So...What Is A Bidet, Anyway?

A Bio Bidet by Bemis branded bathroom photo.

What Is a Bidet?

A bidet is a device that produces a gentle stream of water to clean your behind, replacing the need for toilet paper. Bidets are attached to, or incorporated within, a toilet, and are more hygienic and sustainable than wiping with toilet paper.

A mainstay in bathrooms in Europe and Asia, recent advancements in technology that make bidets affordable, luxurious, and neatly adapted to American toilets are making them more popular than ever in the United States.

Bidet History

The first use of the word “bidet” to describe, well, a bidet, was used in the 15th century. The French word referred to pet ponies kept by French royalty in Paris and Versailles since the earliest bidets were straddled like a horse. The term slowly morphed into a description for contraceptive and purgative uses by the 19th century, a continued and cheeky reference to the bidet’s resemblance to the royal ponies of a bygone era.

Before long, the term “bidet” transitioned back to describing the personal cleansing device we know today.

How Does a Bidet Work?

A bidet harnesses your home’s water supply to spray a plume of water that cleans your posterior or (if you’re a woman, also your) genital area.

Many of today’s bidets offer a world of features – like heated seats, nightlights, and an air-dryer option to practically eliminate your need for toilet paper (a modest amount is sometimes used by bidet users to dry themselves).

In fact, the European-style bidet, which was a separate standalone addition to a spacious bathroom, is out of style in this country. Instead, American bidets are all-in-one units: either a bidet attachment or bidet toilet seat fitted to the existing toilet, or an electric-powered bidet toilet that fully replaces their old, conventional toilet (and is usually packed with luxury features).

What Is a Bidet Attachment?

Bidet attachments are accessories for your existing toilet that can be quickly installed and hooked up to your current bathroom plumbing. Using your water supply, a bidet attachment offers a spray nozzle for cleansing without adding a lot of hardware or taking up much space.

Check out our affordable line of bidet attachments to see different models and features.

What Is a Bidet Toilet Seat?

A bidet toilet seat replaces your existing toilet seat but not your existing toilet. They offer many of the features of a fancier bidet toilet without having to install an entirely new toilet and the extra work and cost that would entail. Bidet toilet seats have more features than attachments and many models are electric.

See our bidet seat models and find the right model for your home.

What is a Bidet Toilet?

A bidet toilet completely replaces your existing toilet. This option is especially attractive for homeowners planning a bathroom remodel or design and want to include bidet functionality as a part of their new space. Depending on your experience level, professional plumbing help may be required to install a bidet toilet.

A bidet toilet includes features that make every trip to the lavatory more convenient, more hygienic, and more comfortable. Bio Bidet toilets include options like an auto-open and auto-close lid, a nightlight, and Dual Smart Flush that reduces water use by adjusting the flush based on the water needed after each use.

Bidet toilets are an exciting mix of technology and convenience that any home will value.

Bidet Use in the US

As ubiquitous as they are in Europe and Asia, bidets are still relatively uncommon in the United States. Misconceptions about bidets and humorous anecdotes abound, but bidet use has steadily grown in the US in recent years. The toilet paper shortage in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the conversion to bidets by Americans looking for ways to stay clean without relying on toilet paper. Other motivating factors, such as a focus on sustainability, have also driven new bidet sales.

Learn More About Bidets from the Experts

If you have more questions about bidet options, installation, or compatibility with your toilet, make sure you check out our FAQ page. Then contact us so we can make it easy to find the right bidet for your home!

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