To Bidet or Not to Bidet?
Traditionally Americans have preferred wet wipes or toilet paper to do the hefty cleaning in the bathroom, but over the past decade, more and more Americans are incorporating a bidet in their bathrooms. Before you decide to bidet or not to bidet let’s look at the history of the bidet, some of the various styles, and the price points.
Who had the first bidet?
Given that cleaning one’s bum after using the bathroom has most likely been a thing since the beginning of time, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the first bidet. However, according to the World Toilet Organization (yes there is such a thing), the term was first coined during 1710 in a French publication.
Bidet is the French word for “pony,” which seems fitting when considering the way one can straddle a bidet. More commonly, the term has been associated with royalty that used a bidet to clean up after riding a horse (or pony).
Bidet.org explains how French furniture maker Christopher Des Rosiers has been given the credit for creating one of the world’s first bidets. Interestingly, bidet crafting became an ornate art form, turning the act of using the bathroom into a stylish and classy experience, if that’s possible.
The French aristocrats desired to be able to clean themselves with the use of a beautifully-designed bidet would continue to grow over time. After handling their business, the wealthiest French aristocrats could proudly clean themselves in a porcelain bowl with beautiful inlay and painting work laid into an ornate mahogany chair.
According to bidet.org, up until then, even the wealthiest kings and queens of the world were still limited to traditional stone or wood-carved latrines. This is considered one of the first times in recorded history that toilets were designed to be elegant
A bidet by any other name is still a bidet. Many countries have “bidets” yet call them by other names, so in truth it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin.
Why has it taken so long to take off in America?
According to family handyman, during World War II American GIs stationed in Europe would commonly associate bidets with visiting bordellos and sex work. In other words, Americans didn’t want to muddy their reputations with such a gadget.
Finally, in 1964 the American Bidet Company created the “Sitzbath” by combining the toilet seat with a spritzing function. The company’s founder Arnold Cohen said: “I installed thousands of my seats all over the suburbs of New York … but advertising was a next-to-impossible challenge. Nobody wants to hear about Tushy Washing 101.”
America has preferred wet wipes, spending more than $6 billion a year on toilet paper. No wonder there was such a panic during the pandemic! Maybe if Americans had transitioned to bidets, there wouldn’t have even been a toilet paper shortage. Regardless, deciding to install a $35 bidet from Bidet.org would be easier on your bank account and the environment.
Bidet styles – from simple and practical to elegant
Some bidets are simple, hand-held spray guns. These spray guns likely don’t resemble a water gun, but that is an idea, right? Perhaps that would make bathroom/potty training a bit more fun and engaging? (probably not, but it’s an entertaining thought to consider)
Many bidets shoot a singular stream of water, while some have multiple spouts. There are also fully-automated bidets with robotic cleaning spouts. Some bidets even come with anti-microbial, sanitizing technology and motion-sensing lids.
The style and function of a bidet is what sets the price point. A simple bidet attachment with a spray nozzle and on/off switch runs as low as $35 and up to around $100. Add a warm water option to the attachment for another $20+. A complete bidet toilet seat starts at around $250, while a complete bidet toilet starts around $400 and goes well up into the thousands, depending on how fancy you want to get with your bum washer.
How to use a bidet
Now that you know all that you could ever, or would ever want to know about bidets, let’s get to possibly some of the most useful information – how do you use it?
1. Straddle the typical way to use a bidet is to straddle it, facing the water controls. Of course, you still can face away like a toilet, but controlling the temperature and flow of water is easier if you are facing the controls.
2. Locate the wash button which is typically on the bidet’s remote control mounted on the wall next to the toilet.
3. Wash using the nozzle that will appear once the wash button is pressed.
4. Stop using the stop button once you feel sufficiently clean.
5. Dry with either toilet paper or by using the dry button if available.
6. Clean the bidet.
Will a bidet bring down the value of my home?
In most cases, the answer is no, but it depends on the buyer. Many older Americans will tell you they are still weirded out by bidets, but most home buyers would typically be excited about the idea. While it is true that bidets are far from mainstream in America, according to REAL HOMES, “Bidets are undoubtedly hugely beneficial, and if you incorporate them into modern bathroom ideas in a clever way, they shouldn't be too much of an eyesore.”
Are you ready to get your bidet on?