(BPT) - When it comes to bodily hygiene, what was once considered a luxury — cleansing with water — is now deemed a necessity. Before 1920, daily bathing was a luxury; bathing once a week was the norm. In the 1920s and 1930s, however, industrial automation introduced new standards of hygiene to the American public by reducing the cost of indoor plumbing fixtures. By the 1940s, daily bathing had become an everyday luxury and the social norm.
In the 1980s, TOTO, the Japanese plumbing manufacturer, conceived of a way to make personal cleansing an everyday luxury. TOTO reinvented the humble toilet seat as a high-tech, luxury seat with bidet function and brought personal cleansing into bathrooms across Japan. Capitalizing on toilet tissue’s inability to clean thoroughly, the TOTO brand WASHLET (a neologism drawn from “Let’s Wash”) quickly became popular throughout Japan and Asia and soon, in addition to Japanese homes, it was found in hotels, department stores, airports and train stations. Since then, the market for WASHLET has expanded exponentially. Today, TOTO has sold over 50 million WASHLET worldwide.