These Are the 9 Highest Rated Bathroom Organizers on Amazon

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

There’s no worse feeling than waking up in the morning or winding down after a long day, only to walk into your bathroom and see… chaos. After all, the bathroom is where you start and end most days, and having one filled with mismatched products and clutter can be stressful. Whether the issue is lack of counter space, no medicine cabinet, or all of the above (anyone who’s lived in a New York City apartment has felt this pain), it can be all too easy to never throw out empty shampoo bottles or to somehow accumulate six different mascara tubes that live next to the bathroom sink. And the smaller your bathroom is, odds are, the more cluttered it gets — and fast.

Luckily, though, organization ideas for your bathroom are pretty easy to find. Amazon alone has thousands of organizer options — like shelves, drawers, and containers — that are aimed at keeping your space tidy. If you’re not quite sure where to start, though, here are some of the highest-rated bathroom organizers on Amazon for a head start.

Sarah M. Vazquez also contributed to reporting.