JUPITER, Fla. — With toilet paper difficult to find these days because of the coronavirus pandemic, some South Floridians are turning to another product to stay clean.
Ken Waite, the general manager of Miller's Fine Hardware in Jupiter, said his store is seeing a spike in calls and sales of bidets because of COVID-19.
"Since COVID hit, the demand has gone to the Moon," said Waite.
A bidet, which is popular in Europe and the Far East, is toilet-like bowl that sprays warm water to clean your private area after you've gone to the bathroom.
Bidets don’t have to break the bank, Waite said. Some of the models in his showroom start at under $150 and run as high as $3,000 or $4,000.
"For $149, you can buy one that will replace your toilet seat. You don't need power for it," said Waite. "It works off the water pressure in your house."
Waite added that many bidets are antimicrobial and have ultraviolet lights to kill bacteria. Others, on the higher end of the price range, come with hands-free automatic lids and deodorizers.
"Some of them dry you, so you don't need toilet paper even for that aspect of it," said Waite.
The rise in bidet sales is viewed as a response to toilet paper shortages in stores and supermarkets across the country.
"It was crazy. Nobody could get a hold toilet paper, as everybody knows, and our phones started ringing about this subject," Waite said.
Waite said the European-style toilets are not only becoming more popular with consumers, but also among custom home builders.
"Interestingly, we've seen a greater increase in replacing the toilet altogether," said Waite. "When I think the consumer learns about what these smart toilets can do, it's no longer just the seat, it's the whole thing."
Miller's Fine Hardware, which has locations in Jupiter and West Palm Beach, requires all customers to wear a mask and gloves when they come into the store.