Who Needs Toilet Paper Anyway?
Ask the average North American what a bidet is and they will have thought that you just sneezed and will most likely reply “bless you”. While bidets have not traditionally been used on this side of the Atlantic,
Europeans on the other hand, have used them for quite some time, some as early as the late 1700’s. So unless you are a world traveler or frequent five star hotels, you’ve probably never even heard of the word.
With that said, bidets are now gaining popularity in the more affluent and aging generation homes of North America. Bidet is a French word that means pony because it looks like you are riding a pony when you straddle it and is pronounced “bee-day”.
There are essentially two different types of bidets, one can be plugged and filled with warm water and the other shoots up a fountain of water. These fixtures resemble a sink or one piece toilet, usually without a lid.
They are designed primarily for conveniently cleaning the genitals and buttocks region of your body after you have used the toilet. The bidet takes the place of toilet paper or you having to rinse yourself using the tub or shower.
A bidet works like a wash basin that you straddle over usually facing the faucet spout, a guided spray of water shoots out to effectively clean your public region. The spray could come from a retractable mechanism under the bowl or a continuous spray rising from the center of the bowl depending upon the model.
Try to place the bidet near your toilet. When installing a bidet beside the toilet leave at least fifteen inches between the two for ease of access and comfortable use. Also check the building codes for minimum clearances.
A Space Saving Combination
And be aware that most plumbing codes stipulate that you should have a vacuum breaker in the water supply pipes if there is any water inlet beneath the rim of the bidet.
If space in your bathroom is at a premium but you really want a bidet then you can also purchase a combination toilet/ bidet model.
These can range from a simple nozzle mechanism that attaches to the rim of your toilet bowl, to one that is part of the toilet seat itself, or you can purchase a fully integrated one piece toilet with all the bells and whistles.
The simpler models offer manual control whereas the middle to high end bidets are often controlled electronically rather than with a traditional tap. Some offer temperature controlled water, heated soft close hydraulic seats and blow dry mechanisms which can all be controlled by a programmable onboard computer or a convenient remote control.
While the higher end models can run you up thousands of dollars, there has been an insurgence of a variety of cheaper toilet seat bidet models which has put the bidet within the reach of the ordinary home owner.
These models are increasing becoming more popular with the older generation for their convenience of use and the seniors ability to maintain hygiene with dignity. Also the remote control makes is easy for just about anyone to use who has limited mobility.