The bidet toilet is a common sight in Europe, Asia and most of the Middle East. Bidet toilets are less common in the United States, but many people choose to make a switch and have a bidet installed.
Statistics about bidet toilets say that at least 80% of households in Japan have a bidet or bidet attachment in their bathroom, compared to about 12.5% of American households.
Bidets can have many benefits, including less toilet paper usage and a reduced rate of bacterial transfer when going to the bathroom. The use of a bidet can also cut the amount of time that you spend in the bathroom, and makes the uncomfortable experience of cleaning up much less of a mess for many people.
Bidets are a common sight in hotels and airport bathroom. If you have never seen or used a bidet in a house before, you are likely to encounter one in places where international travelers go – and have to, well, go.
There’s a lot myths about the bidet and its use out there. Many people believe that a bidet is a health risk, or that a bidet is expensive to install or difficult to use. Luckily, that’s all bull. Bidets are more sanitary than the use of toilet paper to clean up, and most bidet units are easy to use and install without any changes to your water flow or plumbing.
Want to know how you can install a bidet in your home bathroom, or how to use a bidet the right way in case you have encountered one and needed to Google it first?
Here’s your guide to everything there is to know about the bidet and its use, including the most common bidet types you’ll find in bathrooms all over the world, more information about what to do with a bidet, and the top 5 bidet buys you can find on Amazon.
- All About Bidet Toilets
- A History of Bidets
- Bidet FAQ: What to Know First
- The Top 5 Bidet Buys on Amazon
- Conclusion: Should I Install a Bidet?
All About Bidet Toilets
Bidets (or bidet sprayers) are becoming a more common sight in United States households, in part thanks to a national toilet paper shortage that meant people started looking for alternative methods of cleaning up in the bathroom.
A bidet is an advantage due to the fact that it requires the use of much less toilet paper than without a bidet. If you don’t have a bidet, you might go through several hundred rolls of 2 or more ply toilet paper per year (and if you were to add up the cost, it’s quite expensive just to be human).
A bidet in your bathroom can save on the increasing cost of toilet paper.
But the use of a bidet doesn’t just save resources, it can be considered more hygienic.
Toilet paper has a major disadvantage, and that’s the fact that its use spreads germs around. Bacteria can filter through several layers of toilet paper – and even when most people think their hands are spotless after using the toilet, it’s really not.
Smartphones have more bacteria than the average toilet seat. That’s because smartphones come into contact with the hands, which spend most of their time in the bathroom handling toilet paper – while there’s very little contact between germs, hands and the physical toilet seat.
When using a bidet, there’s almost zero contact between fecal matter, toilet paper, your hands and the toilet seat. A bidet simply sprays water at the right angle, adjustable if you were wondering, so that all manner of fecal matter is simply cleaned away.
If your phone is cleaner than your toilet, then it might be time to consider alternatives to toilet paper.
A History of Bidets
Bidets have been around for a long time.
While this article isn’t meant to make you feel like you’re back in history class, you should probably know that the idea of a bidet dates back to the 1600s, where it was used mostly throughout Europe. Use of the bidet would later spread to the rest of the world, and be more popular in some countries than others.
To compare this with the invention of the toilet, the modern toilet as we know it was invented around the same time. Credit for the first flushing toilet goes to Sir John Harington just before the year 1600.
Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet like many people believe, but is credited with the creation of the flushing mechanism located in the top of the toilet cistern. That’s called a ballcock, just in case you were wondering.
Modernization of the bidet would bring the device to much more common use in the 21st Century. Bidets can be found almost everywhere today, with more households choosing to switch to a bidet for budget, convenience or health reasons.
Bidets are multipurpose, easy to install and usually pretty portable.
Most of the myths you’ll hear about bidets and their use are incorrect. Bidets are hygienic, easy to use and even easier to install.
Bidet FAQ: What to Know First
The bidet is common, but there are still many people who have never seen or used a bidet toilet before. It’s not unusual for someone encountering a bidet for the very first time to have absolutely no idea how to use one…and that might be what brought you to this page or paragraph!
New to the use of a bidet?
Looking at one right now?
Here’s what you should know as an introduction to bidet use and history:
What is a bidet?
A bidet refers to a mechanism that projects a water jet at an angle, usually just under or below the toilet seat. Sometimes, a hose-type bidet contains an extendable hose instead of only the jet or nozzle.
A bidet can be either part of the toilet itself, or more rarely, located separately from the toilet. Many people who have never seen a bidet before mistake it for a strange-looking modern basin – or sometimes, even a water fountain.
No, bidets are not meant for drinking from! If you see any bathroom that contains one basin and then a smaller secondary one, the second basin is likely a bidet.
Bidets are meant to be an easier, cleaner way of cleaning up after using the bathroom.
When they are used properly, bidets cut down on toilet paper use, avoid water wastage and are completely sanitary.
What are the benefits of using a bidet?
A bidet has many advantages above the usual combination of toilet paper and the toilet.
First, the use of a bidet is likely to cut down on your use of toilet paper. If you spend too much on toilet paper per month or year, a bidet can probably save you a lot of money.
Second, the use of a bidet is considered cleaner than the use of toilet paper. Toilet paper gives you an increased risk of spreading fecal bacteria around – and yes, germs can well make it through several layers of toilet paper.
The use of a bidet also reduces the likelihood of a clogged toilet. A large percentage of toilet clogs happen due to excess toilet paper that gets compacted into the pipe, causing the toilet to be unable to flush without backing up.
How does a bidet work?
Bidets are pretty easy to use, at least once you have figured out where it should be angled. If you are not used to a bidet, the first experience might cause you to jump at the thought of a water jet in sensitive places, however most people get used to this.
Angle, and spray. That’s it.
Bidets don’t cause a splash, and the water jet isn’t strong enough to jet out everywhere. All bidets do is clean up – and properly.
How common are bidets in households?
Bidets are found in as much as 80% of households in Japan, but only found in 12.5% of American households by comparison. More US households and businesses are choosing to switch to bidet use, in part thanks to toilet paper shortages.
Is a bidet safe to use?
When they are used right, yes.
The only way in which a bidet could be “dangerous”: to anyone is through losing their footing and falling against it. That’s a risk that you take anywhere, and the same thing can happen with a basin, bath or toilet.
Bidets are unlikely to spill, or to jet water across the floor. If they do, be aware that you could slip on wet tiles.
While these injuries aren’t too common, they happen.
Is a bidet sanitary?
Yes, and that’s one of its primary benefits.
Bidets don’t risk the spreading of bacteria as much as the use of toilet paper. In fact, the bacteria level associated with bidet use is close to zero!
Are bidets exclusively for men or women?
No! While it’s a common myth about bidets, a bidet is for men and women to use.
Are bidets hard to install?
Not anymore. Old-fashioned bidets (the separate, basin-type) can require complicated installation that’s just as much work as installing a secondary basin or toilet in the bathroom.
Portable and modern bidets connect to your existing water supply, and usually clip to your toilet or its seat.
Do bidets eliminate the need for toilet paper?
It can, yes, but most people prefer to dab dry with a bit of toilet paper rather than air-dry when they’re done. Still, the use of a bidet cuts your use of toilet paper by a massive amount; enough for your budget to notice in about a year’s time.
The Top 5 Bidet Buys on Amazon
Want to install a bidet yourself?
Here are the top 5 bidet buys you can get on Amazon.com, ranked.
Brondell GoSpa Travel Bidet GS-70
The Brondell GoSpa Travel Bidet GS-70 is one of the best portable bidet models, and currently the #1 Best Seller for Bidets on Amazon. The first good thing is that it’s made by one of the leading companies in bathroom accessories and bidets.
It’s a simple travel bidet that can be taken wherever you go to, or installed in your own bathroom at home. It’s great for many people who would like access to a bidet in public or hotel bathrooms that don’t contain one.
Easy to use, it’s made from quality materials and projects a strong water jet for such a small bidet unit. It can outrank some bidets that cost about ten times as much, though this one retails for way under $20.
Mighty Rock Meidong Portable Handheld Travel Bidet
The Mighty Rock Meidong Portable Handheld Travel Bidet retails for just under $30, making it one of the best affordable personal bidets you can buy. Right now, it’s a second-best seller on Amazon with thousands of good reviews that vouch for how well it works.
The Meidong Mighty Rock is easy to use and install, with no required changes to your existing bathroom plumbing. It’s a literal “plug and play” bidet model, and one of the best for new bidet users.
Cleanliness guaranteed, this model is simple, electric and portable.
BLAUX Electric Portable Bidet Sprayer
The BLAUX Electric Portable Bidet Sprayer is made as an easy-to-install and portable bidet unit that anyone can use. If you’re traveling, it’s even easy to remove and attach to any toilet where you’re staying over in a few minutes.
No changes to plumbing needed, just hook it up and there you go: you have a bidet now.
Made for personal use, it’s small and discreet. It carries a higher price tag than some of the other portable, electric bidet models – and you can expect to pay almost $70 for the BLAUX model, though it can be worth it.
SmarterFresh Bidet Attachment for Toilet
The SmarterFresh Bidet Attachment is an example of a portable bidet that requires attachment to your toilet seat. Again, no changes to your bathroom or plumbing will be necessary to install this bidet – just hook it up in a few minutes, and there you are.
This particular bidet attachment is great because it provides a strong jet of water, and can be angled for use. Reliable reviews attest to the fact that this is a great product that can be ideal for first-time bidet users.
The SmarterFresh comes with a spray head and hose, which is easy to attach to any toilet. It retails for just under $30, and it’s considered to be much better than some bidet units that cost three times the price.
Tushy Travel Bidet Collapsible
The Tushy Travel Bidet is a collapsible bidet unit that’s made for travel or camping, but can work just as well for a small household bidet. It’s easy to use and has a pretty strong water jet for such a small unit – and it’s made from safe materials so that it lasts a long time.
While it’s not electric like some of the higher-powered models, it does the job just fine and retails for under $30 as a first-time bidet option or a travel-size unit.
Conclusion: Should I Install a Bidet?
Bidet use is considered much more common in Europe and Asia than in the United States, but more than 1 in 10 American households have already made the change to the use of a bidet instead. If you would like to install a bidet yourself, it could save you hundreds on your yearly toilet paper budget – and as we know, the use of a bidet is much cleaner too!