The bidet. While it's not a common fixture in American households, the term itself (pronounced bi-DAY) is becoming more familiar. They've been successfully and happily used for hundreds of years in Europe and Asia and have just started to gain popularity in the United States.
What is it?
It's a bit delicate, but here it goes.
Merriam-Webster defines a bidet as "a bathroom fixture used especially for bathing the external genitals and the anal region." No solids are to be deposited in this plumbing fixture that incorporates a washing basin, hot and cold bathroom faucet and sprayer. Comfort and the best possible personal hygiene are the ideas behind the designs of these fixtures. In addition to cleaning the parts we normally wipe with soft, perfumed toilet paper (which, come on, it's still paper) with a mild and comforting stream of warm water, bidets have medical benefits. Use of a bidet can reduce soreness after a bout of diarrhea or hemorrhoids, and it may be necessary for post-colorectal or fissure repair. In addition, the use of a bidet by women is widely encouraged during postpartum.
While the bidet has long been an essential part of sophisticated European homes and hotels of London, Paris and Rome (among others), this "fourth fixture" for your bathroom is now gaining popularity in the United States.
The first bidet originated in France, when cavaliers got off their horses and just wanted to bathe, but had little time to do so. It allowed for partial bathing, and soothed the parts of the body that came in close contact with their saddles. Over time, the bidet has evolved into a more personal cleansing method. With the improved sanitation and heightened awareness of personal hygiene over the centuries, so has the technology of bidets progressed.
Choosing a bidet
If you're asked, "What can you match a bidet with," you're response might predictably be the toilet. And why not? They're both plumbing fixtures, they both sit on the ground, and we sit on both of them. But, instead of associating a bidet with a toilet, try doing so with the bathroom sink (or basin). This is a more appropriate linking, since they both have to do more with cleaning than anything else. Think of the bidet in this way, and you'll begin to train your brain to make the right choices. Features of a bidet are a sort of cross between a toilet and a sink. This makes sense when we consider the tasks performed by a bidet. In addition, you'll find bidets have more in common with conventional toilets than not. You'll find bidets have rough-ins of 10, 12 or 14 inches rough-in dimensions are the distance from a finished wall or floor to the center of the waste or supply opening or mounting holes. They can be mounted on the floor or into the wall, and feature round or elongated bowls.
There are features unique to a bidet. Each is equipped with hot and cold handles, a spray and spray control and a pop-up and drain. When purchasing a bidet, you may have to add the handles and plumbing fixtures that connect to the wall (called P-Traps). Choose from one, three or four handles. Additionally, you can even choose your preferred spray pattern: horizontal or vertical. Installing a bidet is quite easy and it doesn't take massive amounts of technical knowledge to do the job correctly. When you're ready to install a bidet, just refer to the manufacturer's instructions. For an idea on what to expect, refer to our article on Installing a Toilet.