What is a Bidet? (And How to Use One Like a Pro!)

Bidets are usually used to wash off after a bowel movement or urination. They are also ideal for getting clean after an accident or freshening up after intimacy, during menstruation or following childbirth. Some bidets even come with special features like an enema wash that sprays a thin stream of water into the rectum to loosen hard stool so you can do your business without discomfort.

With a variety of types – from versatile electric bidet seats to luxury bidet toilets to travel-friendly portables – bidets have options to fit all needs and budgets. Let’s take a closer look at what one of these convenient, hygienic bathroom upgrades can do for you – and how to get the most out of the bidet you choose.

Why Use a Bidet

Before getting into the nitty gritty of how to use a bidet, let’s discuss why you might want to use one. There are four main reasons people turn to bidets over toilet paper: hygiene, comfort, sustainability and bathroom independence.

1. Improve personal hygiene

Wiping smears waste across your skin, leaving behind tiny amounts that can cause odor, itching and irritation. In comparison, bidets cleanse your private areas with water, rinsing waste away completely. In addition to being more hygienic than toilet paper, a bidet’s thorough cleaning action is great for healing hemorrhoids and fissures.

2. Enhance comfort and soothe irritation

The repetitive back-and-forth motion of wiping can cause skin to break down or aggravate conditions like hemorrhoids and fissures, leaving your sensitive areas feeling raw and irritated. Folks often turn to wet wipes as a solution, but even the “flushable” wet wipes can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing.

Bidets provide the perfect solution for cleaning tender areas without jeopardizing your pipes. The bidet’s water spray gently rinses you clean, plus many kinds of bidets have an aerated wash stream and adjustable water pressure settings, so you can make the spray as soft as you need.

3. Help the planet - and your pocketbook

Did you know that it takes as much as 37 gallons of water, 1.3 kilowatt hours of electricity and 1.5 pounds of wood to produce a single roll of toilet paper? In comparison, 30 seconds of bidet washing uses only 0.1-0.15 gallons on average. No wonder bidets are considered to be more environmentally friendly than TP! 

In addition to being better for the planet, bidets can make your wallet happy, too. Since bidets only use a little water, it shouldn’t have much of an impact on your water bill. Plus, bidets that run on electricity usually have an energy-saving mode that cuts back on the amount of power they use. Bottom line, using a bidet can be a lot cheaper than buying toilet paper or wet wipes every few weeks!

4. Increase bathroom independence and dignity

Bidets are great for anyone who has difficulty wiping due to a physical limitation or being overweight. And because bidets do all the work of getting you clean (and even dry), they can increase privacy and autonomy for anyone who needs help using the bathroom.

Keep in mind that not all bidets offer a hands-free cleansing and drying experience. If this is what you need, you’ll want an electric bidet that comes with a remote control and an air dryer.

Tips and Tricks to Get Clean with a Bidet

How to Use a Bidet Seat

Cascade 3000 Bidet Seat

Electric bidet toilet seats are fast becoming one of the most popular types of bidets in the United States and
Canada. Figuring out how to use a bidet seat may feel intimidating at first, but it’s not as complicated as it might look. Since this type of bidet is more feature-heavy than a sprayer or attachment, you may want to familiarize yourself with the controls before using one for the first time.

Electric bidet seats are operated via a control panel attached to the side of the seat or by remote control. Many customers are leery of a remote control because they worry about losing or misplacing it. The good news is that all remotes come with a docking station that mounts to the wall, so the remote is always there when you need it. Electric seats typically have tons of comfort and convenience features, plus options for adjusting water temperature, pressure, spray position, seat temperature and air dryer temperature (if applicable).

Side Control
Remote Control
Wall Mounted Control

To use an electric bidet, simply press the wash button on the control panel or remote, adjust the nozzle position and wash settings as needed and let the bidet do the rest.

You might need to do some minor shifting to get every area covered, but many seats come with special spray features like nozzle oscillation, wide spray or super-adjustable nozzles that cut down on this.

Electric Bidet Seat Nozzle

Many electric bidet seats even come with a warm air dryer that gets you dry within a few minutes. If you end up with a bidet that doesn’t have a dryer, or you simply don’t want to wait, you can blot dry with toilet paper or a bidet towel.

How to Use a Bidet Toilet

Bidet toilets, also called integrated bidets or smart toilets, replace your existing toilet and feature a built-in bidet. Most bidet toilets are packed with luxury features and have remote controls, though a handful have control panels attached to the side of the seat. Depending on the model you purchase, you may not even need to open the toilet’s lid or flush when you’re done — the toilet might do it all for you!

Using a bidet toilet is just like using an electric bidet seat. After going to the bathroom, press the button on the remote or control panel to extend the bidet wand and start the wash, adjusting the settings as needed. When you feel clean, either hit the “stop” button or simply wait for the wash cycle to finish automatically. Then, press the “dry” button to activate the warm air dryer, or pat dry with TP or a towel.

Higher end electric bidet seats and bidet toilets might have an “auto wash” button that automatically cycles through a full wash and dry cycle. Other models come with user presets that allow you to pre-program your favorite wash settings ahead of time. When you’re ready to get clean, simply press your designated preset button and enjoy a totally customized wash.

 

TOTO Neorest NX2
TOTO Neorest NX2 Integrated Bidet Toilet

How to Use a Non-Electric Bidet Seat or Attachment

Non-Electric Bidet Attachment (left) and Bidet Seat (right)

Non-electric bidet seats or bidet attachments provide a simple and inexpensive option for water washing. Non-electric bidet seats replace your existing toilet seat completely, while bidet attachments fit between your current seat and the toilet. Both types run on your home’s water pressure and do not require an electrical connection. Most non-electric bidets only offer cold-water washing (with a few exceptions that connect to your sink’s hot water line). These basic units have few features beyond washing with water, and the wash you do get isn’t very customizable. But on the plus side, they’re easy to use once you get the hang of them, boast high-pressure sprays and will work even if the power goes out.

Non-electric bidet seats and attachments are usually operated with dials or levers on the side of the unit. Turning the controls extends a wand that sprays water onto your private parts. These controls can be pretty sensitive, so you’ll want to adjust them with a light touch to avoid getting blasted with water. In addition, the nozzle position on most non-electric bidets isn’t very adjustable. This means you’ll probably need to shift from side to side or front to back in order to get completely clean. For this reason, non-electrics are not the best choice if you have mobility or dexterity issues, and the strong, cold spray may be uncomfortable if you deal with sensitivity from hemorrhoids or fissures.

How to Use a Bidet Sprayer

A hand held bidet sprayer (aka “shattaf” or “shower bidet”) looks just like a sink sprayer and is mounted next to the toilet. Bidet sprayers are especially popular in the Middle East, but they’re becoming more common in American homes, too. A big plus is that learning how to use a bidet sprayer is super simple!

To operate a sprayer bidet, just point it at the area you want to clean and squeeze the trigger. Keep in mind that you may need to do some serious shifting, reaching or twisting in order to get the spray pointed at the right area. For this reason, sprayers aren’t recommended if you have limited mobility or want to get clean with minimal effort.

Hand-held Bidet Sprayer

Side Note: Sprayers are notorious for leaking, so we HIGHLY recommend turning off the T-valve connecting the sprayer to your bathroom’s water source after you finish using it. Just remember to turn it back on the next time you use the bathroom!

How to Use a Portable Bidet

Portable Bidet
Portable Bidet

Portable bidets, also called travel bidets, look like a water bottle with a long, angled spout. Before you sit down on the toilet, fill the bottle up at the sink. Once you’re done going to the bathroom, simply point the spout at the area that needs to be cleaned and either squeeze the bottle or the trigger to release a stream of water.

The best thing about a portable bidet is that it makes it easy to wash off on the go. Plus, portable bidets are pretty inexpensive. On the other hand, you’ll probably need to shift your weight all the way to one side of the toilet or twist and reach in order to get the spray in the right spot. This physical effort can be a hassle, and it might be difficult to impossible for anyone with limited dexterity or range of motion.

How to Use a Standalone Bidet

Standalone bidets, also called classic bidets, are usually the least intuitive to North Americans. A classic bidet is a separate fixture that sits next to the toilet and often gets confused for a urinal or tiny sink. Most have faucets for cold and hot water, a big basin and a drain in the bottom. Depending on the bidet, there might be a nozzle that you can point in different directions.

If you see a nozzle in the bottom of the bidet basin, this means the water will spray vertically when you turn the faucets on. If you see a nozzle or spigot at the front of the bidet, near the faucets, the water will come out horizontally.

Before using a standalone bidet, go to the bathroom in the toilet like you normally would — never use the bidet for urinating or pooping! Next, you’ll need to completely remove one leg from your pants and underwear, or just take them off all the way. Then, move off the toilet and straddle the bidet so that you’re facing the faucet(s).

Make sure any nozzles are pointed in roughly the right direction so the water hits your skin (and doesn’t spray out of the bidet) when you turn it on.

Slowly turn on the faucets and adjust the water to a comfortable temperature. Then adjust the water flow or nozzle position so that it’s spraying with gusto toward the parts you’d like to clean.

Stand Alone Bidet
Standalone Bidet

If the bidet has a spout but no adjustable nozzle, you have two options: 

Option 1: Close the plug in the bottom of the basin and fill the basin with water, then scoop the water up
and splash it on yourself.

Option 2: Turn on the water and splash the stream toward your privates as it flows out of the spigot.

More Questions? Contact Us!

Figuring out how to use a bidet can feel intimidating at first, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it! On the other hand, deciding what type of bidet to buy can be a little more complicated.

We want you to find the best bidet solution on the first try! Our complete Buyer’s Guide lays out everything you need to know before purchasing, or you can take our easy bidet finder quiz. You can also reach out to us directly for a personalized bidet recommendation. And as always, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about how to use a bidet. Here are the best ways to connect with one of our bidet experts:

Bidet Buyer’s Guide:
6 Essentials to Know
Before You Buy

Have you ever made an online purchase only to discover that it doesn’t live up to your expectations? We’ve been there too, and it stinks! We want our customers to find the perfect bidet on the first try, so we put together this complete bidet buyer’s guide.

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