The bidet was developed around 1600 in France as a better option to the chamber pot. After using the toilet, it is designed to clean the ‘dangly bits’ (there’ll be a few euphemisms for those in this post).
There are some significant potential disadvantages to using a bidet over a conventional toilet in your home, and the five biggest ones are :
- They can be unsanitary
- They can cause UTI’s
- It can be expensive upfront
- They could increase the water bill
- Can burn or freeze your butt!
The bidet is a controversial topic, and while there are some advantages to having one in your home, you’d need to look at the downside before installing one.
Before we weigh up the possible risks, let’s first take a quick look at how they work. Bidets are found in Europe and the Middle East, where they are favored for additional cleaning of the personal bits after using the toilet.
Many people find them gross and won’t use them, but the truth is told, they are useful when kept clean and disinfected properly. Using one for the first time may be a bit weird as you won’t be used to the spray of water suddenly shooting up between the ‘tender regions’.
You would use the toilet as usual and then wipe, as usual, then instead of dressing, you would straddle the bidet and slowly turn the water on. Some bidets shoot water at high pressure so turn the tap slowly!
If the bidet has hot and cold water, it’s like a shower for the ‘podgies’ ( told you there would be a lot of euphemisms!) with you setting the water temperature to comfortable levels.
Then you would align the ‘target area’ with the water flow and allow the water to wash off any excess bits, and you can also clean the area using soap. Once done, use toilet paper to wipe dry, dispose of the toilet paper as normal, dress, and you’re done!
PS- if you see a towel nearby, don’t use it to dry yourself as this is a hand towel, and the folks coming in afterward may not appreciate any ‘signatures’ on the towel after you’re done!
Types Of Bidets
Before we poke around into the dark world of the bidet, you should know that there are a few types of bidets.
1. The Stand-Alone Bidet
As suggested, this is a separate bidet from the toilet and is usually ceramic and is attached to the wall adjacent to the toilet. Once you have concluded your ‘business’ on the toilet, you would move to the secondary cleaning facility – a bit like a car wash for your undercarriage!
These take up space and require separate plumbing, so they are cheaper but less popular these days. If the thought of having to finish on the loo and then move to get cleaner doesn’t appeal to you, then a separate bidet isn’t for you!
2. The Portable Bidet
This is essentially a squeeze bottle with a nozzle and finds favor with people that travel a lot – it could be an interesting discussion with the airport security officer, though! These also come in electric options that deliver water at a higher pressure and more consistently than their manual counterparts.
3. The Handheld Bidet
This is a lot like the shower heads you find connected to the bath by a hose, except this one is attached to the toilet by a hose. It does offer more control, but you need to make sure you have your aim right, or you could possibly end up looking like you had a shower in your pants!
4. Built-In Or Toilet Seat Bidets
Here you have both toilet and bidet together, so you don’t need to move once you’re don’t to clean up a bit more. Most modern ones have an angled spray jet, so you don’t clog or mess on the jet head when on the toilet.
They have control panels on the side of the toilet seat to select temperature and pressure, and some – especially in Asia- offer a musical soundtrack to accompany your performance!
Disadvantages Of The Bidet
Now that we have established all the options and fundamentals of flushing the giggleberries, let’s look at five disadvantages of the bidet.
1. Bidets Can Be Unsanitary
As with any plumbing fixture used to contain and dispose of human waste, the bidet can suffer the same fate as toilets that aren’t cleaned and disinfected regularly- they can be horribly unsanitary!
While some men may not elect to go the ‘bum-shower’ route, ladies may choose to, and there would be nothing more off-putting than using a dirty, smelly bidet caked in old bits of human waste.
The big issue with the bidet is that when not cleaned and disinfected, it can house a variety of really nasty little microscopic bugs that are just waiting for an unsuspecting passerby – like a mugger waiting for their next victim!
Bidets Don’t Clean The Bowl
Another factor to consider here is that bidets don’t clean the toilet bowl; they’re only designed to clean you. During normal flushing, the action of the water rinses off the sides, and the toilet paper acts like an abrasive to remove some of the more stubborn stains and residue.
Having one at home may mean using your toilet brush a lot more often than usual, and outside of the labor factor, most people would prefer NOT to have to clean a toilet bowl AND a bidet.
If you are in a reputable establishment like a good hotel, you can be reasonably certain that the bidet in your room is disinfected and cleaned daily, and you won’t have to worry about those kinds of problems.
Rule of thumb here, if you are in a foreign country, carry some toilet paper with you when you arrive, just in case!
You May Not Be Using Clean Water
Another sanitary concern is that the water being pumped into the bidet may not necessarily be clean water! Now, this won’t be an issue in big cities with good water treatment systems, but if you are in a place with sub-standard water treatment, it may not be recommended to treat your water bits with untreated water!
2. Bidets Can Cause UTI’s And Other Infections
Following on from the point above, it’s obvious that any toilet can cause infections if not clean, and women, more so than men due to their anatomy, are more susceptible to UTIs and other potential infections from unclean facilities.
The key here is that most people would opt to use warm water rather than ice cold water in most cases.
A study done in Japan by the National Library Of Medicine that observed the effects of using warm-water bidets showed conclusively that the continued use of warm-water bidets led to a significant decrease in the presence of normal vaginal microflora – 42% of users VS just 8% of non-users.
Normal microflora is healthy bacteria that live in the vagina and keep it healthy. The use of warm water bidets removed the healthy bacteria and led to increases in inflammation and UTIs.
Furthermore, the study found that fecal matter was detected in 50 of the 268 cases with 46 cases in users, 92% and only 4 (8%) in non-users, and infection and contamination of other pathogens were 400%-600% HIGHER in users vs. non-users.
That’s enough to make you want to wear a bulletproof ‘vest’ for your privates!
Ladies, the ‘bottom line here is that if you want your bottom and associated parts to be less at risk of UTIs and other similar infections, it might be better to stay away from using warm-water bidets daily.
3. Bidets Can Be Expensive
If you’re thinking about putting a bidet in, you need to consider the additional costs you could be looking at to do this.
A standalone bidet could cost between $300 and $1000, and you may need some additional plumbing and hot water connection if you want that option, and lets’ face it – if you are going to put in a bidet, you may as well have hot water!
Handheld bidets (Amazon paid link) would cost around $25-$70 depending on which one you buy – just make sure you get a leak-resistant one!
Electric bidet seats (Amazon paid link) can cost from $50 to around $1200 depending on the features it offers. For a bidet seat with an air dryer ( not a hairdryer) that could be around the $350 – $400 mark and more advanced features like instant hot water, you’re looking at $600 or more!
For Bidet toilet combinations, these would set you back anywhere between $1200 and $6000 or more, and a decent model would be $1500 or so.
$5000 just to keep your rump section clean and neat? That’s a lot of wet wipes!
4. Bidets Can Increase Water Usage
This aspect would largely depend on the type of bidet you choose to get, as a standalone one would use more water than a combination one. Using a separate bidet and depending on how many times you used it in a day, you could possibly see a measurable increase in your water bills.
Another aspect to consider is that this is a plumbing fixture and can leak over time.
If you have kids, especially those that like to play in your bathroom, they could have great fun with this!
“Look! Mommy has a water fountain in her bathroom!” Little hands playing with that unsupervised could find water running down the passage in your house or leaking over the floor if they are not turned off properly.
Great fun for the kids, not so much for you mopping up the water and having to dry out the floors!
5. Bidets Can Freeze Or Burn Your Butt!
In plumbing terms, cold water is defined as water with a temperature between 40°F and 70°F. At 70°F, that’s not a train smash, but the effect of having 40-degree water spraying up under pressure into one of the most sensitive parts of your body could have some interesting results.
Ice-cold water unexpectedly launching into your much warmer soft areas could certainly elicit a few choice words and some high-pitched shrieks, which could have your significant other breaking down the door expecting to find your pants down facing a spider or snake!
If you live in some of the colder climates where temperatures can dip to sub-freezing in winter, it would be advisable to start your water flow slowly and preferably have it connected to a warm water source as well.
And the opposite is also true with hot water. Although not common, it would not be recommended to have a heated jet of water assaulting your angelics either! While electric bidets don’t usually get temperatures above 104 °F, it’s best to ensure your temperature settings before engaging the water flow.
Start slowly as you shower and work up to the right temperature to avoid accidental scalding. Also, remember that the skin on your sensitive bits is not as tough as other parts of your body, and extreme temperatures can be more unpleasant than usual.
Pick The Right Bidet For You
If you are considering installing a bidet, consider all the options and pick one that will be easy to use, has little risk of creating health issues, has simple controls, and provides all the features that will give you the healthiest results.
Investing in a decent quality product from a reputable brand will go a long way to ensuring you get a decent bidet and don’t have to deal with any potential issues.
The bidet has come a very long way from the 1600s, and truth be told, they are a very convenient and most hygienic method of keeping your tiddly bits a bit cleaner than toilet paper can. Their pros outweigh their cons, but the cons can have some nasty consequences too.
Before putting one in or using one in a foreign land or someone’s home, it’s better to be informed of the potential hazards as unlikely as some of them are. They still exist and can create some havoc down there for the unsuspecting and uninformed user. As with anything, knowing how to use it properly and safely makes all the difference.
Next, you can learn if touchless faucets are worth the investment, or how to clean your bathtub with oven cleaner.