Bidet Pros and Cons

Bidet Pros and Cons: Benefits and Disadvantages Explained

A bidet allows you to clean yourself with water after using the toilet and eliminates the need for toilet tissue. Bidets come in various types, and they can be integrated or standalone units. What do you need to know if you’re interested in investing in a bidet? 

Bidets can be more hygienic, are better for the environment, and may help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. On the other hand, drawbacks include a high upfront cost and increased vaginal infections. Bidets also typically take up more space than regular toilets. 

Read on for more details about bidet pros and cons and how to use one correctly to avoid experiencing some of its drawbacks.

The Pros of a Bidet in a Bathroom

You can enjoy many bidet benefits when installing one in your bathroom. A bidet’s main benefits include the following: 

Using a Bidet Is More Hygienic

In the Western world, it’s common to use toilet paper or wipes after using the toilet. However, this cleaning method is not as effective as washing yourself with water after using the toilet. 

As a dry cleaning method, toilet paper only removes visible urine and fecal matter and won’t remove tiny particles. 

Using a bidet allows you to clean yourself with water and is more effective at removing any remaining fecal matter or urine. 

Bidets Can Help Relieve Constipation

If you have constipation, using a bidet may help relieve the condition. Before using the toilet, you can use the bidet’s gentle yet firm water stream to help stimulate the nerves around your anus. 

This helps relax the tissue in the anal area, making passing a bowel movement easier. 

Bidets can be particularly useful for pregnant women who often struggle with constipation. Instead of resorting to laxatives, a bidet can be as effective in many cases. 

Bidets Can Help Avoid Skin Irritation

Modern and high-quality toilet paper is usually soft and gentle on the skin. However, if you have sensitive skin and use the toilet often, it can irritate the delicate area around your anus and genitals. 

Using toilet paper can also cause itching in this area. Since toilet tissue doesn’t remove fecal matter completely, it can make the skin feel itchy. 

Using a bidet can help prevent skin irritation by using water instead of toilet paper for a more thorough clean. 

Bidets May Prevent Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen and red veins in the anus, which can cause a burning sensation, itchiness, and bleeding. They can develop from straining during bowel movements, especially if you have constipation.

A bidet’s gentle and firm water pressure after passing a bowel movement can increase blood flow to the anal area, help relieve pressure, and help prevent hemorrhoids. According to a study published in the European Journal of Public Health, a jet of warm water can reduce anal resting pressure by up to 14 mmHg.

If you currently have hemorrhoids, the bidet water can prevent the problem from worsening and help soothe the nerve endings.

Bidets Are Kid-Friendly

Installing a bidet in your home can make it easier for your kids to thoroughly clean themselves without you constantly having to supervise them. This is because all they have to do is remain seated on the toilet after using it, and the bidet’s water stream will wash away any waste matter, leaving them to only wipe themselves dry.

Moreover, using jets to clean themselves can make it fun for kids to learn about using the bidet and ensure that they always maintain proper personal hygiene after using the toilet.

Bidets Are Suitable for the Elderly and Physically Challenged 

Older adults sometimes lose the balance, flexibility, and strength needed to safely and effectively use the toilet. On average, they also often use the toilet more than adults. 

Bending over and stretching their hands to wipe themselves after using the toilet can be challenging for an elderly or physically-challenged person. 

Instead of relying on a caregiver or home care aide to help them use the bathroom, a bidet can help them retain a sense of dignity and independence. 

A study examining people 75 years old and older living in a nursing home revealed that wash-and-dry toilets can improve the bathroom experience.

Bidets Are Better for the Environment

If you’re concerned about the effects on the environment of cutting down trees to manufacture toilet paper, using a bidet is an excellent alternative. By using a bidet to clean yourself after visiting the bathroom, you can reduce the need for toilet paper, and in turn, the number of trees cut down.

That said, you may not be able to eliminate the use of toilet paper completely because you’ll still need some to dry yourself. However, it will still be far less than you’d use with a regular toilet. 

Considering that the average person uses 1 toilet paper roll every 3 to 4 days, this equates to 384 trees in a lifetime. 

If you want to eliminate toilet paper completely, you could use a small towel or cloth to dry yourself after using the bidet

Bidets Have Fewer Clogs

One of the best benefits of using a bidet is not having your toilet pipes clogged so frequently. Toilet paper is the leading cause of bathroom clogging; eliminating it can prevent it.

You may still need to use some paper to dry yourself after using the bidet, but it will likely not be enough to cause a plumbing issue. 

Bidets Often Come With a Warranty

Bidets are more complex than regular toilets and are more likely to come with a warranty than regular toilets. Many bidet models come with a 1 to 5-year warranty, giving you peace of mind. 

For example, Brondell seats have a 3-year limited warranty that covers all parts and labor in the first year of owning it, while Bio Bidet seats come with a full 5-year warranty. 

That said, new bidets rarely have issues, but with time things may go wrong, which is where the warranty can come in handy.

A Bidet Can Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Bidets haven’t always been popular, but people started noticing them more during the Coronavirus pandemic when many countries experienced a toilet paper shortage in grocery stores. 

Since people have also started realizing how hygienic bidets can be, their popularity has increased further. This makes installing a bidet in your bathroom a fantastic investment. 

Should you decide to sell your house, it may increase its resale value. 

You may consider a bidet seat if you’re on a budget and cannot afford to install a complete bidet unit. These are less costly than standalone units and work just as effectively. 

The Cons of a Bidet in a Bathroom

Owning a bidet offers multiple benefits, as we’ve seen above. However, before investing in one, it’s worth considering the bidet disadvantages:

Bidets May Cause Vaginal Infections 

For females, continuously washing the genitals with warm water can affect the vagina’s healthy bacterial balance, known as microflora. When this bacterial balance is altered, you may have an increased risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis (BV), which can cause abnormal discharge, itchiness, and bad odor. 

BV can also increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea. According to a 2007-2014 study, bidet usage altered the vaginal microflora of 43% of females living in India, Japan, and Korea.

Also, in extremely rare cases, decreased microflora may cause preterm birth in pregnant women. After discussing the issue with your doctor, it may be best to avoid using warm water from a bidet if you are pregnant.

If you don’t keep your bidet clean and sanitized, it can collect bacteria, especially in shared toilets. According to a study by a university hospital in Japan, it was discovered that out of the 292 toilet seats tested, 254 warm-water bidet nozzles were contaminated with a wide range of bacteria. 

These bacteria can cause infections (such as UTIs) when you sit on the bidet. This is why it’s advisable for women to avoid bidets in public toilets and only use them at home or in reputable hotels where they are always thoroughly clean.

Using a Bidet Incorrectly May Cause Burns

Most modern bidets allow you to select the water temperature. This makes it more comfortable to use them. 

Using a budget is usually a very safe experience. However, if you accidentally select a water temperature that’s too hot, you may accidentally burn yourself. To prevent this, it’s best to open the water supply slowly to determine whether it’s too hot. You should also read its manual to get the proper settings and avoid accidents.

May Cause Fecal Incontinence 

In extremely rare cases, excessive use of bidets can potentially cause fecal incontinence, a condition where you cannot control your bowel movements. 

The bidet can create this situation by over-relaxing your anal muscles so your sphincter loosens up and cannot stop the stool from leaking out. However, this usually only happens if you’ve been using a bidet for several decades and your anal muscles are weak. 

Another rare condition caused by prolonged use of bidets is when the water eliminates the sebum around the anus, making the skin dry and itchy. 

Standalone Bidets Can Take Up More Space

Standalone bidets require you a large space for installation and can take up more room than a regular toilet. If you have a small bathroom, you may not be able to install one of these units. Standalone bidets also require additional plumbing because they do not deal with solid waste like a toilet.

You’ll need to install 2 shut-off valves for sending cold and hot water to the bidet, a small drain pipe of 1-1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in the wall or floor, and a P-trap or S-trap of the same size to stop the unpleasant odors from the septic system from flowing back into the bathroom.

That said, standalone bidets have become obsolete in most cases as you can simply purchase a bidet toilet seat that replaces your existing toilet seat and gives you all of the features of a bidet right on your toilet without the need for a traditional bidet.

Bidets Have Higher Upfront Costs

While you can find inexpensive bidet models on the market, such as bidet attachments, handheld units, and non-electric seats, installing a permanent bidet typically has a higher upfront cost than a regular toilet. 

Standalone bidets can cost between $300 and $400, but because their installation requires extra plumbing, the price can be much higher. 

Electric bidet seats can cost between $200-$1200, depending on your desired features. Entry-level units are at the lower end of this scale, while a mid-range one with an air dryer can set you back at least $350. If you want a bidet with an instant water heater, you can expect to pay over $600.

Some bidets, specifically bidet-toilet units, can set you back $8000 or more due to the state-of-the-art features. Such features include music, a WiFi connection, and an air dryer. 

You Risk Wetting Your Clothes if You’re Not Careful

You must be careful when using handheld and standalone bidets because it’s easy to spray yourself with water. 

Since you can use two ways to clean yourself with a handheld bidet, always use the one you’re more comfortable with to prevent this from happening. Also, consider setting the water pressure to a medium level to stop the water from splashing.

For freestanding models, if you need to straddle it while facing the taps to clean yourself, take off your trousers or raise up your dress to avoid getting them wet.

Bidets May Increase Your Water Bill

Although using bidets can save water because you don’t need as much toilet paper (which requires water in the manufacturing process), it can still increase your water consumption. 

You may see only a slight increase in the water bill if you have an electric bidet, which is efficient as it allows you to regulate the amount of water you use. However, if you have a non-electric one, such as a handheld one whose water output depends on your home’s water pressure, you’ll likely use more water than necessary.

Besides that, if you’re among the users that prefer a strong pressure and a large flow, your water consumption will be higher than those who use medium pressure.

Some Bidet Models Aren’t Rental-Property Friendly

The inability to install a unit of choice in your rental home is one of the bidet disadvantages. Standalones, bidet-toilet combos, and some handheld sprayers can require you to alter the plumbing in your home, something your landlord may not allow.

If you want a bidet, you may be forced to get one you don’t like or not install one at all. Handheld bidets are ideal for those who are renting their property, and cannot install a permanent fixture. 

Bidets Can be Challenging to Use Initially

If you have never used a bidet, you may find it difficult to use at first, especially if it’s a smart one like the ones in Japan. These require you to set the temperature and pressure before usage. As a result, you need to know the correct settings to avoid making wrong adjustments that can get you soaked or scalded.

For standalone bidets, you may wonder how to straddle them properly, whereas, for the handheld ones, you may need to learn how to use them without getting wet.

However, you can easily practice using one in the comfort of your home following the advice provided below.

Electric Bidets Won’t Work During a Power Outage

If you own an electric integrated bidet toilet, it won’t work when there’s a power outage. This can be inconvenient, especially if you’ve become accustomed to cleaning yourself with a bidet after using the toilet.

Some bidet functions, such as the rear and frontal wash, will work without electricity, since they have electric and non-electric features. However, enjoying a heated seat or air drying won’t be possible. Moreover, the cold water from the bidet may shock and discomfort you.

Electric Bidets Can Sometimes Be Safety Hazards

Electric bidets must be plugged into an electrical outlet to work in an area that is exposed to water, making them susceptible to electric shock in rare cases. When installing your bidet, you need to have a professional fix a GFCI outlet in your bathroom if you don’t already have one to limit any electrical hazards.

However, the risk is low because these electric bidets have several in-built failsafe mechanisms that can prevent an accident from taking place. Regardless, you should monitor your kids while they are in the toilet to stop them from playing with this electrical outlet.

Non-Electric Bidets Can Be Uncomfortable

The cold jet from a non-electric bidet or one that doesn’t use warm water can make you feel cold when you use it. This is typical in a cold climate since the water temperature depends on the weather conditions in your area. 

This is why it’s best to install these bidets in warm areas where the water will stay cool all year round. 

Bidets Don’t Always Eliminate Toilet Paper Usage

Opting to clean yourself with a bidet does not ensure that you will stop using toilet paper. You may still need to use tissue paper to dry yourself if the bidet lacks the air drying feature or if you’re rather in a hurry to wait for the dryer to do its job. 

So if you’re eco-conscious or want to save money on toilet paper, you may be disappointed about this. However, the amount of paper you will use will be less than the one you used before switching to bidet usage.

Visitors May Not Like The Bidet

Some of your houseguests may not find using a bidet appealing because they are used to cleaning themselves with toilet paper. They may find the bidets disgusting or are embarrassed to learn how to use it. Therefore, it may make them uncomfortable, and yet, one of the main qualities of a good host is to make guests feel at home.

To try and lessen their dislike, you should install an easy-to-use bidet seat and ensure that it’s kept clean at all times. Besides that, you should always place toilet paper in your bathroom when you’re hosting visitors.

How To Use a Bidet 

Since there are various kinds of bidets, I’ll explain how to use the standalone seats and the cost-effective handheld ones because they’re tricky to use. Smart built-in toilet bidets are relatively easy to use because they automatically dispense water after you use the toilet. 

Here are the steps to follow:

Standalone Bidets

A standalone bidet is a unit that is installed separately from the toilet. It may be placed on the floor or installed hanging from a wall. Standalone bidets are in the shape of a bowl that you sit on for a wash. 

If you have a new standalone bidet, here’s how to use it: 

1. Move From the Toilet to the Bidet

Standalone bidets require you to use a regular toilet and then, after using it, walk to the bidet to clean yourself. If you have a standalone bidet, it is likely conveniently close to your toilet to make the cleaning process easier and faster. 

If you’re using a standalone bidet, it is advisable to first wipe yourself with toilet paper while you’re on the toilet. Cover the toilet seat, flash and move to the bidet.

2. Straddle and Sit Facing Forward or Backwards

The direction you face will depend on which body area you want to clean. If you want to clean the anal area, sit facing forward with the tap or water holes behind you. If you want to clean your genitals, straddle the bowl facing the tap. 

You may have to remove your trousers to comfortably sit in that way and avoid getting wet.

3. Wash Yourself

If the bidet has a tap, open it and use the water to clean yourself. However, if it has water holes or a vertical spray nozzle, slowly open the jets to prevent water from splashing everywhere before cleaning yourself. 

Pat yourself dry with toilet paper or a small wash towel that you should place in a laundry basket after use. Also, you need to ensure the bowl is clean before leaving the bathroom. This will make it more pleasant for other bidet users in your building. 

To visually understand how to use a standalone bidet, here’s a video from qkatie:

Electric Bidet Seats

Electric bidet seats, such as the Toto Washlet, are built on the toilet itself. Unlike standalone bidets, electric bidet seats exist as a single unit with a toilet, giving you the ability to control a stream of warm water for washing yourself.

Here’s what to do if you have an electric bidet seat: 

  1. After easing yourself down, press the wash button for the body part you want to clean. The button is normally on the control panel attached to your seat or wall t. The water will take a short while to come out because it’s still heating up.
  2. Adjust the spray when the bidet begins jetting out water to allow it to hit the right spot. You can fine-tune the water temperature and pressure to comfortable settings and experiment before using the toilet to determine what suits you best – a strong or softer spray.
  3. Press the Stop button when you’re clean. The nozzle will self-clean itself and retract into the seat.
  4. If your bidet seat has a warm air dryer, you should press the Dry button. This process can take a while, so if you’re in a hurry, you should use toilet paper or a towel to pat yourself dry. 

Handheld Bidet Sprayers

Below is how to use a handheld bidet sprayer:

  1. When sitting on the toilet, remove the sprayer from the hook or holder on the wall.
  2. Open the water valve to allow the water to flow to the sprayer.
  3. Move the bidet hose into the toilet behind your back or between your legs, depending on what you are comfortable with and prefer. However, it’s easier to clean both the genitals and the bottom from the front, which is why most women like this technique.
  4. Gently press the nozzle trigger and position the sprayer at an angle to enable it to effectively clean yourself. Doing that can prevent water from splashing back onto your body from the toilet, which may cause infections.
  5. Release the trigger when you’re done, and place the bidet sprayer back in the hook.
  6. Shut off the T-valve after using the freestanding bidet. This helps prevent a leaky attachment.
  7. Dry off with toilet paper or a small towel and dispose of it accordingly.

Final Thoughts

A bidet can improve your personal hygiene by allowing you to thoroughly clean yourself after using the toilet.

However, before investing in one, you should consider all the bidet pros and cons to decide whether it’s suitable for you.

Consider the various bidet models on the market and choose one that will work best in your bathroom. This is because some of these bidets, such as the freestanding one, require you to have enough space to install it, and the non-electric ones are suited for warm areas.

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