What is a Bidet?
What is a Bidet?
A bidet is a bathroom fixture which sits low and allows the user to clean their genitalia, anus and inner buttocks. Its name comes from the French language and means “pony” due to the way a user sits on it. It was originally invented in the late 17th to the early 18th century and there is some controversy over who was the actual inventor. Originally a bedroom fixture, by the 1900s, advances in plumbing infrastructure allowed the bidet to move to its proper place in the bathroom. In the 1960s, electronic bidets made their first appearance, allowing a toilet seat bidet to be attached to any existing toilet. This advancement allows people who don’t have room for both a toilet and a bidet to combine the two into one space-saving unit.
How to Use a Bidet
Bidets are generally used to clean the user’s genitalia, inner buttocks and anus. The most common way to use a bidet is to sit facing the back of the bidet, towards the tap and nozzle though it is also possible to sit in the reverse position. Bidets are closer to a basin or sink than they are to a toilet and are even used for washing feet and even as a baby bath! A bidet either has one tap which dispenses warm water or multiple taps, which pour into a basin which can be stopped or allowed to drain freely. Some bidets use an arc of water which shoots out and allows easy cleaning of the genital and anus area.
Popularity of Bidets
In many southern European countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece), some Latin American countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay), the Middle East and Asia, the bidet is a common bathroom fixture. They have yet to catch on in the United States, however, possibly due to their expense as well as the general attitude towards them there.
The Toilet Seat Bidet
One of the most revolutionary advances in bidet technology is the toilet seat bidet. These toilet seat bidets attach easily to an existing toilet and provide all of the benefits of a traditional bidet in an integrated package. Some toilet seat bidets have one nozzle which is used universally for every application, while others have two nozzles; one for the anus and one for feminine hygiene. Most toilet seat bidets use electricity and require a GFCI outlet located near the toilet in order to function. These modern bidets can include such amenities as a built-in automatic deodorizer, a warm air dryer, and automatically opening hydraulic seats. In the 1980s, the “paperless” toilet was invented in Japan. These toilet bidets can not only clean the anus with an arc of warm water but also have a built-in warm air dryer to finish off the job. Toilets like these are extremely popular in Japan and Korea and are found in at least 60% of all households.
Bidets in Hospitals
Toilet seat bidets are becoming a popular addition to hospital bathrooms as they can be of great help to the elderly and those who are unable to properly clean themselves. These bidets frequently feature remote controls which can be mounted on a nearby wall. This can be essential for those patients with limited mobility.
In most areas of the world, bidets are affordable and widespread. In Middle Eastern countries, bidets cost approximately $20 and are very common. In the United States, bidets can vary from $50-1500 and can be even more expensive in Japan. The difference in prices between bidets is due to the presence of different bells and whistles, such as a remote control, a warm-air dryer and temperature controls.