A bidet is a special plumbing fixture or accessory that allows you to use water to wash your genitals, anus, and inner buttocks after using the bathroom, and these fixtures are very popular with men and women both. Some of the most common reasons that bidets are used include:
- Improved cleanliness, better personal hygiene, and increased comfort
- A lower environmental impact because less toilet paper is used
- Less household waste
- Financial savings
- Fewer clogs and other plumbing problems
- Better care for your skin
Bidets have been used for centuries in some countries, while other countries have been very slow to adopt these fixtures and bidets are still not widely used in some areas. Those who have used a bidet have plenty of praise for this bathroom appliance, and those who have never tried one do not realize what they are missing out on.
A bidet is not a type of toilet, and if it is an additional fixture it is important that you use the bidet properly. The toilet is used for your bathroom functions, and then the bidet is used to clean yourself once you are finished. Some models combine a toilet and bidet into one unit.
The History of the Bidet
The origins of the bidet are not fully known, this appliance was invented by the French but the exact date is uncertain. It is believed that the bidet first appeared in the late 1600s, created by a furniture maker. The very first written account of a bidet is from Italy and dates back to 1710, and originally this appliance was placed in the bedroom and not the bathroom. During much of the 17th and 18th century bedrooms included a chamber pot, and after the invention of the bidet these fixtures were also located in the bedroom by the chamber pot.
The first bidets were very crude in design, with no running water and a bowl that you would need to squat over in order to use it. The name bidet means little pony or little horse in French, and the first models were meant to be straddled the way a horse is straddled so the name stuck. The bowl would be filled with clean water and then this water was used to clean the genital and anal areas after the chamber pot was used.
In the past bidets were also used by couples as they were preparing for sex. Men and women both could wash up and get clean before being romantic, and then the bidet was used to clean up after the sexual encounter. During this period bathing was not a common practice each day, and a bidet could help with cleanliness and personal hygiene without requiring a full bath. Toilet paper was also not available during much of the 1700s and 1800s, so the bidet was used to clean up after a bowel movement by both sexes and after urination by women. It was not until around 1900 that the bidet and the chamber pot were moved into the bathroom.
Where are Bidets Popular Today?
Today bidets can be found around the globe, but they are not as popular in some regions as they are in other areas. In Italy approximately 97% of homes and apartments have these fixtures, but in the USA most residences do not offer a bidet because because this plumbing fixture is considered new and unfamiliar. In Europe bidets are very common and are typically expected, and they can also be found frequently in South America, the Middle East, and Asia as well. The bidet is gaining popularity in the United States and other countries where it is a new concept though, because one individuals use a bidet they usually want one in their homes.
The Evolution of the Bidet
The bidet has really evolved in the hundreds of years since it was first created. The bidet was first used in Europe in the late 1600s, and there are records of bidet use in Italy in the early 1700s. At first these appliances were only available in the palaces and homes of the very wealthy and the original fixture was nothing like what you can find on the market today.
Initially there was no stream of water to wash over the nether regions, instead the bidet held water so that it could be used to clean up after using the bathroom. Around 1750 a bidet was created that used a reservoir and a hand pump to provide a spray of water, and the reservoir was filled by hand. In the 1900s inside plumbing was starting to catch on, and the bidet moved from the bedroom into the bathroom. In most cases the bidet was still a separate fixture located beside the chamber pot and then the modern toilet, and over time hand pumps were replaced by knobs and sprayers.
After the second world war the Japanese started to use American toilets because these fixtures were more comfortable because they allowed the user to sit instead of squat. Innovative Japanese manufacturers came up with fixtures that used the American style toilet but then added a device which provided a stream of water from a sprayer for personal cleaning purposes after a bowel movement or urination. Electric bidets were the next step in bidet evolution, and new features starting showing up with this type of model as well. The bidet has slowly started carrying over to the US market in the last decade or so, and it is quickly becoming a very popular option in America as consumers learn about the many features and benefits available. Today electric bidets can be found that offer a number of optional features which may be desired, and these can include a warm water wash, a heated seat, a warm air dryer, a deodorizer feature, and even a remote for bidet operation.
The bidet today can include a wide range of designs, features, and models that users may enjoy. This fixture has gained popularity in the USA even though it is not common yet. Many high end hotel bathrooms and private homes owned by wealthy individuals have a bidet installed, but this fixture is also starting to be seen in more modest residences as well. The cost of a bidet has come down considerably over the years and American consumers can find the most basic models for $100 or less in some cases.
Should You Have a Bidet Installed?
If you have ever used a bidet then you probably already know that you want one and the only questions are which model and who will install it. If you have never had this cleansing experience then you are probably wondering if you should have this fixture installed in your bathroom. Once you understand all of the benefits that a bidet offers you will realize why they are so popular in the rest of the world. Make sure to do some research before you decide on a model and an installer, and decide which features are essential and which are just extras that you can live without. This will help you stay within your budget, because you can start to eliminate features if the cost of a bidet is too high for your budget.