If you haven’t bought a bidet before, it’s understandable to find yourself a little unsure about your purchase. Toilet seat bidets, after all, are still in the process of gaining popular use in the US and many still aren’t familiar with how they work.
First things first, though. If you’re buying a toilet seat bidet, you have to take note of two important things: your existing toilet and your budget. Since it will be an add-on accessory to your bathroom fixture, you will have to make sure any bidet you buy will fit snugly as a replacement for your toilet seat. Four variations of toilets (either one-piece or two-piece elongated and one-piece or two-piece round) are usually found in homes and you’ll have to arm yourself with that information before shopping for your bidet.
As for establishing a price, there’s a wide range of options in toilet seat bidets. The cheapest and simplest units can run as low as $40, while complete sets with a barrage of features installed can retail for as high as the low four-figures.
While cheap bidets are available, we highly recommend investing in a moderately priced unit ($250 to $500) from trusted brands like Toto, Coco Bidet, Bio Bidet, and Brondell. You can expect bidets to be widely used inside the home (especially if you’re planning to eliminate toilet paper in its presence), so a moderate investment should be a smart choice in exchange for a higher quality of build.
As for features, expect your costs to add up with each extra function your bidet facilitates. If you have the budget for the extra expense, they should be worth every penny, though. Some features I personally consider necessities for new bidet owners include:
- adjustable water pressure (helps cleansing a lot)
- adjustable water temperature (for hard-to-remove dirt)
- warm air dryer (for drying your wet bum)
Other features that are not real necessities but you may find of value include:
- heated seats
- remote controls
- seat sensors
- hydraulic lids
- built-in deodorizer
Hopefully, that’s enough to get you started on your road to buying your first toilet seat bidet.
A big concern among the toilet-paper crowd when they are first faced with using a bidet is how to clean it. Since you’ve got it shooting water into your sensitive parts, it’s a fair anxiety too. Too much can go wrong, after all, that can lead to some costly medical bills if the thing proves unhygienic.
The good news is that bidets are considered the most sanitary cleansing for your private areas for good reason. Read on and find out why.
1. Unless you buy a poorly-designed, third-rate variety, dirty water from your posterior will never land on the nozzle, in a circular pattern that many people are afraid of. Bidets are tested many times to ensure that only clean water ever touches you down there – guaranteed.
2. Toilet seat bidets from popular manufacturers like Coco, Brondell and BioBidet are maintenance-free. Their nozzles and jets often come with a self-cleaning feature too, making it unnecessary to clean them yourself.
3. In case you want to clean them yourself for your own peace of mind, simply wipe the areas down a damp cloth. Some bidets, especially the more expensive models, also have a “quick release” feature that allows you to disassemble it in a jiffy, so you can clean each part individually.
4. For both carbon and iodine external water filters, bidet owners are advised to replace them every six months. Most manufacturers recommend using an iodine filter for best results.
Bidet Etiquette for the Uninitiated
If you’ve ever travelled overseas you’ve probably come across a bidet at least once. You might’ve found yourself staring at the controls, wondering how in the world you’re supposed to use such a device. Fear not! The bidet is an amazingly effective and easy to use device and these bidet etiquette tips will help you to avoid such mistakes as pooping in the bidet. Read more
Just like most plumbing fixtures in your house, you can fix up majority of small problems on your own. As such, you should keep a basic set of tools put away, in the event that you encounter a few problems like leaks and low water pressure.
What equipment should you keep on your bidet repair tool box?
- Plumber’s Wrench (for tightening and loosening joints, pipes and hoses)
- Screwdriver (in case you need to remove and return the toilet seat)
- Plumber’s tape (good for taping leaks in the hose too)
In case there’s a problem that you can’t figure out on first glance, try disassembling your bidet and putting it back again. Since most toilet seat bidets are intended for DIY installation, they shouldn’t be too difficult to put together. As with all other plumbing work, of course, make sure to turn off your power supply before doing anything. The last thing you want is to aggravate the problem with a flooded toilet.
Most manuals that come with electronic bidets also include basic repair and upkeep instructions for non-plumbing components, so make sure to give it a read in case you encounter problems you’re having a hard time troubleshooting. For the most part, though, the electronic components of premium bidets are built to last and are covered by the warranty, so problems shouldn’t occur all that often.
The elderly and the handicapped are two growing groups of bidet users. Due to physical limitations, using a toilet can be difficult or impossible for some people, which makes the bidet an ideal candidate for them.
For people who have difficulty moving or pain while doing so, a bidet can provide much relief over a standard toilet. By simply sitting down, doing their business, and then standing up, one can eliminate all of the extra exertion and pain of wiping. This can be extremely difficult for those with arthritis, muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis. Read more
Modern premium bidets do more than simple cleaning, with features sometimes crossing over to the realm of the odd.
When I go to Japan, for instance, I regularly come across bidets that play music, in case you want to have a soundtrack playing in the background while you’re relieving yourself. From pictures, I’ve seen bidets targeted towards senior citizens that come with a blood pressure monitor or some other medical contraption. Personally, I’d like a bidet with a TV built-in – I just don’t know how they’ll arrange for it.
If you’ve ever considered getting a premium bidet, realize that many of them will come with a large suite of functions that can turn bathroom use into a pleasurable experience. Heated seats, for instance, can totally warm you up on a chilly day while a massaging feature can bring a relaxing massage to extremely tired thighs. Imagine that while reading your favorite magazine on a cold Sunday morning.
Some bidets, in fact, can be too comfortable in their functions that you’ll probably end up staying in the washroom longer than you should be doing. Think of a premium bidet the way a luxurious tub can change the way you bathe. Instead of hitting the shower and stepping out in a few minutes, you can end lounging in the tub’s caressing water for hours on end. Premium bidets, with all the conveniences they afford, can feel the same way – a glorious bathroom luxury for you to enjoy.
Toilet seat bidets used to be such a Japanese oddity – just another one of those nifty things them quirky Nippons seem to have an unlimited supply of. Ask any Westerner who has visited Japan about their trip and tales of high-tech electronic bidets will be among the stories you will hear about. Like Anime and sexy character cosplay, however, they’ve now made their way out of Japanese shores and into the world at large.
The First Toilet Seat Bidets
The first high-tech toilet to make it big in Japan was the Washlet G Series from Toto. Because of the product name of the original, further bidets that offered a similar functionality became known as washlets, as well. Originally released in 1980, it created a new industry that has grown in ways no one would have imagined at the time.
Recent surveys indicate that over half of Japanese homes have one of these high-tech washlets installed. It will probably take a while before the rest of the world catches up, but the number of folks adopting the new technology is ever-growing.
Nowadays, you can buy Japanese-style bidets, often referred to as washlets, in many places in the US and around the world. They’re also readily available online, in various makes, models and sizes.
Admittedly, there’s still a certain amount of stigma, a hesitation among people when it comes to using a bidet. With wider use and positive reviews from folks who have personally experienced its benefits, however, that’s beginning to end.
Before buying a bidet seat, you’ll need to know what kind of shape and size your toilet is. Is it elongated or round? Is it one piece or two? Most bidets are made to fit one standard type of toilet and won’t slot properly into others. If you bought a toilet seat bidet and couldn’t get it set up despite following installation instructions, chances are, you’ve bought the wrong size of seat.
In case you can’t tell your type of toilet just by looking at it, try and find the old packaging the seat was on (if you still have it) as the type will usually be printed on there. As a last resort, you can haul the toilet seat down with you to the hardware store and ask the store clerks for help while buying a new bidet.
If carrying a use toilet seat around isn’t your cup of tea, you can also opt to get a universal-sized bidet. Personally, I don’t think it’s the best seat anyone can get for their toilets (exact fit is always better), but it will do.
Universal bidets are also good if you have an irregularly-shaped toilet installed in your bathroom or if you’re planning to move anytime soon. Since you have little control as to what kind of toilets are installed in your next home, a universal bidet seat should prove a better investment.
Premium electronic bidets offer the kind of creature comforts that make it feel like an amenity in some science-fiction movie. With heated seats, a never-ending supply of warm water and massaging features, an electronic bidet fosters the kind of convenience we’ve always imagined technology can get us.
Still, there are good reasons for ditching the high-tech in favor of bidets that don’t require an electric plug.
1. It’s cheaper. Electronic bidets can easily run you up to $500 or more. Regular bidets, on the other hand, can cost as low as $50. The price gap is huge and, if you don’t want to make that kind of investment for a simple bathroom amenity, a vanilla version should make a decent choice.
2. It’s more green. Since you’re not using electricity, your home’s overall resource usage is much lower. As such, your carbon footprint is similarly less pronounced.
3. It reduces toilet paper use. Since you no longer need toilet paper for wiping dirt and stains off, you’ll only need toilet paper to pat yourself dry. If you want to further eliminate toilet paper use, you can also opt to just dry yourself with a small towel.
4. You can get hot water with a regular bidet too. While a water heating technology doesn’t come with non-electric bidets, some units allow you to switch between two water sources, allowing you to connect one hose to your water heater (the same one that heats your shower, for instance).
5. Less maintenance required. As with any electronic gadget, the less parts it has, the less problems you’re likely to get. A regular bidet is simpler, allowing for fewer things to possibly go wrong.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules for using a premium bidet with its host of options. As such, you can put it to work for as long, as short, as hard or as gentle as you want. For best (and non-wasteful) results, however, the following are generally considered as guidelines for optimal use.
1. Start water pressure slow and build up. Too strong a gush of water (whether on the shower or one your bottom) can be an unpleasant surprise, especially early in the morning (or if you have hemorrhoids – ouch). You can use the Pulsating option in premium bidets to automatically vary the water pressure in rapid succession.
2. If you are experiencing constipation problems, use either the Pulsating option to stimulate the anal muscles to push bowel out or the Enema function.
3. Use the Oscillating feature to induce a good cleans, even better perhaps than doing the Bidet dance.
4. Ideal use for bidets, including cleaning and drying, is usually 30 to 45 seconds. Use at least 15 seconds of that time with the warm air dryer to ensure no wetness remains.
5. If you’re cleaning the posterior, stick to warm water – it just works much better than tap. For the genital areas, you can save on the electric bill a sip by using regular water from the pipes.
Apart from that, routine maintenance is all that’s really needed to derive the best use out of your bidet for the long term.