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.
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.