Why Bidets Are the Bomb (An Argument)

a bidet toilet seat thumbs up. Try one today!

A bidet toilet seat is contrivance for post-evacuatory cleaning of your posterior, and it's the awesomest thing you never knew you wanted in your bathroom. Most people in the United States think bidets are weird and gross, but I guarantee (not like, legally or anything, but still) that once you have one in your house, you'll never, ever, want to poop anywhere else. That's right folks, I said it; doing a poo and wiping up water-less is just nasty. 

Nearly everyone I talk to about bidets (and that's nearly everyone) acts mystified. How do they work? What does it feel like? Isn't it icky?


Listen. When your hands are, say, covered in mud from working in the garden, how do you clean them? Do you wipe a few times with a paper towel, and then go back to preparing dinner? No, you use water, 'cause water is what humans use to get stuff clean. It's the universal solvent (high school chemistry deserts me, but that sounds right-ish).

Not convinced? Ok. Imagine yourself in possession of a soiled, screaming, malodorous infant. For reasons you can't fathom, it falls on you to clean the child's fundament. What tool would you reach for? A roll of dry, scratchy toilet paper, or a soft, moist baby wipe? Right! Because, as we established, POOP DIRTY! WATER CLEAN GOOD POOP!

So, why, friends, when it's time to polish your own wazoo, do you recoil at the thought of adding H2O to the equation? To put it bluntly, when you only use toilet paper, you're not clearing, you're smearing! Stop fooling yourselves! Your little sphinxes will thank you!

Now, let me introduce you to your new best friend...

Bidets have come a long way since you last saw one on a backpacking trip through Europe (and couldn't decide whether to pee or wash your hands in it). Nowadays, you can get one that fits right over your existing toilet bowl, has a heated seat, seventeen temperature and pressure settings, and knows to how to aim for girls versus boys. 

The one we have in our house is the Brondell Swash 550 (now out of production), an integrated bidet and toilet seat that works with almost any toilet bowl (here's a list of a bunch of different models). We paid $299, which might seem a little pricey, but if you divide that by the number of dukes you nuke in just one year, it's actually quite reasonable. Ours needs a power outlet nearby to warm the water and seat, but there are non-powered options out there if you don't have a plug around. It needs minimal cleaning and doesn't take up extra space.

Can I tell you how much we love this thing? My wife (who is going to kill me now), practically refuses to do her business anywhere else. Our friends (who are going to deny this, then kill me), seem to make a special visits just to number-two at our house. Like, 'Oops, we were just in the neighborhood ... can I go poopy in your awesome toilet? Again!' Yeah right.

To start with, the heated seat is a simple luxury that will make you feel like the king of a small island nation. In the winter, when it's 20 below outside, I sometimes sit on the toilet with my pants down just for the hell of it. You have to feel it to believe it, but after getting used to our heated seat, every unheated one I sit on gives me the prairie dogs (nope; not explaining it).

Then there's the bidet itself, the precise workings of which I won't describe in great detail, 'cause we're not friends like that. But I will say you'll never feel so fresh and so clean. No, it doesn't hurt (it's an odd feeling at first, I guess, but certainly not painful). No, it doesn't miss (unless you move the target around). And no, it's not unhygienic (the bidet wand never actually touches you, so you're not sharing germs). You do still have to wipe; just not as much (it's a big toilet paper saver, if you're into that).

So there you have it. I know our family will never have a toilet without one again. If there were a pro-bidet march at the capitol, I'd probably go to it (woah, it scares me that that's actually true). As awkward and ridiculous as it is, I truly believe people would be better off if more of them used this simple, effective technological advancement. 

Get over your preconceptions and find a friend who has one you can try out. Just don't stop by our neighborhood; ours is occupied.


What is a bidet toilet seat?

A bidet is a bathroom fixture, common in most countries except the U.S.A., which you use to clean your bum after you blurp. You know.

There are standalone bidets (I grew up using these on family visits in Argentina), and more recently, toilet seat attachment bidets, which are really more convenient and just as effective.


How to use a bidet?

Step one: sit on the toilet.

Step two: go poop. Or pee.

Step three: press the bidet button which engages the cleaning wand (no, it's not a magical wand, but yes, it does do magic). 

Step four: rinse your undercarriage with water, like the good Lord intended

Step five: pat dry with toilet paper.

Step six: live happily ever after


How does a bidet work?

It sprays your butt with a stream of water so you can actually get it clean. Yes, you should still wipe after using a bidet, you just won't have to use as much TP as you're used to.

standalone bidet

This (above) is a standalone-style bidet. The three knobs, from bottom to top, are: hot water, drain stopper, and cold water.


Which bidet one should you buy?

Ok, so which is the best bidet toilet seat out there? Unfortauntely, this is a product category that's somewhat difficult to do hands-on-reviews with ... if you know what I mean. The truth is, there are way more good bidet toilet seat attachment options today than there were even five or ten years ago, and that includes everything from perfectly good, functional sub-$50 bidets, so ones that cost more than the toilet itself.


  • Kohler Elongated Warm Water Bidet Toilet Seat
    This is the bidet we have in our home (both toilets), although ours is a slightly older version. I love it. It's a little pricier, because of the heated seat, air blower, and warm water features. But if you divide the cost out over the life of its use, I think it's totally worth it.
  • The Luxe Neo 120 bidet
    This non-electric bidet attachment is a very popular model, and for good reason. It costs less than $40! It's easy to install, with a self-cleaning sanitary nozzle, and adjustable pressure controls. But it doesn't have a warm water option (it's non-electric, after all) or a heated seat, like the Kohler.

    This thing has a lot of great reviews, so for an affordable, starter bidet, I think this might be your best bet. For fancier features, consider upgrading to the Luxe Neo 320.
  • The TOTO SW 2034 Washlet
    This TOTO model is a top-of-the-line, luxury bidet toilet seat. Front and rear warm water options, adjustable pressure and temperature, heated seat and warm air dryer (similar to the Kohler model, above). At more than $350, it's not cheap. But then, this is your pooper we're talking about, people! It deserves pampering.
  • The Bio Bidet Ultimate BB-600 Advanced Bidet Toilet Seat
    The Bio Bidet is another luxury option at a slightly lower price point. 
  • Costco also has a variety of bidet toilet seat options at several price tiers.


Should I wash other things (like my feet) in a bidet?

No, you shouldn't. I mean, if you have a toilet seat bidet, like me, then that would mean you'd be washing your feet in the toilet, which makes you an idiot.

If you have a standalone bidet, like many Europeans, it's a little less ridiculous, but still a far worse option than just washing your feet in the bathtub.


Are bidets clean?

Yes, they're just as clean as your toilet. Which is to say, a bidet toilet seat will stay clean ... if you clean it. Most models have a self cleaning wand option, which makes maintenance a little easier. But like every part of your bathroom, you should take a scrubber to it every once in a while. 

Some people worry that the bidet sprayer mechanism is unsanitary, or that it will spray poop particles all over the place. But I haven't seen anything to back that claim up, and I doubt the sprayer is any more unsanitary than a regular toilet flush, which also stirs up the toilet bowl water.

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Anonymous on May 01, 2015:

Yeah, sure, bidet is great: - how convinient with your pants down to drag your dirty bottom from one fixture to another. Then to straddle over the bide with your panties (or even betted pants) still down. Have you tried it? How was it?

 Or if the bide function is intigrated into the toilet your poop will be partially left on the very spay that supposedely should make you clean. Nice!

A classic bidet was very popular ( and pehaps still) in French brothels, - much less time to get ready for sexual acts and then to clean yourself. Only later such a specific fixture was moved to the bathroom.

There is a much cheaper and functional way to clean yourself (and not only after pooping): Bidet Hand Held Sprayer. You can get it for as low as $12! 

And there is even more cheap solution: a jar-a pot-a can of water.

UncleJerro on Nov 30, 2014:

Most awesome thing I've ever bought. Saw an ad on TV. Thought to myself, well that makes sense. Easy to install from Home Depot or Lowes or even better free shipping at E-bay. $28 and you take off the toilet seat, lay the Bidet platform down and put the screws back in the seat. Then unhook the water supply-which incidently matches the bidet perfectly and the small diameter hose. It can be done in 5 minutes if you know what to do. It has a platform for the controls to the right side of the seat. Turn the knob left (counterclockwise) and it cleans the Bidet (how clever).  Turn to the right and make it come out hard or soft and slow. After several uses it will make you wonder how you ever did without one.  The bidet has a small device where the water exits to hit your behind and can be aimed with a little practice.  You feel more refreshed and know you didn't just smear more feces around your anus hole but you actually removed it.   Then a tap tap with a small amount of toilet paper and halleleujia. Fresh, clean, sanitary and wonderful feeling especially if you have hemmohroids. Now the neighbors and relatives all want to come use it. Thats the only drawback. Happy hiney to you and yours. 

Loves Me Some Bidet on Oct 14, 2014:

LOVE this post!  I just purchased a bidet few months ago and can't stop raving about it.  It's the most wonderful thing.  If I have to go #2, I try to wait until I come home.  I feel SO clean afterwards.  My best friend just laughes at me because we both talk about having those...forgive me..."never ending wipes".  The bidet just gets rid of it all.  I've even gotten to a point where I no longer use tp.  I use a 1/2 of paper towel to just pat dry and keep it moving. :)

Bartholomew Watson on Feb 28, 2014:

My bidet and a glass of wine!

Nothing beats this on a Saturday night besides karaoke nights

which Ive done that too on the bidet!!

Even stored pizza dough in the bidet...

Bidets are the bomb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

noa on May 31, 2011:

French... so.. le bidet is a necessity. For the manoeuvering, uh, wipe your butt, then sit on bidet. Not so hard is it? I've also found it is the PERFECT potty training tool. Kiddies get to play with it after doing their thing. It's just the right height for them. It's also nice for washing your feet in the summer when you've walked around in sandals...

Pablo on May 17, 2011:

I'm from Argentina, here the bidet is a basic part of any bathroom, and I don't understand how you guys can even live without one. You simply cannot clean yourself THERE without using some water. And I wonder: it doesn't get itchy?

Bob D on May 16, 2011:

I'm glad to see someone has the courage to say this!  After a couple years living in Japan coming back to the US and using toilet paper felt like going to the middle ages. Or at very least like using the outhouse with a page from last year's almanac. 

Here is what I think when people nay-say this: I think there's a person who has never walked around with a truly clean crack. They're used to the crusty bits and whatnot being all up in there and they don't want to change. Basically you're used to wearing a dirty diaper all the time!

And that is freaking disgusting. There is nothing like the peace of mind that comes with the 100% certainty that your nethers are clean as anything.

(And a heated seat in winter... Oh my!)

Anonymous on May 15, 2011:

Never tried one, but it sounds nice. My only complaint is that in an ideal world, I'd prefer to be using a composting rather than flush toilet. And although it does make you cleaner, the comparison between cleaning your anus and cleaning a baby, or your hands, etc, is unfounded unless you're a nudist, as there should be very little chance of your anus coming into contact with anything that might act as a vector to spread fecal bacteria. I'm not sure the increased water usage is justified, especially if you bathe frequently.

Also, the first comment is a little ironic, since it was the Asians (specifically Chinese) who originated using paper to clean themselves after defecating. In fact, the Arab merchants in Hangchow in the mid-13th century are recorded as reporting that the Chinese were not clean people because they didn't wash themselves, but only wiped themselves with paper. (See Jacques Gernet's "Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion")

Eni on May 13, 2011:

Bruno should be praised for the amazingly creative and highly persuasive blog post above. It's awesome, and probably generated the most positive comments in a while. Sometimes, getting at a tough subject is the most powerful kind of content their can be. Kudos for taking on and winning with this topic!

Linda on May 13, 2011:

I forgot to mention.  34 + years ago, the NHS maternity hospital where I had to have an episiotomy had a wonderful hot water jet, cleansing and soothing to a part so sore, I had to sit on two pillows.  Talk about luxury and free too!  US should catch up.

Cmar on May 12, 2011:

Another waste of water? Well, it's extra water versus extra paper.

Anonymous on May 12, 2011:

Dude!  I've found my people.  When I try to explan my desire for one, my friends look at me like I want to buy diamond-studded frying pan or something.  Spending a month in Japan (in the winter) introduced me to glory of a heated seat, and sometimes the lovely bidet feature as well.  Heaven.  To compensate for the extra water, we should be smart and add the other feature I loved in Japan: the little washbasin on top of the tank so you can wash your hands in the water before it goes in the tank.  Thank you for this post!

jessiejenks on May 12, 2011:

My difficulty with bidets is not due to the erroneous thinking that using water on your bum is ickier than cleaning with dry toilet paper (seriously? does anyone really think that?), but that bidets that are separate from the toilet require maneuvering to get there - that is what gives me pause. Also because before bidet toilet seats became available many bathrooms just didn't have the space for another whole chunk of porcelain. I love the idea of a thorough cleaning and I would LOVE to have a bidet seat on my toilet. On that note, why haven't bidets always been a part of the toilet? I'm puzzled as to why the original invention of the bidet didn't just modify the existing toilet to include the cleansing spray, saving on plumbing, porcelain, bathroom space and effort.    

elseajane on May 12, 2011:

A bidet is part of the Bath redo that's goi9ng on that a heated seat and...wait for it...a heated floor! No my husband is disabled and has trouble getting clean, now your not the only one on a death list bruno. This will truely be a blessing for us! He will be able to clean himself with out my help...Talk about a raising in SELF ESTEME. So Steve it can be more than just ""a waste of Water". EJ

Linda on May 12, 2011:

Lived in Paris for a year and loved them!  Used to soak undies and socks in it too, however, I think the problem you have thinking of the actual appliance, and not the 'toilet addition' is that when one first sees it, it seems natural to sit with back to the taps, like on the toilet.  No!  You sit facing the tap and if it has a spray, it's not only directed to the correct area, without the soiled water falling back on the spray, but is used, when aimed properly as a (not very efficient) form of birth control.  I would love to have one here in the States, as I got used to them overseas.  Many nationalities including the mid East and European people, think we are dirty because we don't wash everytime like they do!  After all, if you had fecies on your cheek, would you just wipe it with paper and not bother washing?

Kate on May 12, 2011:

I'm fortunate enough to have friends in Italy, and they have two bidets in their flat. It took some courage to ask what it was for, but once I used it I was convinced that it was the best thing since... no, it's better than sliced bread. Ladies. These things keep you clean and happy even during your womanly week. Yeah, I said it. No more "sanitary wipes"! (Which are worse than toilet paper, imho.)

I had no idea that integrated toilet/bidet seats existed. I am so excited. Thanks for enlightening me!

slippyoink on May 12, 2011:

From my own experience, the best part about getting off the plane in Tokyo after a 20 hour flight was using the bidet.

bruno on May 12, 2011:

@jennie: that's right, the wand is positioned so that it's very hard for the water to get back on it. It also does a little self cleaning squirt thing after each use. Trust me, these things are high-tech.

Jennie on May 12, 2011:

I don't really have a problem with the concept of bidets but my big hangup is with the toilet integrated type: doesn't the water come back down after washing your nether regions and get back on the "wand?" The thought of the possibliity of using the bidet after someone else and having their, um, business sprayed on me is more than I can bear. Or is the wand positioned in such a way that the "used" water can't fall back onto it?

steve on May 12, 2011:

also another waste of water

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