How Does a Bidet Work?

Last Updated On March 1, 2024

Updated on August 30, 2023

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how does a bidet work

While on vacation, you may have seen a strange-looking “sink” that appears to be for a toddler and thought, “What the heck do I do with that?” Well, that’s called a bidet.

Or perhaps you’ve seen a fancy electronic bidet you didn’t dare sit on. Is there really supposed to be an electric cord coming out of the toilet? 

Have you ever wanted to take one out for a test ride to make sure it’s right for your home? Before you do, you need to know, “How does a bidet work?”

We’ve got you covered. After reading this, you will be all set for your next trip to Europe or Japan…or your next Airbnb.

We’ll start by discussing the basics of a bidet, along with the various types available.

Next, we’ll show you basic bidet usage, so that the trial run will go smoothly. If you’re ready, then it’s time to go! 🙂

What's In This Guide?

      What is a Bidet?

      In North America, most bidets are installed as part of the existing toilet, or as a single bidet toilet combo. But you might find a standalone bidet, particularly in a hotel, or overseas. 

      You also might find an existing toilet retrofitted with a bidet toilet seat or some other bidet attachment. Whatever the style, they all are designed for your personal hygiene. Still have questions? Read our full guide on what a bidet is.

      how does a bidet work did you know (1)

      How Does a Bidet Toilet Work?

      The common modern Bidets work by directing warm water from either an attached faucet or built-in nozzle toward your private areas for thorough cleansing after using the restroom. 

      The user can control various aspects such as water pressure, temperature settings, and bidet spray direction. All this from the comfort of a modern bidet. 

      Different Types of Bidets

      1. Traditional Standalone Bidet: These separate fixtures resemble small sinks that you sit on for use; they require additional space within your bathroom layout. Adding one of these would require professional experience.
      2. Toilet Seat Attachments: Easily added to most standard toilets without any major renovations needed; these attachments replace your existing toilet seat with one featuring integrated nozzles for spraying water during use. Consider this a DIY project. No professional experience is necessary. See this post on the best converter kits.
      3. Bidet Sprayer (Handheld Bidet): Similar to showerheads or kitchen sink sprayers in design; these handheld devices connect to your existing water supply and allow for targeted cleaning while maintaining control over pressure levels. 

      Take a look at this below video for more info.

      1. Smart Bidet Toilet Seat: You’ll love this one, especially in a cold winter climate. Offering advanced features such as a heated seat, water heater, adjustable spray patterns, air drying options, and even remote controls. A high-tech bidet seat provides the ultimate in comfort and convenience. 

      Caution: This type of bidet needs a GFCI electrical outlet. If you have one nearby, you can simply plug it in. If you need to install a GFCI, make sure you have the experience to install this outlet. 

      For more info, watch this video. Please use caution whenever you’re doing electrical work.

      If you’re looking for more info on installing your very own bidet, we’ve got you covered.

      1. Portable Bidet: Yep, there are ones you can bring with you, when you’re on the go! 

      Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s go over how to properly use a bidet. 

      This section explains the basic functions of a bidet, and the different types of bidets available.  

      How Well Does a Bidet Work?

      Very well, actually. As one MD put it: If you get dirt on your hands you don’t wipe them on a towel. You wash them in water, then use the towel to dry off.

      That’s what a bidet does for our nether regions. Bidet use offers many benefits. But the main reason we use them: they work much better than toilet paper.

      Using a Bidet Properly

      In this section, we will explain the proper way to use a bidet, including adjusting water pressure and temperature settings. 

      You might find this short video helpful.

      And, here are more specific details on using a bidet as a woman – or as a man.

      A. Positioning Yourself on the Bidet:

      1. Sit or squat over the bidet with your back facing toward the controls if you are using an integrated toilet-bidet combo or standalone bidets.
      2. If you’re utilizing a handheld spray attachment, position it at an angle that allows water flow directed toward your perianal area without splashing onto other surfaces.

      B. Adjusting Water Pressure and Temperature Settings

      To make sure that you get optimal cleansing while maintaining comfort during usage, adjust both water pressure and temperature according to personal preferences:

      • Water Pressure: Start with low-pressure settings before gradually increasing as needed until the desired level of cleanliness is achieved. Avoid high-pressure sprays as they can cause discomfort or even injury. If you are using a mechanical bidet attachment, you can adjust the pressure at the angle valve below the toilet bowl.
      • Temperature Control: Most modern bidets come equipped with adjustable temperature control features. Begin with lukewarm water then make gradual adjustments as needed. Avoid hot water as this could lead to burns. 

      C. Cleaning Your Perianal Area Effectively

      The primary purpose of using a bidet is to clean your perianal area effectively. Follow these steps for optimal results:

      1. Direct the water spray towards your perianal area, ensuring that it covers all necessary parts.
      2. Use gentle back-and-forth motions or circular movements to help dislodge any remaining debris or feces.
      3. If you are using a handheld spray attachment, be sure to hold it at an angle that allows water flow directed toward your perianal area without splashing onto other surfaces.

      In addition to cleaning with water, some people may choose to use mild soap and their hands for additional cleansing.

      This section explains the proper way to use a bidet, including adjusting water pressure and temperature settings. 

      Finishing up and Rinsing the Bidet

      Drying Yourself

      After using the bidet, it’s time for drying off:

      • Towel: Some bidets come with an attached towel rack or nearby storage for clean towels. Gently pat yourself dry with a soft, clean towel.
      • Air Dry: If your bidet has an air-dry feature, simply press the button or switch on this function to allow the warm air dryer to do its duty.
      • Toilet Paper: Toilet tissue may be utilized if other alternatives are not available; however, most bidets are not designed for toilet paper, so if using a stand alone bidet, put the paper in the toilet.
      • Rinse: Turn on the water once more after finishing up your cleaning process. Allow fresh water to flow into the toilet bowl basin rinsing away any residue.

      Key Bidet Takeaway: 

      After using a bidet, it’s important to dry yourself properly and rinse the basin to maintain cleanliness. 

      How Does a Separate Bidet Work?

      While on vacation in Europe or the Far East, you might have noticed a strange-looking sink that is lower than normal. Like it was made for a child, or maybe your dog. 

      That’s a traditional or “stand-alone” bidet. Here’s how these work:

      1. First, you use the toilet.  
      2. The bidet will be near the toilet. You get up from the toilet and move to the bidet.
      3. Straddle the bidet and sit down on the rim (Most won’t have a toilet seat). If you’re wearing pants, you will need to remove these. 
      4. Then you use the faucet to fill the basin. Then you clean yourself almost like taking a bath. Clumsy, yes! Which is why we recommend bidet seats.

      Health and Safety Considerations When Using a Bidet

      While they are considered very safe, there is a possibility of getting a urinary tract infection. 

      Maintaining good hygiene and safety practices while using a bidet is essential for both your health and the cleanliness of your bathroom.  

      Choose the Right Bidet Water Temperature

      Selecting an appropriate water temperature can significantly impact comfort levels during use while also ensuring that you do not harm sensitive skin areas with excessively hot or cold water. 

      Most bidets come with adjustable temperature settings, allowing you to find the ideal setting for personal preference and comfort.

      Caution: Temperatures can vary depending on usage demand in the household. To test the temperature, first, spray it on the back of your hand. For a smart bidet, this is not a problem, as it has a controlled temperature.

      Mind Your Bidet Pressure Settings

      • Gentle pressure: Start with low-pressure settings when first using a bidet to avoid discomfort or potential injury from high-pressure sprays on delicate areas.
      • Increase gradually: Gradually increase the pressure until reaching desired cleaning effectiveness without causing pain or irritation in sensitive regions.
      • Familiarize yourself: Take time to get acquainted with how various pressure options work on your specific model before settling into regular usage patterns.

      Cleanliness Is Key: Regular Maintenance

      Regularly cleaning and maintaining your bidet is required, just as it is for a toilet. Make a habit of cleaning the nozzle and basin at least once a week with mild soap or detergent to remove any buildup or residue. 

      Additionally, consult your electronic bidet’s user manual for specific instructions on how to maintain other components such as filters, hoses, or valves.

      1. Disinfect: Periodically, it’s essential to disinfect your bidet just as you would your toilet. You can use a mild cleaner or diluted bleach solution to clean the basin and nozzle areas. 
      2. Inspect: Regularly inspect your bidet for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks in the porcelain or issues with the nozzles. If you notice any problems, consult a professional plumber for assistance.

      Incorporating these steps into your routine will help keep your bidet functioning efficiently and ensure that it remains hygienic for every use.

      Key Takeaway: 

      To use a bidet safely and effectively, it is important to avoid cross-contamination by cleaning the nozzle before each use. 

      FAQs How to Use a Bidet

      Do you use a bidet before or after wiping?

      Typically you use the spray then pat dry with toilet paper. But you can use paper first.

      How does a bidet know where to spray?

      Bidets have adjustable nozzles. It might take some trial and error, but soon you will have it positioned exactly where you need it.

      How Does a bidet toilet seat work?

      A bidet toilet seat is an add-on to your existing toilet. It works much like a regular toilet. The difference is that it offers a way to clean yourself without using toilet paper.

      Do you still have to wipe after using a bidet?

      After using a bidet, it’s advisable to pat dry gently with toilet paper or air-dry if available. Electronic bidets might have a dryer that you can use instead of paper.

      Some Final Thoughts on Bidets

      There’s a reason why bidets have been around for over 300 years, they work really well. They are safe, sanitary, and easy to use. After a few practice runs, you’ll be good to go.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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