New electronic toilet seat is rolled out

They call it the "essence of cleanliness"

They call it the "essence of cleanliness". It is an innovation in bathroom technology that could change bathroom practices forever.

A heated electronic toilet seat, which incorporates a wash action and hot air drying system, has been launched on to the market by Irish company Pilsung.

The company claims that the electronic toilet seat, or digital bidet, will not only deliver "increased levels of personal hygiene", but it could help save up to 270,000 trees each day by cutting down on the need for using toilet roll. The seat was invented in Japan in 1980 and is now a feature in 75 per cent of Japanese and 48 per cent of South Korean homes.

The unit, which fits all standard toilet bowls, has the appearance of a regular toilet seat but comes with an additional control panel protruding to the side. Using this control panel, users can dictate the strength and duration of both the wash and dry actions.

"The traditional Irish bathroom tends to be smaller than its European counterpart, so anyone looking to install a bidet in an existing bathroom may find that space is too tight," Colin Kermath of Pilsung said. "However, the option now exists to incorporate a toilet seat with bidet features to a conventional toilet bowl and benefit from greater levels of comfort and personal hygiene," Mr Kermath added.

The usage of the electronic toilet seat in bathrooms in medical environments, such as hospitals and clinics, could also have hygienic benefits.

A hands-free toilet operation is seen to help reduce instances of infection and cross-contamination in these facilities.

The digital bidet might also be of benefit to elderly people, Mr Kermath said, along with disabled people and people with conditions that cause limited mobility. "Typically, eight out of 10 people have problems with haemorrhoids and constipation. The warm air washing and drying stimulates the capillaries in the area, increasing blood circulation, reducing pain and easing bowel movements," Mr Kermath explained.

One of the product's leading exponents is British television broadcaster Jonathan Ross who, the company claims, ordered his own model direct from Japan and raved about the service it provides ever since.

Digital bidet models range in price from €600 to €1,000, but consumers are being told that their investment will pay for itself in the long run.

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Assistant News Editor with The Irish Times