Key Takeaway: World Toilet Day, held annually on 19 November, promotes quality sanitation, a human right that leads to enjoyed health, safety, and dignity. Panasonic’s Handy Toilette is a portable bidet that helps ensure said sanitation on-the-go, given that bidets are more sanitary than toilet paper and have a smaller environmental footprint.
Happy World Toilet Day!
Every 19 November, we celebrate a lesser-known – but equally-important – “WTO”, the initiator of World Toilet Day: the World Toilet Organization. Founded in Singapore in 2001, it has now grown to have 151 member organizations in 53 countries, all with the goal of promoting quality sanitation and hygiene. This is a human right that, if violated, can lead to compromises in health, safety, and dignity.
As such, for today’s Product Feature, I’m going to feature a personal favorite that promotes sanitation – and I’m not saying this just because I am high-maintenance when it comes to the bathroom. It really is found to be a good way of ensuring hygiene.
I actually thought I’d already written of this Panasonic Handy Toilette in the past – but that was not the case. I was planning to simply re-promote it on social media as a way of celebrating World Toilet Day, but since it wasn’t in my archives, after all, the opportunity to write about this wonderful quirky creation presented itself. I’ve also happened to have had the device with me for a little less than two months now, so my firsthand experience in using it is an added bonus in today’s discussion.
For those who have traveled to Japan, and to a lesser extent Korea and Taiwan, you’ll notice how the toilets there have the last word in sophistication. Their toilet seats have varying ranges of advanced features, most notably a bidet function or two (one of which is meant to be a general washer, the other of which is meant to target women particularly for their private parts). This is the brainchild of Toto, which dubbed this line of highly successful products the “Washlet” – they even have a portable version of it, just like our Panasonic version hereI promote using bidets over toilet paper, or at least in conjunction with it. Though they admittedly use up water, a precious resource, bidets are a big step forward in terms of sanitation and hygiene – and toilet paper is more environmentally-unfriendly due to the raw materials and energy needed in manufacturing it. At least water is part of a more sustainable cycle. And nothing quite cleanses us like water – this is best seen culturally and symbolically, where water represents purification or cleanliness.
The Japanese love to travel, and in other parts of the world that are not as potty-sensitive as Japan, bidets are less common or even nonexistent. Thus, from the Japanese perspective, there is an unfulfilled need for sanitation on-the-go, one that companies like Toto and Panasonic rose up to the challenge magnificently. Though other companies based in the West have developed their own portable bidets, they are not as sophisticated or polished as their Japanese counterparts.
The Panasonic Handy Toilette is unique among them all, combining features from other brands across the world. The first thing you’ll notice is that it comes with buttons: that’s right, it’s electronic. Specifically, it runs on 2 AAA batteries to provide a water gun in two strengths, high or low – a clear parallel to the variable pressures that their full-sized, fixed cousins provide. The only downside to this is that in the event of no batteries, the thing is useless – it would have been nice to provide a manual back-up. But then, this is Japan, the land of electronics, that we’re talking about: Clearly, they never envisioned a lack of battery supply.
It’s conveniently collapsible too. Upon unboxing, the apparatus is stored back into itself – the outer covering also doubles as the provided water reservoir. To use, you simply pull the device out from the colored covering, fill the reservoir with water, and plug the device on the other way, as is shown in the first photo above. The electronic power works with gravity to “suck” in the water using a vacuum-like function, which then pushes the water through the foldable nozzle.
A major problem here, which has arose for me at an inconvenient time, is that the filter tends to get clogged easily. I remedy this by brushing or wiping it regularly, and I intend to cleanse the device monthly with vinegar. I also now wrap the product in a small towel that doubles as its dry-wiping cloth after each use.
Now comes the interesting part. Panasonic has been generous with their customization here by way of providing a second nozzle tip with two more holes, as well as two “adapters”. The latter is for the purposes of using your own reservoirs with the Handy Toilette, in case the provided one isn’t big enough. It holds just 180mL, and for neat freaks like me, this usually necessitates a second refill – a most awkward scenario if you’re in public. The adapters are to be plugged in your own bottles, and then can be attached to the main device, like in the photo below. The bottle there has about twice the capacity, providing for a lot of water to cleanse.
This is unlike Toto’s version, where you cannot use other reservoirs. And to cap it off, like Toto, but unlike some of the other brands out there, the entire thing is leakproof. Panasonic manages this by lining the edges with rubber O-rings, similar to those in leakproof tumblers. The only catch is that they develop a lot of friction, especially once wet, but that’s the price to pay for being leakproof.
Stored away, the Handy Toilette is only about half a foot long, meaning it can very easily fit into a purse or dopp kit – which is its raison d’être. It’s meant to be portable, and to be used on-the-go: it is most useful when you are traveling, or when you’re staying at a place with no fixed bidets. Some people use it at home, since their toilets have no built-in bidets. The company has also advertised it as useful for cleaning babies’ butts after an episode, so the list goes on. You can even use it as an improvised watering can!
Clinks aside, all-in-all, the Panasonic Handy Toilette is a worthy investment. It doesn’t leak, you can use your own bottles, and it promotes good health and hygiene.
The Panasonic Handy Toilette, model DL-P300-A, is available on Amazon for around USD 65.00.