Basic Guide To Bidets

There are many different kinds of bidets available today all serving the same function of enhancing personal hygiene.

Most Americans have never used a bidet, although they've probably heard a funny story about one. Widely used in many other countries, bidets are still not that popular in America, which is surprising because they perform a very important role in enhancing personal hygiene.

The function of a bidet is to thoroughly clean the rectal and genital area after using the toilet. The original bidet, said to have been first used in France, looked like a small trough which was filled with water in which the user would sit and clean his behind. A big improvement in bidet design over the centuries was the introduction of the spray, which allowed the user to get a better clean without having to swill around in water. Bidet design has continued to evolve and today, you can choose from a wide selection of models with different functions.

Bidet design

Traditional bidets are stand-alone units that are installed near the toilet. Manufacturers offer them in many different designs and you can get one to match the other fixtures in your bathroom. There are two types of traditional bidets, the vertical spray and the horizontal spray. The vertical spray bidet shoots water from a spout at the center of the bidet like a little fountain. The horizontal spray, which is a more recent development, shoots water from a nozzle at the faucet. There are some advantages to using a horizontal spray bidet. Firstly, with a vertical spray, some of the dirty water may fall back onto the water spout, something that is avoided with a horizontal spray. Secondly, the horizontal spray nozzle can better target the areas that need to be cleaned.



Modern bidets are not separate units, rather, they are fixtures that are installed directly onto the toilet seat. They are less expensive than traditional bidets and don't take up space. Another advantage is that they allow you to use the toilet and then clean yourself without moving an inch. The controls for an integral bidet fixture are located on its right side and it is quite easy to regulate the flow of water as you sit. Some toilet fixtures now come as combined toilet/bidet models. With such models, the spray nozzle extends from the center back of the toilet bowl when it is activated. It is cleaned after every use by another spray of water before it retracts. Top-of-the-range bidets offer more than adjustable water temperature and pressure controls. They also come with adjustable nozzles, water massage features and warm air drying functions.

Whether you choose a traditional bidet or a modern one will depend on the size of your bathroom and what you want to use the bidet for. Some people prefer a traditional model as in addition to serving the function of a bidet, it can also be filled with water and used as a sitz bath. Sitz baths are soothing for people with hemorrhoids or for women after childbirth.

How do you use a bidet?

Using a bidet does take a little practice. When you're finished on the toilet, move to the bidet and turn on the faucet. Adjust the spray. If it is a vertical spray, it will hit you from below, while a horizontal spray will hit you from the faucet area. You need to angle your body adequately to ensure the spray reaches where it needs to go. It will probably take a few uses before you find the best position to adopt to use the bidet and you may find you have to hover slightly to get a good spray. Also, while you can dispense with toilet paper altogether, it's a very good idea to give yourself a wipe before you use the bidet. This makes using the bidet much more pleasant.

To use a bidet that is part of the toilet or attached to the toilet seat, you simply need to turn on the controls at the side of the unit and let the bidet spray away. Adjust the controls accordingly. If your bidet does not come with a drying function, you will need to dry yourself with a towel after using it.

Pros and Cons

Undoubtedly, there are a few flaws in current bidet design, the main one being the tendency for water to splash a little, or a lot, on the floor or the rim of the bidet. This, of course, is not very hygienic and it takes an experienced user to be able to assume the perfect position over the bidet in order to avoid any form of splashing. The second issue with traditional bidets is that the user has to move from the toilet seat to the bidet and in doing so, may leave a little trail. This can easily be avoided by a cursory wipe or two before using the bidet, or by purchasing a modern bidet attachment which can be fixed onto the toilet seat itself. Finally, one issue that applies to women specifically is that it is important not to allow water to spray from the anus to the vagina. Although dual nozzles and adjustable nozzles have been developed to allow for specific area targeting, it is still important for a woman to angle her body when using a bidet to avoid this from happening.

Overall, the benefits of using a bidet far outweigh any design flaws it may have. Ask anyone who has a bidet at home and they will tell you just how clean and refreshed they feel after using one. After all, it simply isn't possible to get as clean just by wiping with dry paper. People who use a bidet regularly find it becomes as much a part of their daily routine as brushing teeth. For those with sensitive skin or hemorrhoids, bidets are indispensable. Also, after childbirth, bidets allow for localized cleansing of the delicate perineum without the abrasiveness of paper. The bottom line is, once you get used to using it, and it does take some getting used to, the bidet is a very useful fixture to have in your bathroom.

© High Speed Ventures 2011