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What Is A Bidet?

What is a bidet? And should you install one? They’re both fairly common questions and we’re not surprised. Most homeowners have never even seen one in person and some not at all. If your considering installing a bidet, but want more info before you decide, then this article’s for you.

Is there anything that cleans better than fresh, clear water? Anyone who values good hygiene and cleanliness should consider installing a bidet in their bathroom. These stylish basins are designed for cleaning your intimate areas. They come in a few different designs and all sorts of styles so there’s sure to be something that’ll work for your bathroom. Some models are attached directly to the wall, some sit on the floor and others are even attached to the toilet. The best and most commonly used designs are freestanding basins that you use once your done with the toilet. Bidet’s are commonly used in bathrooms around the world, but are just now becoming popular among high end clientele.

Don’t feel embarrassed if you have no idea what a bidet does or how to use one because your not alone. I can’t tell you how many people go to Europe and ask why the bathrooms have a toilet and a urinal in them. And even if they knew that urinal was actually a bidet, they still had no idea how to use it.

Bidets come is a wide variety of designs, styles and sizes. Wall-mounted bidets and floor-standing models are the most common. Finely crafted materials and innovative styles provide a high level of beauty and comfort.

Matching bidet and toilet in this beautiful modern master bathroom.

Matching bidet and toilet in this beautiful modern master bathroom.

Bidets Are Used Around The World

Bidets are commonly found in bathrooms around the world. In fact The United States is one of the only developed countries that don’t commonly use them. In fact, they’re so rare here in the States most Americans don’t even know what one is let alone how to use it. But if you’ve ever been to Europe, South America or Asia then you’ll know how common they are. In fact in Italy they’re found in over 95% oh homes. A bidet is just about as standard as a toilet and sink.

For most of the world the idea of only cleaning yourself with paper after using the toilet just isn’t good enough. Bidets have been around for centuries and are considered a much more hygienic way of cleaning yourself. I have no idea why Americans haven’t really accepted using them but I’d glad to see that this is changing.

More and more bidets are being installed in high end luxury master bathrooms across the country. Unlike throughout the rest of the world, Americans consider them to be some sort of a luxury item. Which is strange considering they’ll designed to wash your backside.

Even more common are electronic bidets called Washlets. They’re basically an electronic toilet seat with a wand that shoots water up at you.

Bidets are definitely an accelerating bathroom trend you may want to consider. Especially after living through the Corona Virus and all this crazy toilet paper hoarding that’s been going on. That’s not something you’ll have to worry about if you own a bidet.

Bidets And The Corona Virus

It’s kind of strange, but during the pandemic, interest in bidets has drastically shot up. Did you notice early on when people were buying hundreds of rolls of toilet paper and selling them for outrageous prices. Even as I write this, stores like Costco are limiting what you can buy because of hoarding. This didn’t happen in most other countries and do you know why? It’s because they have bidets in just about every bathroom. In Italy they’re in over 95% of bathrooms. It’s just about as standard as a sink, tub or shower.

It’s a weird thing to link a global pandemic to a bidet but they are. Americans are starting to realize that it makes sense having another option in the house just in case the toilet paper runs out. And it’s not just a passing issue. We had many of these same problems a few years back after Hurricane Sandy and other bad Winter storms. If your stuck in the house for an extended period of time then what do you do.

Another benefit of using a bidet is how much you’ll save on toilet paper. On average, you can save around $150 – $200 bucks every year by not using so much paper. 

The whole world can’t be wrong. Being totally dependent on toilet paper whenever you use the bathroom isn’t the best idea. Paper is not as good at cleaning you vs a bidet and is worse for the environment. There not that expensive so even if you don’t use it every day it’s still good to have.

Benefits Of Using A Bidet

Bidets offer a hygienic way to clean your backside after using the toilet. This can be especially useful for people with limited mobility or other physical requirements that make using toilet paper difficult.

Did you know the average person uses around 50 pounds of toilet paper a year? That’s about $250 bucks worth per person, per year. That adds up to a lot of money over time. However, when you use a bidet, the water costs much less than the paper so you end up saving money. The average user will save anywhere from $150 – $200 per year on toilet paper. Eventually your bidet will actually pay for itself.

So how much water does a bidet actually use on average? About an eighth of a gallon of water per wash. That’s a lot less than a single toilet flush which uses around 4 gallons. One flush of your average toilet is equal to 36 washes from the bidet.

  • Another advantage of using a bidet is not having to worry about clogged pipes. Too much toilet paper being flushed down the drain is a common problem you’ll know all about if you have kids.
  • And speaking of kids in the house a bidet cleans them much better than they’ll probably do on their own with toilet paper.
  • Cleanliness is a big benefit of using a bidet. It washes you clean after every use of the toilet. Unless you’ve used one it’s hard to describe how much fresher it feels.
  • They work even when there’s a toilet paper shortage.

There are plenty of benefits to using a bidet. It’s a surprise it’s taken this long for them to gain popularity in the States.

Beautiful modern master bathroom with wall hung toilet and matching white porcelain bidet.

Beautiful modern master bathroom with wall hung toilet and matching white porcelain bidet.

How Do Bidet’s Work?

A bidet is very easy to work. Basically it’s just like a sink only instead of water rushing out of the faucet it shoots up from the bidet.

You adjust the water pressure and temperature from handles just like you do a sink.

There are also electronic bidets that you control with a panel or remote. They work in the same way expect you control pressure and temperature electronically instead of turning the faucet knobs. Electronic controls are a nice luxury feature because you can adjust things while using the bidet. Faucet controls require you to get off for a moment.

Do Bidets Clean Better?

Personal hygiene is super important when it comes to anything in the bathroom. So which is better? Toilet paper vs a bidet?

If you’ve ever used a bidet then the answer is clear. There’s nothing like the fresh feeling you get after a wash with clean water. But strangely enough, there’s no solid research to back up that claim. As far as I’m concerned washing off with clean warm water after you use the bathroom just feels cleaner and more hygienic after using the toilet. This is why people, especially kids, love using wet wipes. A bidet does the same thing. Water cleans you better than a dry piece of toilet paper can.

Many people even use both. If you want to use toilet paper and then wash a bit afterwards to make completely sure your clean then that’s an option if you have a bidet.

How Much Does A Bidet Cost?

There are a wide variety of bidet designs on the market that come at different price points.

Cheaper bidets start around $200 and then go all the way up to over $1,000. On average, you can expect to pay between $250 – $350 for a good model. Toto and Kohler are both solid manufacturers that sell bidets in the US. What’s good about one of these brands is that they also make toilets so you can get a matching set.

Installing a bidet is pretty cheap. We generally pay around $200 bucks. It’s as simple as hooking up a toilet. All you need are water supplies and a drain.

Ideally you’ll want to install a bidet in a new bathroom or remodel so you can run both hot and cold water lines in advance. Bidets work just like a sink, so you’ll be able to adjust the water temperature as needed with the handle.

If the hot and cold water lines and drain are ready then installing the bidet is cheap and easy. But the lines have to be there. To install a bidet in an old bathroom takes a lot of work because you’ll have to run a new drain and water supply lines.

We recommend installing a bidet as a part of the bathroom design so the proper rough plumbing can be run where needed.

Side by side comparison of a floor mounted and wall mounted bidet.

Side by side comparison of a floor mounted and wall mounted bidet.

Wall Or Floor Mounted? Which Type Of Bidet Is Right For Your Bathroom?

Every bathroom is different. Not only do they vary in size and layout but also style and design. Luckily there are a wide range of bidets on the market for you to consider using in your bathroom. One of the main decisions you’ll have to consider is where to mount it. This will effect not only the look of your bathroom but also the structure and rough plumbing.

Wall Mounted Bidets

Modern design strives to achieve a clean, crisp look. By mounting your bidet into the wall, the flooring can be continuous without any breaks. You also hide any plumbing lines or valves. Some say it even makes the room look bigger because you can see the flooring under the bidet.

Another nice benefit of a wall mount is that you can adjust the height however you like. If your a very tall person this can come in handy.

Although this type of mounting is extremely strong there are still some weight limits to consider if your a heavy person.

You need a strong wall framing and brackets that come with the bidet in order to do a wall mount. We generally recommend a 2×6 wall to our clients because of the additional strength but a 2×4 will work just fine.

Wall mounts require plumbing to be hidden in the wall so you need to make a style decision before rough plumbing is done.

Floor Mounted Bidets

A floor mounted bidet is more traditional for residential use and matches your standard toilet. You won’t have to worry about any special wall brackets or the strength of your wall frame either. Simply bolt it to the floor just like you would a toilet.
The great thing about a floor mount is that it matches just about every toilet. While there are some contemporary wall mounted toilets on the market, most are still floor mounts.

With a floor mount you don’t have to worry about weight concerns but the height isn’t adjustable like the wall mount is.

Floor mounted bidets require a plumbing line in the wall or floor but the drain has to be in the floor so you need to decide on a style before rough plumbing is done.

Side By Side Installation

Toilets and bidets are usually installed next to each other for functional as well as space reasons. The shape and color of both your bidet and toilet should be coordinated unless your going for some sort of two tone design.

In my opinion bidets look best when they not only match the toilet in color but also in style. Most manufacturers will offer a few bidets that match one of their toilet lines. Matching your colors and style make for a much more harmonious design. The toilet and Bidet are meant to be used together so it feels right for them to match as closely as possible.

They should also be place pretty close together for practical purposes. After you use the toilet, most people don’t want to be walking around the bathroom without cleaning up first. Generally we install our right next to the toilet so you can just scoot over without even having to stand all the way up. It’s more practical and convenient. It also saves quite a bit of space.

Washlet electronic bidet toilet seats can be installed on any existing toilet.
Washlet electronic bidet toilet seats can be installed on any existing toilet.

What Is A Bidet Toilet Seat? A.K.A. A Washlet?

A bidet toilet seat, also known as a washlet, is an electronic toilet seat that squirts water like a bidet. They’re installed on an existing toilet in place of the old toilet seat. You use the bidet seat while sitting on the toilet, so there’s no need to get up and sit on a different basin. These kinds of bidets are controlled by electronics and a controller and not a faucet.

A spray nozzle extends beneath you to shoot water and then then retract back inside the seat when your done.

Some electronic bidet toilet seats even have water heaters, so you can enjoy warm water. I highly recommend this because squirting ice cold water onto your butt isn’t fun.

Plus, some modern bidets have additional features like a heated seat, night light, deodorizers, and warm air dryers.

These washlet toilet seat bidets aren’t as good as having an actual bidet, however, you can easily add them to your existing toilet without requiring a remodel or any plumbing. Adding an actual bidet to your bathroom can be a lot of work if the rough plumbing hasn’t already been done.

Keep in mind these are electronic. If you don’t have somewhere to plug them in there are battery powered options.

Common Concerns With Bidet Toilet Seats

One of the common complaints with using a bidet toilet seat is cleanliness. Some think the toilet is dirty after they’ve just used it and don’t like the idea of not getting right off. If this is a concern of yours then you should know that the bidet doesn’t come on until after you’ve flushed the toilet.The bidet itself is completely separate from the toilet functions.

Also, your not squirting toilet water at yourself. Toilet seat bidets have their own water supply line, which is separate from the toilet. The water coming from the bidet seat has nothing to do with the water in the toilet.

Some clients don’t like the idea of washing while sitting on the toilet they just used.

All of these concerns are valid and I share them but Bidet toilet seats are a great option if you don’t have a ton of space or don’t plan on remodeling the entire bathroom.

2 In 1 Shower Toilets

A shower toilet combines a bidet and toilet in one product. These are a great option if you want a bidet 2 in 1 toilet that’s complete and not an add on like a bidet toilet seat. Shower toilets are designed as a bidet in toilet in one so you don’t have to add anything to it.

These are offered in a wide range of sizes, styles and designs with some optional features that provide a gentle wash and pleasant comfort.

If you are thinking of using your existing toilet as a bidet but don’t like the idea of the add on bidet toilet seat then a shower toilet is worth considering. It’s as easy to install as a toilet although these are a little heavier because of all the additional features.

Are Bidets Sanitary?

Yes. A bidet is completely separate from the toilet bowl with water that’s fresh and clean. They essentially work the same as washing yourself off in a sink or a tub. Although we still recommend cleaning the bidet as often as you do the toilet. Bidets have been standard in bathrooms around the world for centuries and all those users can’t be wrong. Toilet paper is actually a quite modern invention when compared to a bidet. Paper will never clean quite as well as good old fashioned warm water.

I’ve never seen any research done that even makes the argument that a bidet isn’t sanitary, provided it’s kept clean. I could imagine them getting dirty if you don;t clean them but no more than your shower, sink, tub or toilet. Pretty much anything in the bathroom can become unsanitary if it’s not cleaned regularly.

We do recommend using a separate bidet over the toilet seat or shower models. That’s not to say that those are unsanitary because they generally are, but having a completely separate basin for washing that’s away from the toilet just seams to be a bit cleaner.

Having said that toilet seat bidets and the 2 in 1 units are sanitary if you keep them clean. They both have there own independent water supply so none of the toilet bowl water will spray on you.

I we had to choose the most sanitary option is would definitely be an independent bidet and not a 2 in 1 or bidet seat.

Are Bidets Worth It?

If your asking the question it terms of hygiene or personal use then that’s a tough one to answer because it’s really up to you. I don’t think the whole world is wrong in how much they like using them. You’d have to try it to see the difference but cleaning with fresh water is a much fresher feeling than using paper alone. And reducing all that paper is good for the environment and saves money which are a few added benefits.

If your looking at this from a strictly financial point of view as a user then it’s clear a bidet is worth the money. The money you’ll save on buying all that toilet paper could pay for the unit in just a few years. The average user saves around $150 – $200 per person per year after switching to a bidet so in that sense having one is definitely worth it.

What About Resale Value?

If your asking are bidets worth it in terms of ROI or resale value then things get a little tricky. Installing a bidet in your average bathroom isn’t going to get you more money for the house. And honestly they’re not a selling feature you’d put in a real estate listings. No realtor lists a home as 3500 sq. ft, 4 bed, 3 bath and bidet. However, if your selling a home at the best high end of the market or a particular clientele like Asians, South American or Europeans that expect a bidet in the bathroom, then it’s worth installing one.

As a builder we include them in our high end homes. Generally not in every bathrooms, but in larger bathrooms and the master it makes sense because we have the space. No one has ever not liked having them, even if they don’t use them every day they’re still not a turn off. But if the right buy comes along then we feel like it’s worth having one.

Beautiful Bathrooms With Bidets

The following is a small gallery of beautiful bathrooms that feature a bidet. As you’ll see, it’s easy to work them into even the finest luxury bathroom design.

Rustic master bathroom with wall mounted toilet and bidet with matching double sinks

Rustic master Bathroom With Wall Mounted Bidet

This beautiful master bathroom with rustic style features a wall mounted bidet and matching toilet. These double wall mounted ceramic sinks were also designed to match the style and color of the bidet.

modern bathroom with side by side floor mounted toilet and bidet

Modern Bathroom With Floor Mounted Bidet

This black and white modern bathroom includes a side by side floor mounted bidet with matching toilet.

ultra modern bathroom with matching floor mounted side by side bidet and toilet

Ultra Modern Master Bathroom With Bidet

This ultra modern master bathroom includes side by side matching floor mounted toilet and bidet.

Traditional Bathroom Design With Bidet

If your someone who wants a more traditional master bathroom and has the space for one, including a bidet is a nice option. Generally we recommend they’re installed side by side but this layout works fine too. The dual chrome and white handles are for adjusting the water temperature just like you do a sink.

White ceramic is available to match your toilet and sink finish.

Marble gray and white master bathroom with white porcelain toilet and matching bidet.

Marble Master Bathroom With Bidet

Marble gray and white master bathroom with white porcelain toilet and matching bidet. This side by side design is what we recommend for both practical purposes and looks.

side by side matching modern bidet and toilet in a modern master bathroom.

Modern Bidet

This floor mounted bidet has a modern style. Sid by side installation with matching white toilet.

matching modern side by side toilet and bidet with electronic wall switch

Modern Wall Mounted Bidet

This modern bidet and toilet are matching wall mounted units. The advantage of using a wall mount is that you can easily adjust the height as needed. Some even say it makes the room feel larger because you can see the flooring underneath. The shadows created by a wall mounted bidet and toilet are very different from floor mounted units.

This bidet design features an electronic wall switch that controls water pressure and temperature.

wall mounted bidet with electronic wall switch that controls both temperature and pressure

White Wall Mounted Electronic Bidet

This white wall mounted bidet includes a control switch that adjusts both water pressure and temperature.

matching side by side white ceramic floor mounted toilet and bidet

Matching Modern Bidet & Toilet

This matching side by side set is floor mounted and modern which is great for the bathrooms design.

matching white cermaic floor mounted side by side toilet and bidet with electronic controls

Matching Bidet & Toilet

Here we see another very nice matching side by floor mounted side set.

wall mounted white ceramic bidet with electronic control mounted high up on the wall

High Wall Mounted Electronic Bidet

Wall mounted bidets can have an option electronic control panel for adjusting water pressure and temperature. They’re also quite stylish and work with pretty much any bathroom style. The heights on these units are adjustable which can be a big plus. This unit has been installed quite high which can be helpful if your on the tall side.

side by side matching toilet and bidet wall mounted at standard height

Low Wall Mounted Electronic Bidet

Here we see a matching set of side by side wall mounted bidet and toilet that have been installed at the standard bowl height.

side by side floor mounted bidet and toilet exactly matching

Matching Bidet & Toilet

If your someone who wants their bidet and toilet to match then there’s options out there for you. This side by side floor mounted set looks exactly the same except the bidet is missing a bowl.

floor mounted side by side bidet and toilet combination

Matching Floor Mounted Bidet & Toilet

This matching bidet and toilet set are a close match but not exact. There are more of these on the market then there are exact matches. The internals of the toilet compared with a bidet are different so in some designs you can see some of the extra plumbing.

side by side wall mounted toilet and bidet set

Wall Mounted Side By Side Bidet & Toilet

If your like me and want a uniform look then these side by side matching set may interest you. I like the wall mount because seeing the floor beneath is a cleaner look and casts less shadows. And I like being able to exactly match the toilet and bidet which is easier to do with a wall mount.

matching square bidet and toilet set wall mounted with electronic controls

Square Bidet & Toilet Set

Did you know you can get both a bidet and toilet in a matching square shape. It’s a really cool, modern look. If you’ve never used a toilet in this shape before then let me warn you, it does feel a little weird at first. Most bowls have an elongated shape to work because it feels more natural when you sit down. This shapes not as natural but they look great. Especially in a modern bathroom.

Summary: What Is A Bidet? And Should You Start Using One?

Are you considering installing a bidet in your next bathroom remodel but aren’t really sure what they are or how to use them.

What could clean you better than fresh, clear water? Anyone who values good hygiene and cleanliness should consider installing a bidet in their bathroom. These stylish basins are a standard round the world but for some reason they are just now catching on in the US. They come in a few different designs and all sorts of styles so there’s sure to be something that’ll work for your bathroom. Some models are attached directly to the wall, some sit on the floor and others are attached directly onto your existing toilet.

As a trendsetter in modern bathroom design we recommend considering a high quality bidet in your next bathroom design. With so many installation types there’s sure to be something that’ll work for your bathroom layout. And with all the toilet paper hoarding that’s been going on during the Corona Virus outbreak, having a bidet will come in handy because you have to worry about needing all that paper.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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