[Updated July 2022]
Warning: If you are squeamish or prude or don’t have genitalia, this post may offend you. 😉
If you read the title as “big on bid-detz” then this is going to be a hard sales pitch. But hear me out.
The poor, little bidet. It gets a bad rap by many Americans and is probably the most misunderstood bathroom fixture this side of the Atlantic. It’s mostly ignorance many do not understand what a bidet is for or how to use a bidet.
Well, I think the bidet (bih-DAY) is awesome.
I always preach that just because something is different, it doesn’t mean it might not be better than what we are used to.
Why don’t Americans use bidets? I know at first, many Americans think a bidet is ‘gross’ or dirty. But I am here to argue the opposite. Read and learn people.
What is a Bidet?
Definition: A low oval basin used for washing one’s genital and anal area.
For some reason, many Americans think this is gross.
Who wants clean genitalia? Well, I do. And a clean anus? Well, that’s just fantastic!
Typically, you use a bidet after using the toilet. It’s a better way of cleaning your genitals after you’ve gone to the bathroom.
Today, Bidets are finally growing in popularity in the United States. And while we still do not typically have separate bidet fixtures in our bathrooms, bidet attachments are catching on! This could be a separate toilet seat loaded with features and a water jet OR just a simple water jet attachment that you can attach under your toilet seat, that you can control to spray water on you for a clean bum.
I have personally installed this bidet attachment in my own bathroom and love it! The Luxe Bidet Neo 185, gets installed under your seat and connects to the fresh water line that fills the tank. It was super easy to install and comes with everything you need. It has a self-cleaning nozzle that washes itself off. Plus, it has two nozzles–one aimed right at your butt and then other a bit further up for women to wash their private parts. I feel so much cleaner and fresher!
Why Use a Bidet
Before judging it open your mind and learn how to use the bidet. A bidet is used to clean your ‘delicates’ or ‘undercarriage’ in those times that maybe you aren’t feeling so fresh – maybe you’ve just had sex or yes, have your period, or even, for heaven’s sake, defecated (you dirty, dirty, waste-producing human!).
You can shower – yes. But how many of us shower every single time we go to the bathroom? We’d have to get our whole body or just the lower half wet just to clean this small yet important area.
Instead we just wipe and wipe with dry paper or perhaps a moistened ‘wipe.’ Now isn’t that actually kind of gross? Wiping will never really clean you. To me, using the bidet with water and soap far surpasses using toilet paper from a hygiene standpoint.
How about a quick, mini-shower with soap and everything for your undercarriage? I say a resounding, ‘yes!’
How is this gross? Cleaning ourselves just as we would in the shower (assuming you do, crazily enough, touch yourself in the shower–sicko!) in a bidet.
Despite the fact that some think the full bidet fixture looks like a toilet, you must think of the bidet as a low sink or wash basin. There you would have soap and a towel to dry yourself just as you do in the shower.
Why has the bidet not caught-on yet in the United States? Why do most Italian households have bidets and think of us as gross since we don’t shower or wash every time we go to the toilet? Which do you think is cleaner? Wiping or washing?
How to Use a Bidet
I thought about making a demo video, but thought better of it.
As I said above, some bidets are standalone basins. Some are attachments as part of your toilet. You can also install a simple hand-held sprayer for rinsing off.
It’s very simple to use the bidet. It’s pretty much a low sink. You just sit down on it (you can face either way–facing front is easier if you are wearing pants, facing toward the faucets means it’s easier to control them). You turn on the water and adjust to get the temperature you like. You can simply rinse or use some soap and your hand or a washcloth and basically clean yourself just as you would in the shower. Then rinse off, grab a towel, dry off and voila clean and ready to face the world!
Here are some very simple Wiki instructions on using a bidet.
I personally use and recommend the Luxe Bidet Neo 185. I even got my partner to try it and he loves it too! We can’t imagine life without it now.
Here are others with high reviews:
When people say, how can you use a bidet?? I say, “Ew! How can you NOT use a bidet?!”
Let’s hear it America – hip hip hooray for the bidet!
What do you think?
Need more bathroom tips? Check out this post on how to use the toilet in Japan!
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I'm quite surprised to read that people don't like the bidet. I love it. It's so weird how we don't have them here in America. What's up with that?
For some historical reason – cost? size? It just never caught on here. Now it would be quite hard to change habits. People are afraid of what they don't understand. I wasn't sure either, but took the time to learn and now I wish I had one!
Ha! I love that you posted about this. I also love bidets or the little power wash hoses you find throughout Southeast Asia. So fresh and so clean! I have decided that I’m going to install a wash hose next to my toilet if we ever settle down and buy a place. Or maybe just move to Europe where bidets are more standard!
Thanks April! I know. Maybe we can start a movement in the US? We are the 1% for Bidets?!
vegan girl next door
OMG. I love this post. Hilarious and so true. I have been wanting to write about the Moon Cup (http://www.mooncup.co.uk/). I think you have just given me the courage to do so. 😉
Thanks Christine!! I think some friends of mine wrote about a similar item!
Lol, nice job with a sensitive topic!
I'll admit I've avoided bidets thus far. I found the electric Japanese toilet seats, which I mainly appreciated for their warmth, usually had a water feature for cleaning your undercarriage as well. Avoided pushing that button. But your article will get me thinking twice.
Go for it Dave! After a few uses…you'll be wondering why you didn't do it before. Of course…i don't have one at home, but I wish I did! Sigh…
Nothing "butt" the facts, ma'am. I rarely encounter these hygienic devices in suburban Chicagoland. Butt when I do, I realize I'm in a decent place. Like a Lazy Boy recliner, they aren't the easiest things in the world to get up from though. It makes complete sense to me that you would be a big fan of these fine fixtures. I bet you would choose having a Bidet over a mini bar in a room you check into. Butt what do I know!
Yes! I don't know if I've EVER seen one in Chicago. I think I did once at a big mansion. Someday I can dream of having my own! 🙂
Love it too! They're big in southern European countries & in the Middle East. My favourite type of toilet can be found in Japan. It has a (bidet)shower and blow-dryer integrated and it all works at the push of a button! You can even adjust the temperature of the water used in the bidet, and that of the toilet seat (awesome for those cold winter days!). My sister had them in her home in Japan and I loved it! 🙂
Thanks Keith!! I've been to Japan and never tried those things. I think I was too scared at what would happen when I pressed the wrong button. Now I need to go back and dive right in. Well, not literally!
Haha. Funny, I had a bidet in a very nice hotel in Manhattan during a recent stay. I had no idea how to use it so I left it there. I'll think about it next time
Thanks for checking in from Turkey Monica. You might be lucky and find one there. Then…go for it! 🙂
When I was working in Pakistan for a few months back in 2003, i noticed that all the toilets there always had a tap adjacent to the toilet bowl with a hose attached.. Couldn't figure out what it was all about until it was explainedto me. People couldn't afford to install bidet's so basically after doing the business , they grab the hose and direct the water to where it's needed and then use toilet paper to wipe the affected part! At first I thought it was quite gross but the more i thought about it, it's really more cleaner than what we do…
I always thought Mick Dundee made the bidet popular in the US 🙂
Hey Glen! I noticed those hoses a lot in Asia too…but without towels so i guess 'air-drying' is key!
Oneika the Traveller
Bidets make SO much sense. I don't know why they are reviled in North America!!
Hey Oneika! Just like most things…when it's new…it's considered 'odd' to Americans. We are used to 'our' way of doing things…and unfortunately, a lot of people think it must be the right way!
Great to meet you at WTM!!
Haha, gotta love a post about bodily functions! Bidets make sense to me. Way less frightening than the japanese mutli-bum washer/dryer contraption! I think i'd prob want to establish a rule about two hand towels in the bathroom though!
ps. i'm glad you decided against the demo vid! 😉
Hey Aisleen! Thanks for checking in. I think that's my next challenge to master the Japanese toilet seat and all it's techie controls. Now…I just need a ticket to Japan!
I recently stayed at a hotel in Venice, Italy where the bathroom was too small for a bidet. The hotel designers had compromised by installing a bidet toilet seat–not one of the fancy electric variety, but one with a mechanical lever that directed an arc of warm water at the guest's underside. (No hot-air dryer–the user needed to use a towel if he or she didn't want to leave the bathroom with soggy undies.) I shot a YouTube of the mechanism in action–minus the user–and my four-year-old grandson thought it was fascinating.
Thanks for stopping by. At least your grandson didn't think it was a water fountain! But very cool that you took him to Venice…lucky kid!
Well done, Lisa! Being brought up in southern Europe I had one of these all my life. Imagine my mortification when I got to North America to go to university and asked where the bidet was in the residence hall bathroom… 🙁
Thanks Leyla! I'm staying with a family in Portugal right now…and there's one in the bathroom. I'm one clean bean! 😛
The Travel Chica
I have to admit that I have been converted to a bidet-user since I have been in Buenos Aires for so long.
Hey Travel Chica – that's great! See it's not so hard to form good, new habits! I love Buenos Aires. How long have you been there? Such a great city.
I'm actually quite surprised to hear there are people who think bidets are gross. How can it possibly be gross that they help improve hygiene? I think they rock! They should be in every bathroom on the planet. I wish I had room for one in my home.
I agree Gray! I have heard those who are unfamiliar with them (read: Folks that see them for that '1st' time), not understand them…and therefore, unfortunately, assume the worst. I recently had a Spanish friend tell me he just used it to put his foot on when he clipped his toenails!
LOL! I love that you wrote about this, it is so honest. I have travelled in Europe and I see these everywhere. I have not actually used one, but I don't think it is gross, maybe just a little uncomfortable (no seat cover). But the best bidet I have seen was in Japan. It had heated seats and electronic buttons – and a front AND back bidet spray. No manual process involved. 🙂
Hi Julie! Try one out next time. You will feel like a bouquet of roses! Okay, maybe just feel like you have a squeaky clean bum! I am disappointed I didn't try the techie ones in Japan. Have to go back now!
Have been singing the praises ever since living in Italy. I remember discussing it with a couple of expat Italians here in Ireland. We were all happy when one of the group found an apartment that had a bidet. A clean, refreshing miracle! 😉
Thanks Katrina! Maybe I've finally found my real blog niche?! Bidets all the time! 😉
I learned to use a bidet while visiting Indonesia. I felt so much cleaner that I was moved to install one in my home bathroom when I came back to Australia.
My friend, who I was traveling with, didn’t feel the same way at all. She was so unnerved by the absence of her beloved, familiar toilet paper that (as she admitted to me) she didn’t defecate for the entire, weeklong trip. By the last day she was clearly miserable, walking funny and almost doubled over, and didn’t seem to notice the activities or the sights at all.
It’s a shame that some people are so unwilling to try new things when traveling. It can really ruin the experience, as it did for her.
I am so glad you wrote about it and very well, down to the fact, esp on the whys! We Asians know this fact for ever, however cleaning one’s underside with water has always been frowned at as gross, also here in Europe! The propagate wipes- okay, yes for a temporary use, but do you really feel clean and fresh after them? I use the wipes to clean the seats, however if no water around, there is no choice!
May be someone has written this already, but I can’t resist writing, that as soon as I leave Europe and head eastwards, the ratio of clean public toilets increases. Doesn’t it? Just look at Dubai- even in the middle if the night, you will find clean washrooms, even at the metro station, unless you go to the old bus station. This has been the only exception to the rule there and we have been to Dubai now almost 4 x. However same – clean washrooms- goes for Singapore, Hong Kong and southwards, for South Africa. All the washrroms at the highways were clean and cleaned as soon as you left- and without you paid! In Switzerland we have clean toilets at the railways stations, however at the price of CHF 2/- ; men can use the pissoir for CHF 1/. (how unfair!!) 😉
It is always a luxury to land in a eastern country and have a bidet or a hand shower (for some reason, they are called Muslim showers) in the washroom! Thumbs up to a clean underside!
Thanks Majida! It all makes sense to me! I do think some eastern toilets that are squat toilets, don’t seem as clean since there is the “splatter” issue and westerners don’t find that very hygienic, but that’s another issue!
I dont understand how bidets are thought to be clean. From what ive read its a sink for your butt. All i can picture is hundreds of people using the same soap and drying towel…it screams std’s
Dear Confused… I have a request. Will you please stay in Billings, Montana and refrain from traveling to other countries? (Although I imagine you are the sort who will never have sufficient funds to travel, I have read that people of your class sometimes win one of the lotteries which are used to tax the uneducated.) You make me embarrassed to be an American.
Class Flyer, you have no class. Rather than telling people who and what they are and where they should or shouldn’t go, why don’t you try enlightening us ignoramuses with your incredible intelligence? I have the same concerns about the bidet as Confused does. The idea of a bidet sounds great (getting a fresh wash) but I don’t see how washing your butt etc. with a faucet or hose (or the spray that comes from the bottom of the bowl) that someone else’s butt and/or other parts has been in very close proximity to – not to mention everything that is splashed around from said nether regions – can be sanitary for the next person using it or even the next time you use it. I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’m just not convinced of the sanitation.
P.S. I’m embarrassed your an American too. Maybe you would be more comfortable in another country.
I appreciate what you said about how much more hygienic a bidet is. I agree that it’s odd that people in the U.S. are still grossed out by the thought of using a bidet. I lived in Japan for a while and they used bidets and we really got used to them and grew to enjoy them!
awesome article. people love to travel. I recommend them to always use travel accessories with them to make their journey more cherishable.