Why haven’t washlets caught on in America?

It’s apparently not due to any lack of trying by Toto, but instead:

“For Americans here in the US, the biggest issues are personal experience with these products and a major reluctance to discuss bathroom issues or change ingrained habits. You wouldn’t imagine how many people giggle nervously or say “gross” when we try to educate them about the advantages of the bidet seat, yet these are the same people that are still using paper – a much inferior way to cleanse oneself.”


Why aren’t we all using Japanese toilets? (hat-tip to Japanzine for the link)

and click on the category below for more on this fascinating topic…



  1. Jeffrey said,

    November 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Because, as they say in Boston’s Back Bay, they are wicked expensive with the cheapest model costing more than most of the toilets in Toto’s American line.


    • Paul said,

      November 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Must be more to it–on Amazon they’re selling for $350. http://www.amazon.com/SW502-01-Washlet-Elongated-Toilet/dp/B005XNW1Q0

      The reviews for Brondell sound like religious awakening.

      I think it’s a combination of the ewwww! factor and general lack of experience. If Toto were really serious they’d cut a deal with the cheesecake factory and get their products where lots of people can try them.

      • Jeffrey said,

        November 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm

        Even at $350.00, well below normal retail and probably involves close-out models (I like the note of “1 used for $304.00,” creepy) they are about five times as much as the most expensive soft-close seats, about ten times as much as a simple plastic seat and, as I posted above, more expensive than many toilets.

        Also, most American toilets aren’t wired for electricity. A retro-fit would require installing an outlet, which, considering the price of an electrician and drywall replacement, adds at least a couple hundred more to get it done.

        Last place you’d want to put them was in a public facility – they’d all be broken in less than a week and you’d have countless irate customers with wet pants after pushing the buttons in the wrong sequence.

        A more interesting question would be to see how well they sell in continental Europe.

      • Paul said,

        November 28, 2012 at 1:12 am

        Jeffrey, I’m struggling to understand your come-from.

        1. Most American houses have an outlet in the bathroom already, and then it just takes a sturdy extension cord and a GFCI outlet. If the bathroom doesn’t have one already, it ought to.

        2. In terms of the cost, remember that this is a consumer population that impulse buys $400+ ipads!

        3. Brondell is already putting these toilet seats into restaurants, and has been for years. Furthermore the practice is so widespread in Japan that it’s notable when a toilet doesn’t have that kind of seat.

  2. alexcase said,

    November 27, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Like breakfast, toileting habits seem to be one of those things which people are typically least amenable to changing. In my language school in London we’d regularly have footprints on the toilet seats from people squatting there. When changes do happen, it’s often for reasons of status rather than toileting preference, hence the number of unused bidets in British homes. How Toto can make a washlet a status symbol I have no idea, but I confidently predict that would be the single most important influence

  3. Michael said,

    November 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Design the controls like three seashells, wait for the Sylvester Stallone jokes to ensue.

  4. crella said,

    December 1, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Paul, houses built before 1990-ish have outlets only at sink level, and many times on the side away from the toilet. In an open master bath set- up the toilet is in a separate enclosure with no outlets. Newer homes may have an outlet in a convenient place but older homes do not. Neither my mother’s home nor the home I have in the US have outlets near the toilet.

    Jeffery,the newer washlets won’t ‘fire’ unless someone is sitting on the seat. Predictably, when they first came out there were many accidents, and kids soaking bathrooms just for the fun of it. That’s been eliminated as a possible problem now.

  5. elyse said,

    May 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    The few times I’ve ever had water splashed back at me was when I took a large no2 in an overfull toilet. So the idea of a bidet makes me cringe. However, if I try to think of it as being like a mini-shower for the behind, it doesn’t sound so bad. As a westerner, I still have no idea how one would clean the inside of it and I didn’t know until my Dad got back from a trip that the water was even heated, or that the water was circulated separately from the water in the bowl. I don’t think people will accept them until they know more about them/ try them.

  6. David said,

    February 23, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Americans may have state of the art technology but their toilet habits still date from the caves of the Neanderthal. Washlet cleaning is not only cleaner but also saves paper.

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