YOUR FRIEND: “I got a bidet and it changed my life.”
YOU: “Huh? Aren’t bidets those weird bowls French people squat over after they Number 2?”
YOUR FRIEND: (shakes head, looks at you with pity.)
If the above conversation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most Americans have extremely outdated notions of bidets. So keep reading if you’re ready to catch up with the rest of the world. Yes, you read that right: world. Another thing most Americans don’t know is that the U.S. is one of the only civilized countries in the world where the majority of the citizens don’t already use bidets.
Misconception #1: Bidets are weird little bowls used by the French
Truth: Bidets have evolved into high-tech toilet seats that can easily be interchanged with your current toilet seat. Like your current toilet seat, bidet seats come round or elongated, and they hook into your regular bathroom water supply. *Note, you need to plug in most bidets, so you need an outlet within three feet of your toilet. Bidet seats come with all sorts of bells and whistles depending on how much money you want to invest.
If you want to drop some serious dough on a high-end bidet, like the Bio Bidet BB 2000, you’ll be rewarded with features like a heated toilet seat, a remote control, instant hot water for your cleanings, precise control over your water temperature and pressure, warm-air dryers, and much, much more. If you want to spend less, you can get a basic bidet model. The water used to clean you may be cold, but the same concept applies: you switch out the bidet seat with your regular toilet seat and a nozzle sprays water onto your sensitive areas.
As for the notion bidets are used uniquely by the French: Bidets are so popular in most civilized countries that you can even find them in public restrooms. Italy made a law 45 years ago that every household must have one bidet. One thing’s for sure: American behinds are behind the rest of the world.
Misconception #2: Toilet paper wiping is the best way to clean yourself
Truth: Washing is better than wiping. Consider this scenario: if you got human waste on any other part of your body, such as your forearm, would you just wipe it off with dry toilet paper? Of course not, you would wash it clean. So why do you feel differently about your most sensitive areas? Especially when you consider that those areas are tucked into close-fitting, possibly sweaty underpants all day.
Besides offering you a superior cleanse, bidets make it extremely unlikely your hand will ever accidentally come in contact with your waste. Waste-to-hand contact is the primary health risk with toilet paper wiping. That’s why we instill in our children the importance of hand washing after they use the bathroom. We don’t want our children – or anyone else for that matter – to potentially spread waste around our homes, schools, offices, or onto other people. While hand washing will always be vital for good health, recognize that waste-to-hand contact is eliminated by using a bidet. A steady spray of water cleans our nether regions. No wiping required! Revolutionary, right?!
Misconception #3: Bidets are difficult and uncomfortable to use
Truth: Try it and you’ll never go back. Using a modern bidet, such as the Brondell Swash 1400, is as simple as sitting down, doing your business, then pressing a button on your bidet (or your bidet’s remote control) to start your cleaning. Due to the myriad options most bidets offer, you can select a strong powerful wash, a gentle spray, a front wash, a rear wash, and all sorts of temperature settings. Most people prefer a warm water wash, but people who run hot may like a cooler water wash. It’s all up to you.
People who suffer with medical issues like chronic hemorrhoids will tell you that moving away from abrasive toilet paper to bidet washing was an immeasurable help. Hospitals recommend bidet washes to new moms instead of wiping with rough toilet paper; that’s why they send moms home with squirt bottles to clean their sensitive areas. Those squirt bottles are really just manual bidets if you think about it. Real bidets offer new moms more advanced comfort. Fancy bidets even have enema washes – which can offer true relief to those suffering from medical issues like constipation. All in all, bidets are so easy to use and so comfortable that if you make the switch, you will never look back.
YOU: “I think I should buy a bidet.”
YOUR FRIEND: “Duh!”
Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS, an online retail store specializing in bidet toilet seats. Prior to bidetsPLUS, Jensen held management positions in technology-related fields, in both the U.S. and Europe. He has held the position of Product Manager of Global Network Services for British Telecom. Most recently, he held the position of Executive Director of Product Marketing at AT&T Interactive, AT&T’s internet advertising division.