Europeans, Japanese and many South Americans consider the home bidet to be an everyday part of their personal hygiene. North Americans, on the other hand, are often clueless about how to use this fixture.
Not only does the term bidet cause confusion to the average North American, it also causes fits of giggling, ribald humour and general hilarity. We’ll admit to making silly bidet jokes, too, but that doesn’t negate our growing respect for this underappreciated bathroom fixture.
The bidet performs many useful functions, and it can also look stylish and sophisticated, adding a luxurious and rich feel to the bathroom. The stand-alone units are usually installed alongside a look-alike toilet, and are often found in ensuite bathrooms. We love the look of the duo toilet-and-bidet combinations, which can range from a traditional to a stunning minimalist look.
A few years back, everyone had bidets installed into their new suburban homes, but the silly part was that a lot of people didn’t even use them. It was simply not part of our culture. But times are changing. The bidet is re-emerging as a fixture of choice, and this time, users are more educated and more accepting of its considerable benefits.
In many countries, users have long preferred to use water for a final cleansing after using the toilet. Other users appreciate daily washes, and others simply use it whenever they feel it’s required. Most bidets have streams of water that you can adjust to spray the areas in need of cleaning; others just allow you to fill the bowl with water and splash yourself clean. People who are fans of the bidet say cleaning with water is more hygienic and more comfortable than using paper.
In addition, it is useful for all members of the family, including men, women and children. It is also especially handy for those people who have mobility difficulties or conditions in the nether regions that require special care, such as hemorrhoids, for example. For elderly or handicapped people, a bidet can help make the difference between being dependant on somebody for toileting help or being gloriously independent.
Bidets have also become more popular as conservation issues take more prominence in North America — the idea of keeping clean with less paper and less water is an attractive option.
But there are misconceptions. For instance, many questions we hear concern how one should use the bidet. Although there are no hard and fast rules, you generally sit on the unit facing the wall so you can access the water controls. The word “bidet” is French in origin, and means “pony,” so you get an idea of the positioning of the body during use. This type of use generally happens in the morning or evening, during the time that you are changing your clothes.
A “toilet-style” sit is better when you don’t want to take off your clothes in order to wash yourself — the only problem is that the controls are not handy. Soap can be used, or just water. Whichever way you use it, remember to adjust the hot and cold water taps and the pressure before you sit down to avoid surprise showers or temperature shocks. Keep a small personal towel close, or toilet paper to dry yourself.
Finally, give the unit a quick rinse. Now, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?