Um…. How Do Bidets Work?
This is probably the most common question about bidets, so rest assured that if you’re asking it, you’re not alone. Modern bidets are substitutes for regular toilet seats. That means that once you remove your current toilet seat and replace it with a bidet seat, all you have to do is use the restroom like normal, and then stop yourself from reaching for the toilet paper. What happens next depends upon your model of bidet.
If you bought an ultra-low-cost bidet, you might have to turn on a handheld water hose and clean yourself with cold water. If you bought a mid-range bidet model that plugs into the wall, you’ll likely press a button on the side or back of your bidet, a nozzle will appear, and it will spray warm water at you until you’re clean.
If you bought a high-end model similar to the TOTO S550e Washlet that has all the bells and whistles, you will probably press a button on your wireless remote control, then a stainless steel, self-cleaning nozzle will appear, from which water set to your desired temperature and pressure will start spraying until you’re clean as a whistle. Then you’ll press a separate button on your remote control to initiate a warm-air dryer to dry you off.
OMG, I feel so weird asking this… Are Bidets Only For Cleaning Butts?
We’re glad you asked! No, bidets are not just for butts. Nicer bidets offer different nozzle positions like front wash, rear wash, oscillating wash and sometimes even an enema wash. The front wash is most desirable for post-urination.
Additionally, many women select the front wash or the oscillating wash when they’re menstruating. It’s like a mini-shower for their sensitive areas, and it leaves them quite refreshed down below. The enema wash is a nozzle position that sprays water directly into your rectum in order to relieve constipation. This setting works wonders for those who have traditionally relied on enemas or laxatives. Instead of those devices, you select the enema wash setting on your bidet, and voila, constipation is relieved.
Er… Does Using a Bidet Hurt?
No! We admit it may take you a few washes to become accustomed to the sensation of water being sprayed on your sensitive areas, but there is no point at which it will hurt you. Now, if you purchase a low-cost bidet that does not have an internal water heater, you may experience a cold-water shock on your bottom. It won’t hurt, but it definitely will not be as relaxing as a warm-water wash.
Think of it like a cold shower versus a warm shower. The water that feeds your bidet comes straight out of the water line serving your bathroom and that water always runs cold unless you have a device to heat it – like those found in higher-end bidets. Furthermore, nicer bidets also offer you the ability to choose the water pressure of your wash. So if you’re concerned the water spray is going to hurt you, you could always select the gentle water wash to experience for yourself just how gentle that wash setting is.
Once you get used to the gentle wash, you can try the more powerful washes. You’ll quickly see even the higher pressure washes don’t hurt. We believe that once you get used to using a bidet, you’ll come to see that the truly uncomfortable cleaning method is wiping with abrasive, dry toilet paper.
Do Bidets Actually Get You Clean?
We feel strongly that bidets are more sanitary than toilet paper. That’s because when you wipe with toilet paper you run the risk of coming into contact with your own waste. That’s why washing our hands post-restroom-use is of the utmost importance. Obviously, hand washing will always be important.
However, if you use a bidet, your hand comes nowhere near your waste, so you’re eliminating that potential point of contamination. Further, washing away your waste residue with water appears to do a more thorough job than just using dry paper. It’s gross talking about these things, but think about this: if doggy doo-doo got on your hand, would you clean it up in a sink or with a dry napkin? There’s a reason people wash their faces, take showers, and wash their hands. Water is a superior cleansing agent to dry paper.
Will I Miss Toilet Paper?
Highly doubtful. Once people begin using bidets, they don’t switch back. Did you know most of the world already uses bidets? The United States lags far behind in bathroom behavior. For example, Italy believes bidets are so beneficial to hygiene that they actually passed a law way back in 1975 requiring every Italian household to have one.
Bidets are so much a part of Japanese culture that the government installed them in public restrooms. In actual practice, it’s highly likely that once you start using a bidet, you’ll be like the majority of the world: you’ll feel much cleaner and you’ll wonder what took you so long to make the switch.
Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS, an online retail store specializing in bidet toilet seats. Prior to bidetsPLUS, Jensen held management positions in technology-related fields, in both the U.S. and Europe. He has held the position of Product Manager of Global Network Services for British Telecom. Most recently, he held the position of Executive Director of Product Marketing at AT&T Interactive, AT&T’s internet advertising division.