How to Use a Bidet – Manual and Electric

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by toilethaven

What is a Bidet?

When my old man asked me what a bidet was, I had a hard time explaining to him what it was and how it worked without being too graphic. His response was a classic. “But what’s wrong with using old good toilet paper”?

I told him that toilet paper does not remove everything. He didn’t look convinced, and I’m sure he will not be installing a bidet in his bathroom any time soon.

He is not alone, though. Most Americans have never used a bidet, and many don’t even know what it is. A friend once told me he used it as a sink in Europe. He was, however, disappointed by how low the “sink” was.

While bidets are not very common in North America, they are very popular in Europe and Asia. Americans are, however, catching up with the rest of the world, and those who have used them can’t help but wonder why they took so long to get here.

So, what is a bidet?

A bidet (pronounced as be-day) is an oval-shaped porcelain bathroom fixture installed next to the toilet to wash one’s private parts after using the toilet. Bidet toilet seats and hand-held sprayer bidets are also used as an alternative to the stand-alone bidets.

According to Toilet Paper History, bidets were invented by the French in the 17th century. Their name comes from the French word “bitet” or “pony” but was also referred to as a “trot,” which signifies someone riding a hose. This is due to the straddling position taken while using the bidet.

To properly use a bidet, start by adjusting your preferred water temperature and pressure, then strip and straddle the bidet like a horse facing the knobs. Clean your front and rear, then dry yourself using toilet paper and not the towel. Only use the towel to dry your hands.

There is no rule on whether to use a bidet after or before wiping. While some people prefer to wipe first, you don’t need to. The advantage of wiping before using a bidet is that it will only take you a few seconds on the bidet while cleaning up.

You don’t need to wipe after using a bidet since the water pressure is enough to completely clean. What you, however, need to do is dry yourself. You would normally use toilet paper, buy in a private bathroom, you can use a towel.

You should never poop or throw toilet paper in a bidet. Unlike toilets, bidets cannot be flushed since they don’t have a tank. Their drain line is also quite small, and doing so will only cause them to clog.

Types of Bidets

There are 3 main types of bidets. Let us have a look at them.

1. Stand-Alone Bidet

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A stand-alone bidet is the traditional and oldest type of bidet. It is oval-shaped and made of porcelain, just like the toilet bowl. A stand-alone bidet can be floor-mounted or wall-mounted.

It looks like a toilet bowl without a seat and a tank but has water knobs at the back. The water temperature and pressure can be regulated by the knob(s).

It is important to note that although stand-alone bidets work the same, they differ slightly in how they look. Some have 1, 2, or even 3 water knobs, while others have a jet at the bottom but some don’t. Whichever the case, using a Stand-alone bidet is really easy.

2. Hand-Held Bidet

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A hand-held bidet, which is also known as a bidet sprayer, consists of a spray head, bidet hose, and a shut-off T-valve. It is normally installed closer to the toilet and normally hung on the wall adjacent to the toilet or on the tank.

It is a cheap alternative to the stand-alone bidet and also saves on bathroom space. A bidet sprayer’s use is, however, limited and not as diverse as the stand-alone bidet.

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3. Bidet Toilet Combo

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A bidet toilet combo is simply a combination between a regular toilet and a bidet toilet seat. A bidet toilet seat is, at times, referred to as a washlet, especially those from the Toto brand.

The bidet toilet combo is my favorite type of bidet. Apart from saving bathroom space, they can be cheaper to install than stand-alone bidets and also provide a more satisfying, luxurious experience.

Bidet toilet seats look like normal toilet seats but have a power cord connected to a power outlet and a water hose connected to the toilet’s water supply. These are what are also called electronic bidets.

They have a nozzle at the back of the seat that offers a front and a rear wash using warm water infused with air bubbles in a process known as aeration. The oscillating and pulsating warm water massages and helps you to relax. The water temperature and pressure are easily adjusted from a remote control or control panel.

Bidet toilet seats have an automatic warm air drier with adjustable temperature controls. As soon as you are fully cleaned, the dryer kicks in and blows warm air all over your front and rear.

Apart from cleaning and drying, bidet toilet seats provide other features such as a heated toilet seat, nightlight, and a soft closing seat and lid. The more advanced ones will even automatically lift and close the seat lid and automatically flush the toilet, giving you a complete hands-free operation.

Another thing I like about the bidet toilet combo is that you don’t need to stand from the toilet and walk to the bidet to clean, unlike the stand-alone bidet. Everything is done while you are sitting in the heated seat.

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How to Use a Stand-Alone Bidet

There are people who have ended up flooding the bathroom or had water splash all over their faces while using a stand-alone bidet for the first time. The water flowing into the bidet’s knobs can be under very high pressure, and if you open them all the way and fast, you might have an unexpected experience.

Let’s see how you should use a stand-alone bidet.

1. Start at the toilet

A bidet is installed very close to the toilet. You should, therefore, start at the toilet and then move on to the bidet. A stand-alone bidet does not completely eliminate the use of toilet paper. You will, therefore, need to wipe your rear side with toilet paper once before using the bidet.

This is important because a bidet does not have a big outlet like a toilet bowl, and you really don’t want to leave human waste on the bidet. “Why use a bidet if I have already used a toilet paper”? This is a question I’m always being asked.

The truth of the matter is that toilet paper does not remove everything. Without being too gross, toilet paper kind of smears some waste around your anus, and that is what you need to get it out with the bidet.

2. Check the type of bidet you have

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Stand-alone bidets look different, so you should take your time to check the type you are being faced with. Some have just 1 water knob, while some have 2 or 3 knobs.

You can also see a ‘C’ inscribed on one of the knobs to indicate cold water and a ‘H’ on another to indicate hot water. For those with only 1 knob, they have 2 arrows showing you which way to rotate the knob to get cold or hot water.

Instead of a faucet that fills the bidet with water, some stand-alone bidets have a jet at the bottom through which water comes out. Just check to see if this is what you have.

3. Get cleaned

Before you start the water flow into the bidet, check the drain plug to make sure it is plugged in. Start filling the bidet with water, and make sure to adjust the temperature you are most comfortable with. Stop the water flow an inch below the bidet’s overflow.

For a bidet with a jet at the bottom, you will not need to fill the bidet with water. If you do that, water will come out of the jet like a fountain and flood your bathroom or wet your clothes.

The best way to use a bidet is by straddling it facing the water controls. That way, you are able to control the water temperature and pressure as well as easily clean your front and your rear. To do this, you will need to have your pants off.

You can also sit on the bidet’s rim the way you sit on a toilet. Bidets don’t have a seat. In this position, there will be no need to remove your pants.

If the stand-alone bidet has a jet/nozzle at the bottom, you will first need to sit on the bidet (best facing the controls) and adjust the water temperature to the desired setting. Position the area you need to clean directly above the jet and start the water slowly.

Keep moving your body to make sure different parts are targeted and thus cleaned. You may choose to have the water accumulate in the bowl or drain away as you get cleaned.

When you are completely cleaned, remove the bidet plug to allow the water to drain away. It is important to make sure that you do not leave any fecal matter on the bidet, as it can be very irritating for the next user.

Rinse the bowl to make it ready for the next use/user.

4. Dry yourself up

I often have people ask me, “How do you get dried while using a bidet”?  If you are using a stand-alone bidet, you can use a towel or toilet paper to dry yourself.

Use a towel to dry yourself if the bidet is in your home or hotel room. If you are visiting someone, use toilet paper and not a towel, even if you see one hanging closer to the bidet. Only use the towel to dry your hands and not your nether regions.

You should also never throw toilet paper in the bidet. It can clog up the drain so badly, rendering it unusable.

How to Use a Bidet Sprayer

The main advantage of a bidet sprayer vs. a stand-alone bidet is that you do not need to leave the toilet seat until you are fully cleaned. You also don’t have to remove your pants, although you could if you wanted.

Using a hand-held bidet/bidet sprayer is really easy. Before even unhooking it from the wall, make sure that you have flushed the toilet. You wouldn’t want waste splashing over you during cleaning.

  • Open the shut-off valve by turning it counterclockwise. Do not, however, turn it all the way initially because the pressure can be very high.
  • Hold the bidet head and pass it between your legs and in the toilet bowl, targeting the area you need to clean. You could also pass it from the rear side. Make sure you are holding the bidet head at an angle such that the waste will fall downwards and not be thrust upwards or sideways.
  • Gently pull the trigger on the bidet head and start the cleaning process. You can increase the pressure of the water as desired. Move the bidet head around to clean the front as well as the rear parts.
  • When fully cleaned, release the trigger and shut off the T-valve. Hook the sprayer bidet head back on the wall or tank.
  • Use toilet paper to dry yourself up. You can also use a towel if you are at home or in a hotel room.

I know some people don’t do it, but it is always good practice to shut off the bidet sprayer T-valve. This prevents any leakage whenever the sprayer head trigger is not holding up well.

Although not one of its intended uses, a hand-held bidet has been used (especially by ladies) for pleasure, focusing the bidet sprayer head on the genitals can result in a stimulating effect.

How to Use a Bidet Toilet Combo

These are the toilets of the future. And the future is here. With bidet toilet combos, you might be confronted with a regular toilet where a bidet toilet seat has been installed or a smart toilet.

Smart/intelligent toilets offer a complete hands-free experience but have manual functions as a backup in case of a power outage. Unlike the other types of bidets, these ones are dependent on electricity in order to function.  The process of using a bidet toilet combo is the same whether it is a smart toilet or not.

How a bidet toilet seat works is that a nozzle wand, mostly made of stainless steel, automatically comes out from the rear end of the seat. It sprays your rear and front with warm bubbling water until all the waste is removed.

It then retreats back to a compartment on the seat. The nozzles are self-cleaning, some combining water and UV light to sanitize and maintain top hygiene completely. A dryer will then start blowing warm air to dry off all the water completely.

Some bidet toilet seats have the control fitted on the side of the seat, while some come with a wireless remote control. The remote control can be hand-held or mounted on the wall adjacent to the toilet.

The main advantage of using a wireless remote control is that you don’t need to turn to your side to adjust the settings, which can be a little uncomfortable.

Steps for using a bidet toilet combo

  • Sit on the toilet and do your business.
  • Check to see if the bidet has been turned on. Some bidet toilet seats are left to heat the seat and the water throughout, while some have an instant heating capacity and are normally turned off when the toilet is not in use. The reason for this is to save on energy and therefore electricity bills.
  • If it’s off, go ahead and tap ‘ON’ from the control panel. Whether you want a ‘FRONT’ or ‘REAR’ wash, press the wash options on the remote control. The nozzle will extend outwards but may not clean you in an instant as it will take time to self-clean and heat the water.
  • Note that some bidet controls are worded differently, so take time to check yours. Some nozzles can also be extended back and forth in order to hit different sections of the body as desired. If that is not the case, you will need to move your body around.
  • Adjust the temperature and pressure of the water to make sure you are having the best experience. You can set and forget these settings after installing it the first time.
  • After you are completely cleansed, the nozzle will retract back to the inside of the seat, where it will be automatically sanitized.
  • Next, start the drier. The temperature of the dryer can be adjusted to suit your preferred settings. Again, you can set the temperature for once and forget it.
  • Flush the toilet. Depending on the toilet of the bidet toilet combo you are using, the toilet will flush automatically or manually. You can also flush the toilet from the remote control.

And that is how to use a bidet toilet seat. Bidet toilet combos are the only bidets that have completely done away with toilet paper. They are also, in my opinion, more convenient and comfortable than other types of bidets.

Bidet toilet systems can be a very great choice for people with a small bathroom or those who do not want to mess with their bathroom floor. You simply buy a bidet toilet seat and attach it to your existing toilet. Most people will not even need to pay a plumber for that.

How to Use a Bidet Bottle

A bidet bottle is a bottle with a nozzle at the top that you fill with water and use to clean up your nether regions after using a toilet. It is an economical, hygienic, and environmentally friendly portable bidet.

So, how does a bidet bottle work?

  • Fill the bottle with water.
  • Screw in the nozzle.
  • Sit on the toilet and do your business.
  • To avoid spilling water on the floor, place a finger at the front of the nozzle until it is pointing at the area you need to clean.
  • Remove the finger and squeeze the bottle to give the water a bit of pressure as it cleanses you.

FAQs

1. Do you wipe before using a bidet?

While using a stand-alone bidet, dry wipe once with toilet paper to remove most of the fecal matter. You, however, do not need to wipe while using the bidet toilet seat or bidet sprayer.

2. Are bidets sanitary?

Water is the most effective way of cleaning just about anything, and that is where bidets win over toilet paper. They are even more helpful for women during menstruation. Simply put, bidets remove everything, which is not the case with toilet paper or wipes.

The water used by bidets is also clean water from your house, the same water you use in the shower or kitchen.

3. Are bidets for men or women?

While bidets provide excellent front and rear cleansing for women, especially during pregnancy or menstruation, they are also a great option for men compared to toilet paper.

4. Can you pee in a bidet?

You should not pee in the bidet. Bidets do not have a way of flushing, and you can also not throw in toilet paper. Peeing in the bidet can cause a foul odor, which would inconvenience other users.

5. How do you dry after using a bidet?

Electric bidet toilet seats use a warm air dryer to dry you after cleaning. For stand-alone bidets and sprayer bidets, you should use a bidet towel or toilet paper. Be careful, as most of the towels near a bidet are for drying your hands and not your rear.