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# Bidets

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(Note: I'd ask this in a Health Sciences forum if there were one. If a mod knows where health science-related questions should go, feel free to toss this thread in there)

After visiting Japan and using a Washlet (an integrated toilet/bidet/blowdryer combo) using toilet paper makes me feel like I'm in the stone age. Yet it seems like most of the western world still relies on toilet paper as the primary way of "cleaning" after defecation. When I have seen bidets outside of Japan, they generally take the form of a separate unit beside the toilet with a hand-operated faucet, as opposed to the electronically-controlled Japanese all-in-one models.

What's the deal? Are people just weirded out by bidets? Toilet paper simply does not get the region clean. If our hands accidently contact feces, we certainly are not content to simply wipe it off (at least I hope not). We cleanse the region running water (and hopefully soap). Yet most people seem content to keep smearing the region with paper until most of the detritus has been removed.

Isn't it much more hygenic to wash after defecating?

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It certainly would be more hygienic.

Imho, Bidets when once created were a great asset in human culture, but I think that the devices they first used for spraying water didnt give them a good reputation, since when rinsing it wasnt unussual that you got all wet, but now there is independent devices with which you can control better the water flow. The other issue is space within the bathroom, you need more of it and a mayor complexity in the arrangement of water pipes.

I don´t know the all-in-one devices, but maybe their reason of existence is to reduce the size of the bathrooms in an appartment, where it is more important to maximize other areas of the living space, than making a small appartment with a "big" bathroom.

Nevertheless, I also encourage their usage and I miss the days in my youth when almost every house had at least one of this units (bidets), in the main bathroom of the house.

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After visiting Japan and using a Washlet (an integrated toilet/bidet/blowdryer combo) using toilet paper makes me feel like I'm in the stone age.
Can you explain this process in more detail? Is it a thin jet, a spray, or more of a fountain? Is it like a automated car wash, using soapy and rinse cycles before blowdrying? Could the force needed be uncomfortable to some?

I think many consider a bidet to be for women only. It could be that there is a male aversion to using something like this.

I agree with you though, paper alone is a stupid way to clean yourself from what most would consider one of the worst substances to get on you. And the resource waste is horrible, with the costs climbing higher all the time.

Eventually, it could wipe us out.

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Can you explain this process in more detail? Is it a thin jet, a spray, or more of a fountain? Is it like a automated car wash, using soapy and rinse cycles before blowdrying? Could the force needed be uncomfortable to some?

I am told by my dad, who has visited Japan a few times, that if you press the wrong buttons on the toilet, it feels like the jet could cut holes through stainless steel.

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I am told by my dad, who has visited Japan a few times, that if you press the wrong buttons on the toilet, it feels like the jet could cut holes through stainless steel.

Some of these toilets do feature a high pressure "enema mode" intended to directly evacuate the colon with water

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Yeah, don't press the ATR button

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Some of these toilets do feature a high pressure "enema mode" intended to directly evacuate the colon with water

Sounds rather painful.

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I'm told you want to be careful with the water pressure settings.

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Five settings of water pressure! I don't think you could trust American teenagers with that kind of opportunity for abuse (unless there is some kind of assensory device that can tell there's actually someone sitting there).

It seems to be a very good solution. The more I think about the use of paper alone, the more sense a bidet makes.

I didn't see any settings for the blowdryer so it must be automated. What's with the "flushing sound" with volume control? Will it play music instead (for some reason, I think "Lady of Spain" on the accordion would be particularly appropriate)? Or is that to cover up the sound of the blowdryer? Or perhaps to cover up the sound of some pre-spray flatulence?

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I didn't see any settings for the blowdryer so it must be automated.

Here's a washlet where the blowdryer button is visible:

Wavy thing with the yellow ring.

What's with the "flushing sound" with volume control? [...] perhaps to cover up the sound of some pre-spray flatulence?

You hit the nail on the head there. For some reason many Japanese women have a hangup about being heard farting while on the toilet. For this reason they would continuously flush the toilet so as to cover up the sound.

Obviously this is rather wasteful of water, so the Japanese built in the next best thing: a speaker that makes a fake flush sound!

In addition, many of these toilets are equipped with a sink built into the top of the tank, so you can wash your hands with clean water that's about to go into the tank. This is especially handy since the Japanese often segregate the toilet into a room separate from the sinks (and often have yet another room for the bath/shower!)

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In addition, many of these toilets are equipped with a sink built into the top of the tank, so you can wash your hands with clean water that's about to go into the tank. This is especially handy since the Japanese often segregate the toilet into a room separate from the sinks (and often have yet another room for the bath/shower!)
In an architectural office I did some work for, they had a toilet like that, with a sink on top of the tank.

It was a big space-saver for them, and if your hands do get anything on them while you're using the loo, it's nice to have the sink right there instead of buttoning your clothes up with dirty hands to walk over to a standard sink.

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Saw one of those Japanese toilets at EPCOT years ago......maybe in the 1990's. It went for \$6000 back then.

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We had a bidet in our house where I grew up. We didn't use it all the time, but reasonably frequently. I think it is less essential in more modern times because of the ubiquity of showers. If you shower twice a day, your arse is going to stay fairly clean anyway.

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It's clearly time for someone with some cotton swabs, a microscope, and a strong stomach to compare the hygiene of those who use toilet paper vs. those who use bidets, and also compare cleanliness before and after a shower to determine the shower's efficacy in replacing a bidet.

Merged post follows:

I have just discovered an article in the Journal of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, from 1959, titled "In Praise of the Bidet." It's an editorial, but Dr. Pack has a strong opinion about bidets:

Some misinformed Americans maintain that if people take enough baths, they do not need the bidet, although it should be realized that the bidet is not a competitor of the bathtub or the shower stall, but an ancillary cleansing facility.

It would appear incredible that the modern American woman, who spends so many billions of dollars on cosmetics and beauty parlors yearly -- 4.3 billions in 1959 as compared with an identical figure of 4.3 billions, estimated cost of physicians' services in 1959 -- should be so concerned about meticulous daintiness for 98 per cent of her person, when for the better part of each 24 hours, she blissfully ignores her invisible but nevertheless soiled derriere.

I came across this after reading "In Reappraisal of the Bidet, Nearly Half a Century Later", which states:

A number of anal conditions, such as “pruritus ani,” are reported to be poor hygiene-related, and a shower in the evening is not a valid substitute or comparable to a bidet, which is quickly accessible at any time during the day, possibly in close temporal relationship with evacuation(s). Anedoctical complications are, indeed, reported after overzealous use of a bidet, such as rectal mucosal prolapse and burns. Proper installation and judicious use of a bidet should, however, always be encouraged at all latitudes by colorectal surgeons, as it was advocated in 1959 by G. T. Pack in one of the first issues of this Journal.

doi 10.1007/s10350-006-0564-8

Unfortunately, I haven't found any direct buttock-hygiene tests.

Edited by Cap'n Refsmmat
Consecutive posts merged.
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I had a bidet in the house when I was a kid. I didn't use it much; it had to be run for a while before the water would be warm, was separate from the toilet, and then I still needed something to dry with. However, I did appreciate it whenever I had a bad case of diarrhea: it won't make your bottom sore from excessive wiping.

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I only shower once a day unless I'm doing some sweaty work. I think bascule's point in the OP is very valid. If you were to get feces on you anywhere else, would you be content to just wipe it off with paper? I'm not overly fastidious about most things but I even wash my hands with soap and water after cleaning the cat box with a scooper.

Why is paper alone good enough for our backsides?

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I'm not overly fastidious about most things but I even wash my hands with soap and water after cleaning the cat box with a scooper.

Why is paper alone good enough for our backsides?

Well, you know exactly what the cat is content to clean itself with, so in comparison, paper isn't all that bad...

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I have never used one and I'm pretty sure that in Alberta there is only a hundred or so in private homes and high-end hotels. To me bidets are a tad creepy, and I'm slightly terrified of accidentally bruising a ball with a high pressure jet.

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I don't think you're supposed to turn the pressure up to Steel Cutter except in special circumstances.

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If you shower twice a day, your arse is going to stay fairly clean anyway.

I typically prefer to take one shower today. I suffer from dry skin and overshowering can actually make the problem worse. However, I often find myself showering twice a day specifically to resolve this problem.

That's not to mention that I usually have to go right after I arrive at work, which means I'm dirty the whole day.

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