Health & Wellbeing

Portable, rechargeable bidet takes a swipe at the wipe

Portable, rechargeable bidet t...
The eco-cost of making and using toilet paper is huge  – using a bidet like Sonny is one way to address these issues-with-tissues
The eco-cost of making and using toilet paper is huge  – using a bidet like Sonny is one way to address these issues-with-tissues
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The eco-cost of making and using toilet paper is huge  – using a bidet like Sonny is one way to address these issues-with-tissues
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The eco-cost of making and using toilet paper is huge  – using a bidet like Sonny is one way to address these issues-with-tissues
Sonny's canister is filled with regular tap water and provides 25-40 seconds of pressured flow, depending on the settings chosen
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Sonny's canister is filled with regular tap water and provides 25-40 seconds of pressured flow, depending on the settings chosen
Sonny is small, unassuming and won't clash with your bathroom design – just don't mistake it for a flashlight
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Sonny is small, unassuming and won't clash with your bathroom design – just don't mistake it for a flashlight
Sonny could be the gateway-device which finally convinces more Americans to install bidets in their homes and workplaces
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Sonny could be the gateway-device which finally convinces more Americans to install bidets in their homes and workplaces
Sonny Portable Bidet comes in either Soft Silver or Dusted Champagne finish
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Sonny Portable Bidet comes in either Soft Silver or Dusted Champagne finish

Positioned as an answer to the environmental toll associated with toilet-paper and flushable wipes, a startup from Santa Monica in California has launched a portable, rechargeable bidet, which looks more like a powerbank for your laptop. Something you may be thankful for if it ever fell out of your bag at brunch.

To a lot of us, the idea of a bidet is unusual, a little odd perhaps, and maybe even funny. The team at Sonny is well aware of this, and play to this beautifully in the promotional videos for the product, launched this month on Indiegogo. But humor aside, there's no doubt that the team takes this sleek little device seriously, having spent the better part of two years designing and prototyping in partnership with well-known product design firm Box Clever.

Sonny's canister is filled with regular tap water and provides 25-40 seconds of pressured flow, depending on the settings chosen
Sonny's canister is filled with regular tap water and provides 25-40 seconds of pressured flow, depending on the settings chosen

Inspired in part by the book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, the creators wanted to do something to help us tackle the sheer waste and environmental impact that toilet paper and flushable wipes have on the planet and our wallets.

The company states that in the US alone, toilet paper comes at an eco-cost of 500 billion gallons of water, 15 million trees, 253 tons of chlorine and 17.3 terawatts of electricity – each year. And that's just making the stuff. Disposing of toilet paper creates its own issues, and it's even worse for flushable wipes, which are responsible for clogging sewage systems the world over. Using a bidet instead can help alleviate a lot of these issues, and it's more hygienic too.

When you consider all this, the idea of a bidet begins to make a lot of sense. Still, trying to convince Americans to install bidets in their homes and workplaces may be a bridge-too-far, but a portable bidet might just work as a stepping stone towards broader acceptance. Especially if the design doesn't immediately shout "This squirts water at your butt!"

The simplicity of Sonny's design is reflected in its ease of use. You fill the removable canister with water, put it back into the housing, extend the antibacterial nozzle-head, invert it and press the multi-mode button (two pressure settings). Each canister provided 25-40 seconds of pressured flow, and when you're done, you use two or three sheets of toilet paper to pat yourself dry. Simple.

A one hour of charging Sonny lasts for up to three week. Oh and of course, Sonny is waterproof in up to a foot of water (because you just know you're going to drop it at least once).

Sonny could be the gateway-device which finally convinces more Americans to install bidets in their homes and workplaces
Sonny could be the gateway-device which finally convinces more Americans to install bidets in their homes and workplaces

There's just one possible downside to the current trend of unassuming, minimalist, Apple-esque product design though, and that's the potential for mistaken identity. Think about it for a moment. If our gadgets end up looking alike, how will we know what's what? Accidentally grabbing your portable air-compressor instead of your portable bidet could end up in disaster. But at least you'll have a great party story up your sleeve.

While the team behind Sonny is clearly hoping to convince Americans to embrace the concept of a bidet as a sensible, hygienic, eco-positive alternative, there's also a potentially rich market among travelers and outdoor types in places like Japan and Europe, where bidets are far more common.

Crowdfunding pledges begin at US$89 (a saving of $51) for one Sonny Portable Bidet in either Soft Silver or Dusted Champagne finish and, if all goes to plan, shipping is expected to begin in December this year and is free for US customers. The video below has more.

Sources: Sonny/Indiegogo

SONNY Launch Video

7 comments
kwalispecial
Needs a wrist strap.
MarkJohnson
If they can manage to combine it with a cell phone, more people will start using it.
Expanded Viewpoint
But... if you still need toilet paper to dry off, just how much savings is actually going on there? A friend of mine had to use our bathroom when he was visiting, and through the door I could hear him unwinding a HUGE handful of TP off the roll. And he did it more than once! I almost asked him when he came out, just how much doo doo he needed to wipe away! If everyone uses only three or four sheets of paper, then I think that the problem will be much better addressed than a new gadget that will consume more resources to make than it's worth. And what becomes of this portable bidet when it breaks? Does it get repaired and put back into service, or tossed into a land fill site? How about making it with a hand operated pump to pressurize the tank? Or does that make too much sense? Randy
Trylon
I've seen portable bidets for sale. Just right-angle nozzles that screw onto soda bottles then you squeeze the bottle to squirt water at your nether regions. Costs less than $10, a lot less than this thing.
Gregg Eshelman
Why not design it to clamp onto the neck of common disposable water bottles? Then it could be smaller and able to squirt more water.
Howe
That was a great commercial, very funny. I actually own a bidet (toilet seat kind), I like it. Cleans far better then TP, plus in the winter, I like having a heated seat. Expanded Viewpoint - Sometimes a few sheets works...but those times are rare...usually its, well, a butt load.
Bricorn
I live in Thailand, hand held bidets are pretty much universal here, even the poorest Thais have a barrel of water and a bowl for a scoop ready to wash their <insert your name for the appropriate bits here>. They think westerners are dirty people for NOT washing - I have to agree now, I hate it when I visit home and am forced to use TP. But. This gadget simply won't hold enough water to do the job. Better than nothing I suppose, but not enough to depend on.