Hygiene is something that we all love to give a lot of importance to. We all want to make sure that we are properly clean and fresh. There have been a lot of different advancements in the modern times. Sanitizers, wash cloths, deodorants are just a few alternatives that came for water. But the truth is, none ever really stuck around. Because, the truth is, no matter how much you try, nothing can clean quite as well as water. But somehow, when it comes to taking care of your hygiene after you take a dump, there is a surprising amount of ambiguity there.
The west has always advocated the use of toilet papers, calling it much more hygienic than the methods of the east. But the easterners have always preferred using water as their method of bum cleaning. But the jury is still out on what to follow. We as Indians have followed the tradition of using water, but is India moving towards using toilet papers?.
Well, probably on the whole, we would say not. There has been a lot of hue and cry from a lot of westerners about finding “the Indian method” disgusting and unhygienic. But we Indians have stubbornly stuck to their traditional method. But are we Indians, making a mistake by sticking to our method? Or is the west wrong in advocating something that is very unhygienic in itself!
Lets first take up using a tissue a tissue paper in detail. There are obviously a lot of things that need to be kept in mind about what method is best. Using a toilet paper certainly has a number of advantages. It is easier to carry a toilet paper roll with you anywhere you go. Plus, paper is more readily available even if you are not carrying it with you. Also, there is no direct contact between you and your own waste in the case of tissue paper. Also toilet paper allows you to keep your washroom clean and dry without any issues.
But the issue is, toilet paper does a bad job at what it is supposed to do- cleaning. Often people are left with a bum smeared with their own defecation. Also toilet paper is considered less hygienic because paper is considered susceptible to carrying germs that could cause infections. This is where water shows its true worth
Water is excellent at cleaning, that is exactly why we shower. Otherwise we would also be cleaning ourselves with it, wouldn’t we? Also, if you have a decently clean water the chances of infection are much low when compared to the toilet paper that you might generally find. Also, water can reach places that your hand might not be able to, so of course water provides better cleaning.
Using water has economical and ecological benefits as well. The amount of toilet paper that is used for cleaning the bums of so many people is huge. The amount of trees that need to be cut down to provide for so much paper is definitely a worry. Water is a more readily available resource and would do lesser harm to the environment.
Even though a lot of the westerners have shown disgust that us Indians actually use our hands to clean our bums, the truth is, using hands is not that common. More and more Indian houses are now employing bidets, which remove the need for any human contact with the waste. The water is directed at the genitals, and the cleaning is much more effective and elaborate.
Bidets have been used in developed nations like Japan as well. There have been a lot of incidents of westerners expressing their shock, and often mocking us Indians about this habit of ours. Quora has often been a place where such questions have been raised. One such that was asked was:
“I have heard that most Indians don’t use toilet paper after they poop; they just wash it directly with their hands. Why do they do that?”
There were a lot responses that came, but there was one particular one by Shivam Mishra that was spot on:
Try this next time when you have dinner in your fancy chinaware:
- Get a nice delicious helping of any gravy based food. Whatever floats your boat, some chili or bacon or steak. Whatever man. Just put the normal size that you would eat on a plate.
- Finish eating it. Nothing fancy here. Just a normal guy asking you to have a normal meal you like. Use spoons, forks, knives or if you wish, try using your hands. But as I said, your wish, entirely.
- Now, after you’ve finished it, wipe it off with the softest cleanest piece of dry paper towel. Make sure the paper towel is dry. However, there is a small trick in this part. You have to keep your eyes closed and you can only watch the paper towel to determine whether the plate is clean. Try sitting on the dinner table, keep the plate below the table and start wiping. You can check the paper towel once in a while, just to check. Wipe as much as you can and keep it on the rack. Away from water.
- After about 10-12 hours, just go and have a look at the chinaware. Is it clean enough to have another meal on it? Will you be comfortable to eat again in this dish?
I can go on, but I guess you get the analogy. Just imagine the amount of grease/dry gravy which is on your plate, just squatting and hanging around your tender area. Inviting the blend of viruses, bacteria, fungi etc to come and feast on it.
Now, repeat the exercise, with a stream of water, instead of dry paper towel. You can stand on the sink and close your eyes. Just run the dish under the stream for a couple of minutes after you’re done eating.
The above answer summarizes perfectly why using water is much better than using toilet paper. So the real question should be,will the westerners shift to using water? Here’s hoping!
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