(Morrow, GA) July 29, 2020 - TOTO, the world’s largest plumbing manufacturer with more than $5.47 billion in annual sales, announced today that 40 years ago, the company introduced WASHLET, its high-luxe, electronic bidet seat. A neologism arising from “Let’s Wash,” WASHLET is a registered trademark of TOTO.
With the launch of WASHLET, TOTO established an entirely new personal care product category and ignited a worldwide revolution in personal hygiene. Far superior to the paper alternative, WASHLET provides consumers with the kind of clean that makes them feel more refreshed, rejuvenated, and confident than they have ever felt after a bathroom break. Today, WASHLET is recognized as the best-selling brand of toilet seats with bidet functions in the world.1
“Since the founding of TOTO over 100 years ago, our core mission has been to improve people’s lives with innovative, high-quality products,” said Shinya Tamura, CEO, TOTO USA. “When we launched WASHLET in 1980, we introduced a product that revolutionized the way people perform an important daily ritual.” He continued. “With WASHLET, they could use warm water to cleanse post toileting instead of dry paper. Consumers found they were cleaner and more comfortable than they had ever felt before. Today, we have sold over 50-million WASHLET globally because consumers are confident they meet our exacting standards for quality and reliability, which are the highest in the industry.”
The First WASHLET
Before its launch in 1980, TOTO engineers worked tirelessly product testing its original WASHLET model to find the ideal angle at which water should spray from the wand that extends from beneath the seat. With the help of more than 300 TOTO employees who tested various positions, they found it was 43-degrees, what TOTO calls “the Golden Angle.” When the first WASHLET launched in 1980 in Japan, it offered warm water to cleanse, warm air to dry, and a heated seat. WASHLET sales continued to increase steadily. By 1998, WASHLET could be found throughout the country – in residential bathrooms, restaurants, hotels, department stores, supermarkets, book stores, convenience stores, parks, and train stations. In 2020, Japan’s Cabinet Office, which monitors bidet seat market penetration as a gauge of consumer confidence, reported that 80.2% of households in Japan own a bidet seat.
Today, Tokyo’s Narita International Airport Terminal 2 is home to Gallery TOTO, a stylish, high-tech restroom where travelers can experience WASHLET and NEOREST® first hand. Recently, TOTO installed a second high-tech restroom space at Narita. Experience TOTO is located in Terminal 1 and is designed to showcase WASHLET, NEOREST, and advanced restroom technology, including IoT-enabled.
Since its launch in 1980, TOTO engineers have continued developing new features for WASHLET at a dizzying pace. It is important to realize that even the most basic WASHLET features have hundreds of hidden innovations behind them. Below is a brief list of some key features TOTO has innovated for WASHLET:
- 1983 Automatic Self-Cleaning Wand (before and after each use)
- 1988 Wand Positioning, Wireless Remote Control, SOFTCLOSE® Seat, SOFTCLOSE Lid
- 1992 Ozone Deodorizer, Pulsating Water Massage, Oscillating Water Massage
- 1993 One-Touch Lid Removal (for easy cleaning)
- 1995 One-Touch WASHLET Main Unit Removal (for easy cleaning)
- 1997 Automatic O2 Deodorizer (from seated position)
- 1999 Wonder-Wave Water Technology (increases personal cleansing comfort and reduces water usage by more than 30%)
- 2001 Automatic Energy Saving
- 2003 Auto Open/Close Lid, Auto Flush
- 2011 EWATER+® Cleaning Technology for Wand (before and after each use)
- 2012 Toilet Bowl Cleaning Technologies: PREMIST® (before each use) and EWATER+ (after each use)
- 2017 AIR-IN WONDER-WAVE® Water Technology (air-infused water droplets further increase personal cleansing comfort and reduce water consumption)
The company’s dedication to continuous innovation has its downside, too. Inevitably, it inspires imitators, and WASHLET is no different. However, when it comes time to purchase, consumers choose WASHLET as TOTO is known all over the world over for its products’ high quality and reliability. Furthermore, the company’s dedication to superior after-sales service is unparalleled.
To support WASHLET owners, TOTO maintains a dedicated team of Technical Support and Customer Service professionals. They are available by phone Monday through Friday, from 8AM to 8PM EST at 888.295.8134, Ext. 6. By Live Chat, they are available Monday through Friday, from 10AM to 1PM EST.
Since its introduction in 1980, WASHLET has advanced a culture of every day cleanliness and comfort across the globe. In 2019, TOTO announced that it had sold more than 50-million WASHLET units worldwide.
WASHLET sales from the company’s international subsidiaries continue to increase dramatically. Moving forward, TOTO plans to increase the number of WASHLET units shipped to these subsidiaries from 580,000 units in 2018 to two million units by 2022.
One of the best things about a peaceful, refreshing WASHLET experience is that it is available nearly anywhere consumers travel because WASHLET is offered in fine hotels around the globe.
Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco
Centrally located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the Palace Hotel, owned by Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts, LP, is a member of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection. Steps away from the Financial District and Moscone Center, the Palace is the ideal destination for business or leisure. A legend in San Francisco, the Palace seamlessly merges period elegance with modern technology and innovation. The hotel’s architecture showcases Austrian crystal chandeliers, Italian marble, and intricately worked stained glass. Guests enjoy accommodations in 556 recently renovated rooms with 11-foot ceilings and expansive windows. Guest baths on the Palace Hotel’s upper floors and all suites are appointed with WASHLET by TOTO.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Located on 50 oceanfront acres of Kauai’s sunny southern shore, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is owned by Kawailoa Development LLP, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Takenaka Corporation. Fronting onto a gleaming white sand beach, this 602-room resort unfolds among lush gardens and pristine lagoons, offering beautiful views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the lush mountainside. Strongly committed to environmental conservation and preservation of natural resources, this luxury resort’s graceful atmosphere is informal and reflective of Hawaii’s climate and culture. Its classic Hawaiian-style architecture features open courtyards and walkways with spacious guest rooms that offer a private patio or lanai. All 602 of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa’s sophisticated guest baths feature WASHLET by TOTO.
1In 2018, Euromonitor International, Ltd., a global leader in international market research, certified WASHLET as the world’s number one brand of electric toilet seats with bidet functionality based its sales volume.
Journalist’s Note: High-resolution digital images of WASHLET, the Palace Hotel, and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa are available for download from the Online Press Room or immediately upon request.
TOTO USA is headquarters for the Americas Division of the TOTO Global Group, which was established in 1917 with the founding of TOTO, Ltd., in Kitakyushu, Japan. TOTO is the world’s largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings with $5.47 billion dollars in annual sales (as of March 2020 and its exchange rate). For the past 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in innovation, technology, performance, and design with products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. Today, the company maintains 33,431 employees in 20 countries and owns manufacturing facilities around the world in countries as diverse as Japan, Mexico, Germany, the USA, India and China. Guided by its corporate philosophy, the TOTO Global Group strives to create a great company, trusted by people all around the world, which contributes to the betterment of society. Dedicated to engineering products that respect the environment while meeting people's needs for comfort, beauty and performance, TOTO is the sole plumbing manufacturer to maintain a research and development center devoted to universal design, advanced science, and technology. Consumers enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing they purchased a brand that innovates to improve people’s quality of life. Winner of numerous domestic and international awards and recognitions, TOTO is the only plumbing manufacturer honored as Water Efficiency Leader by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company continues to raise industry standards and consumer expectations as to what is possible in the bath space, as TOTO believes a high-quality bathroom is an experience and an everyday luxury people value and appreciate.
For more information, consumers may visit www.totousa.com or call 1.888.295.8134, Option 5. Follow TOTO on Twitter (@TOTOUSA) and Instagram (@TOTOUSA) and become a TOTO fan ON FACEBOOK.