Upgrade Your Hygiene Game: Discover the Transformative Power of Bidets

Clean bathroom with sink, shower, toilet, and a freestanding bidet.
Reading Time: ~ 6 minutes

You may have seen them in photographs from friends visiting European hotels, hostels, some Airbnb’s, etc. with the caption: “Why is this sink so low?” Or you may have seen them modernized as toilet attachments in Japanese homes or restaurants; well, because 80.2% of Japanese households with two or more people use them. There’s definitely a lot of chatter about them on social media. Yes, we’re talking about bidets! They are the water-spouting, tushy-soothing devices that have been lurking in the corners of European hostels, Japanese homes, most of Asia, the Middle East, South America, in many parts of Africa, and the hearts of wellness enthusiasts everywhere. Basically, they’re in use everywhere but here in the States. Yet, we only saw their popularity grow when COVID hit. And … we’re the country that came up with eating ……? Seriously?!

Toilet Paper

Let’s address the tissue issue – wiping versus washing. If you accidentally stepped in something messy, would you clean it with a tissue? Probably not! It’s peculiar how we’re gentler with our shoes than with ourselves. Bidets offer the gentle cleansing we deserve, without the friction and irritation of repeated wiping. So why not treat ourselves as well as we treat our shoes? It’s time to say goodbye to the “scratchy paper shuffle.”  Now, I know the language is a little strong (NSFW) but no one addresses this very point better than @DooleyFunny’s video (credited). Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.

What did you think? Makes sense, right?  Well, Joey Keenan took that point a step further and demonstrated it. OK, not really a demo (Thank God). Just watch it.

There have even been rap battles on the topic! Yeah, crazy; right?

When all’s said and done, we’re standing out like an obvious sore thumb when it comes to this whole hygiene thing; and trust me, it’s not the cool kind of standing out. In a “podcast,” we (Americans) were called out on it. It’s not only archaic, but illogical; especially in this age of enlightenment and information. The solution is simple and inexpensive; and it’s an upgrade that can transform your daily routine. One of my favorite articles on the topic is by Terri Coles in Vice, which’s packed with direct & relevant stats & references. I highly recommend it. So, with all that, let’s dive in and see if we can help demystify the World of bidets.

What Are Bidets?

Let’s cut to the chase – bidets (pronounced ‘be-day’) are the ultimate bathroom companions. No fancy talk here. Bidets are gentle spritzers that spray away grime after you’ve taken care of business.

Some believe that, our negative views about bidets may have been inherited from the British. A couple of centuries ago, the British may have created an association between bidets and brothels; and therefore, bidets were considered “dirty.” Others, believe that it’s a byproduct of our involvement in WWII where American troops learned about bidet in … yup, you guessed it, brothels. Bidets were then associated with illicit activity. Veterans, the theory goes, weren’t going to get caught talking about bidets and where they learned about them.

La Toilette intime ou la Rose effeuillée — Fully-clothed woman straddling a bidet (appears to be a cropped version of original painting)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Regardless, our apprehension is dated; and worse, it could be doing us, and the environment, a disservice.

What matters is that they’re more than just fixtures; they embody a comprehensive cleanliness philosophy, and your ticket to feeling super fresh. The best part? They are available in a bunch of options to help us keep our nether regions spick and span.

There are different types of bidets:

🟢 Freestanding
Just like in the hero/main photo of this article (up top), they are usually next to the toilet seat and look like a lowered sink. Our bathrooms are not setup for additional fixtures, so let’s just cross this one out for most.

🟢 Handheld Bidets
Effectively, this (in the photo) is a water sprayer. Like what Hairdressers & Barbers use to wash your hair, you have a sprayer wand, with hopefully ample hose length, to wash yourself.  You can connect this to the same water source that feeds your toilet tank. This is the minimum type of bidet one should have.

Bathroom: Large mirror, sink bowl on top of a wooden vanity, toilet bowl, handheld bidet, and a glass shower door.
Photo Credit: Pexels

🟢 Handheld Bidets
Effectively, this (in the photo) is a water sprayer. Like what Hairdressers & Barbers use to wash your hair, you have a sprayer wand, with hopefully ample hose length, to wash yourself.  You can connect this to the same water source that feeds your toilet tank. This is the minimum type of bidet one should have.

Toilet and handheld bidet.

🟢 Built-In Bidets
The bidet is either built into the seat or into the toilet itself. This is where luxurious options manifest. You can get heated seats, heated water, different water pulses, a dryer (for after you wash), a remote control (attached, detached, wall-mounted), and other options that escape me. I believe many of the Japanese ones that people mention are of the embedded type. If you don’t mind splurging, this is the way to go.

🟢 Add-On Bidets
This is the most economical option, and the easiest to install. You connect it to the existing toilet-tank water source, and attach it under your seat.  This TikTok shows you how easy they are to install.

That said, I’m going to spend a few minutes on add-on bidets because they are the most suitable type.

As you know, we have no shortage of children ranging from preteens to adults, which means we’ve become pros at trying out different add-on bidets. We know which ones are worth your time and which ones are “meh” at best.

Bidet Quality

Now, let’s talk about the importance of quality. As a big guy, I’ve got some serious weight to bear when I sit on the porcelain throne. Trust me when I say that nothing is more frustrating than having a bidet that can’t handle the load. Picture this: I’m sitting there, ready to freshen up, but the darn bidet gets pinched because of its flimsy plastic construction. So, in order to get it to work, I have to do a little dance: shifting my weight or lifting up just a little to relief the pinch, just so the thing can finally start spraying. Talk about inconvenient; right?

That’s why I can’t stress enough the value of strong plastic. Separately, the bidet’s plumbing connectors must be made from solid metal. Our trusty plumber has warned us about the pitfalls of leaky plastic ones, and I ain’t taking any chances. That said, our plumbers don’t like installing them, and price themselves accordingly to make that point.

Baba Recommends …

When it comes to picking the perfect bidet, I’ve considered it all: price, material, ease of installation, ease of use, ease of cleaning, durability, and overall usability. Perhaps most importantly, they cannot require electricity.  Instead, they operate on water pressure. After countless trials and tribulations in the bathroom, I’ve narrowed it down to a few, and these are the bidets that have passed the Baba test with flying colors, and I wholeheartedly recommend them for your consideration:

🟢 The Samodra add-on bidet attachment has been my favorite. I like this for its construction, but also for its on/off buttons —A must for teens.

🟢 My 2nd favorite has got to be Bio Bidet by Bemis SlimEdge. Its simplicity, angled knob, and material have simply made it the perfect powder-room add-on bidet.

🟢 For a handheld sprayer bidet, sometimes called a “shattaf” (Arabic for a washer), I have liked the Purrfectzone Bidet Sprayer.

Did you know: You can always combine an add-on with a handheld, which I’ve done on a few occasions. Having a handheld makes it easier for front cleaning, but also allows us to use the sprayer to clean the toilet bowl.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Concerned about upkeep? Bidets are surprisingly low-maintenance. Regular cleaning is as simple as wiping down surfaces, and some bidet models even have detachable parts, or parts that lift up, that are easy to clean. It’s a small effort for a significant payoff in terms of hygiene.

Benefits of Using a Bidet

Bidets are a game-changer for everyone, from parents to the elderly, those with disabilities, and wellness seekers. Beyond the undeniable freshness, bidets offer a range of benefits that cater to various needs:

  • Cleanliness & Hygiene: Bidets ensure a more thorough and hygienic clean, leaving you feeling refreshed and confident.
  • For All Ages: Bidets cater to all life stages, providing comfort and cleanliness for everyone, from toddlers to grandparents.
  • Rectal Health: Bidets can be a soothing relief for conditions like hemorrhoids, offering gentle cleansing without irritation.
  • Those with Disability: A bidet also comes in handy for folks with health issues or disabilities. Take someone who might have trouble cleaning themselves after using the bathroom – a bidet can step in and help out. This sort of thing promotes self-reliance and offers folks living with disabilities a bit of their dignity back.
  • Environmental Impact: Bidets aren’t just great for you; they’re great for the planet. Did you know that the average American uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper per year? That’s a lot of trees! And it takes 270,000 trees to make toilet paper daily! According to Treehugger.com “making a roll of toilet paper uses 1.5 pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and 1.3 kWh of electricity.” In a separate article, on Vox, “cutting down our use of toilet paper would also save 437 billion gallons of water, and 253,000 tons of bleach that are used to produce said toilet paper.” Bidets are a lot easier on water consumption. By switching to bidets, you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint and help save countless trees.

Ready to make the switch? Bidets are more than a trend – they’re a lifestyle upgrade that promotes cleanliness, comfort, and sustainability. Embrace the bidet movement, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner. If you’re still not convinced, see if this catchy tune will do it for you. ▪️

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