I had never actually seen a bidet before and certainly never used one until now. And what do I think after three days? I am kicking myself for not learning about & installing one of these years ago! I can only imagine how much healthier & cleaner I’d have felt (and how much less toilet paper I would’ve used) much sooner.
The first time I’d heard of a bidet was seeing a canister of personal wipes that my mom had labeled “Po’ Man’s Bidet” when I visited her new house during college. Mom told me it was a fancy joke on her part, that bidets were mostly in Europe to clean up your privates instead of using a bunch of toilet paper, and that was that. This was over a decade ago.
But now, with the Toilet Paper Famine of 2020 going on, more people started bringing up the bidet in blog posts and articles (and many are trying to buy ’em). Being me, I did some research, looked around websites (had nothing better to do, anyway), and was shocked at the many different types there were. I did some comparison shopping (some are crazy expensive and I’d have no idea how to install them). Before I knew it, I’d bought two that I could install myself from HelloTushy.com (yes, that’s the real website name), the basic models.
Once I checked the directions several times to make sure I had it right, it only took me 15 minutes to install each one. I put them on my toilets Thursday night and gave them a whirl this weekend (so to speak).
BE ADVISED: American dumb-ass humor tends to include dick, fart, or poop jokes galore, so it’s amazing to me how squeamish we (Americans) generally are about discussing or asking questions on digestive health, excrement and hygiene. Especially digestive and reproductive health.
So, since I’m a woman, yes, gents, there’s gonna be some mention of menstruation. If you feel “ick” and “eww” just thinking about that, you might wanna click to something else… And saying that, if you are currently sexually active with a woman who can menstruate, and STILL can’t even think about the subject or discuss it with them, I’d like to recommend you grow the hell up already.
Seriously, it’s a fact of life, and women hate “that bleeding thing” more than you, so deal.
Anyhoo, I’ll let you know some of the things I learned the past few days:
1. There are several models and types of bidets. Take a good look at what kind you think would work best with your plumbing and room situation (and budget). Feel free to read up on them all first.
The bidets I picked out are the basic models that screw onto the toilet. Not the wands you attach to the side of the tank, or a separate bidet, or a hybrid toilet/bidet setup that costs hundreds of dollars.
2. The water is clean and comes from the supply line to your tank, not the toilet bowl. The nozzle hangs in the bowl in the installed versions, though, but has a self-flushing mechanism you can use to clean it off. And yes, the water can be somewhat cold.
Many people don’t like the idea of a jet of cold water slapping them right in the rectum, yahoo, bunghole, whatever you call it. I can understand that. There are “spa” models out there that give you the option of warm water, but only if you can hook into the hot water line (or are willing to tap into it through your cabinet and to your bathroom sink). My toilet’s completely opposite from that wall in one bathroom, so I didn’t bother with that “spa” model.
The good thing is the controls are by hand as far as the jet goes with a small switch. You can move the spray nozzle angle up or down a bit to get you just right without having to look down and see. Of course, I’d recommend not going full blast while finding the angle. Hell, I haven’t tried to go that far.
You control the force of the water flow with a knob. And so far, I like it. For lack of a better description, the jet action feels almost like a really big water pik, but for your bum, not your teeth.
Funny enough, the versions that have the jet nozzle hanging on the tank look like really big water piks. Huh.
3. A toilet stool is useful for imitating the relieving squat (better for your rectal muscles, actually) that humans had done for thousands of years before the outhouse hole or crapper was invented.
I didn’t get the ones on the website with the bidets. I found a pair I could get for cheaper that look much chunkier from Wayfair, but as long as they do their job, who cares? I know I don’t.
I remember when I was a janitor hearing stories of people who would use the toilets by placing their feet on the seat and imitating a squat over a hole–usually recent immigrants. I thought that was strange until I read reports from doctors that the squat of old relaxed the rectal muscles well enough to let excrement come out much easier without straining. Anybody who tends to have painful pooping sessions might wanna invest in a toilet stool, bidet or not.
As far as using the bidet goes, I noticed that once I’d done my business, I kicked the stool back under the toilet bowl (many are shaped to wrap around the toilet in a way) and went for the cleanup. My feet on the floor makes it easier for me to shift positions to get the jet of water where I want it without having to change the nozzle’s angle too much.
4. It takes getting used to the cold water, just a bit. If you’re prone to burned-ass from spicy foods, hemorrhoids, or anal itch, though, you’ll want that jet of cold water. I can imagine it would feel good.
It sucks getting older. I used to eat jalapeno, sausage and cheese kolaches for breakfast when I had major sinus problems to let the heat clear them out, but boy, the jalapenos sure hurt coming out the other end! And don’t pretend you don’t have some kind of “ease the burn” remedy you’ve had to use. I think we all know better.
5. The bidet is super helpful when you’re menstruating. The water jet focused at the vaginal area is VERY useful for basic cleanliness.
I swear, the first time I tried the bidet, I didn’t have the urge to shower several times a day anymore just because I was menstruating. My cycles can be heavy and harsh, and it’s hard to feel clean. If you’re not careful, you can develop some skin irritation and other issues from cleaning too often. It’s the “ick” factor–women like to feel clean, dammit.
Showering multiple times a day, risking drying yourself out with cleansers is not healthy. Neither is wads of toilet paper or a handful of personal wipes to clean up. No, if you take your time and angle yourself just right (might take a bit of moving around to do it) the water will help clean you out where you need it most.
That’s a helluva lot of toilet paper you can save just from that time of the month alone! And even though you’re obviously using water for the bidet, that’s a lot less usage than in the shower.
6. The Big One: Remember to pat or blot to get the water off. DON’T WIPE!
By that, I mean if you’re trying to save toilet paper, have some dedicated “bum rags” on the back of the toilet, like in a basket or something. I got a bunch of cheap hand towels in very different colors than what I use for the rest of the house. If I use one to blot, it sits to the side to dry. I’m using a fresh one every day, and I’ve got enough to keep clean ones handy and wash others. Of course, if there are multiple people, you might have to come up with some other system, or invest in a ton of washrags or something so once used, they chuck them in the dirty laundry basket. I chose hand towels because washrags are made of rougher material. Absorption vs. scrubbing ability.
I say blot or pat because you’re mostly trying to get dry and not leave wet spots on your pants or underwear. If you don’t clean as well as you think, you could end up with skid marks on the towel. We’re used to toilet paper, so it’s ingrained in us to reach and wipe. However, you just need to pat dry when done if you’ve done it right!
Which leads to this for your health–
7. Take your time. Hell, meditate on the pot even. Just take a few moments to relieve yourself, clean yourself, and get properly dry. It’s essential self care.
Early in the morning when I haven’t had my coffee yet, that jet of water can really wake me up quick (hee hee). But more than that, we treat bathroom time like “get in and get out,” which is not terribly good for those vital muscles if you’re forcing yourself to poop or pee quickly all the time just to get on with your day. It may take a couple more minutes than usual to feel like you’re clean enough, but it’ll be worth it if you can save some toilet paper or feel more comfortable when starting your day.
So, those are a few things I learned about the bidet during my first few days of using one. It’s a good way to save on toilet paper if you want to (not my biggest concern–I have plenty of rolls, but I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my trash output). And if you’re a person with digestive issues, prone to skin irritation from over-cleaning, or a myriad of other personal issues (since we’re all so different), then a bidet might be a useful investment.
Frankly, I can’t wait for my mom to come down this summer and see I’ve got bidets. She’ll probably shriek in surprise if she accidentally turns it on (or shriek and giggle when she notices I remember her old joke).
There are many resources about bidets, how to use them, the styles you may encounter while traveling, ones for the home, whatever. One great one was a wikihow article I found about “how to use a bidet.”
Just something to think about if you’re on the fence about having one in your home, and whether or not you’d use it. I was skeptical at first. Now, I’m convinced for myself. Just gotta make sure kids don’t come over and mess with it when we get back to normal and I start babysitting again.
Oh, crap… that’s gonna be a fun talk. I’ll have plenty of towels handy… just in case.