Bidets are becoming increasingly popular in homes here in the States, but they’ve been used in other parts of the world for centuries. These devices are much more hygienic, and many different models have been developed over time.
Personally in my opinion, there’s no better option that a bidet. It’s simply a cleaner, simpler option when using the restroom. Many people seem to agree, as there’s an entire market just for bidets and their accessories.
If you want to buy one and install it yourself, it is essential to know what your options are first. In this bidet guide, you’ll find an overview of the differences of various bidets, as well as the installation instructions for the three most common types of bidet.
- What is a Bidet?
- Handheld Bidet Installation
- Attachment Bidet Installation
- Toilet Seat Bidet Installation
- Stay Comfortable and Clean
What is a Bidet?
It’s a fair question.
In simple terms, bidets are fixtures that use water streams to clean you after using the bathroom. The idea has been around since the 17th century, starting with a French manually operated hand pump.
Today, modern bidets can either spray water automatically or by hand. Thanks to the advances in technology, hand pumps are practically obsolete.
Many parts of the world have adopted the use of bidets:
- South America
- Asia, particularly Southeast Asia and Japan
- Western Europe
- Certain Eastern European countries
Seeing how widespread these systems are now, it’s clear how many countries consider them practical and indispensable components in the modern bathroom.
As mentioned, we’ve researched and compiled information based on three styles of bidet: handheld bidets, attachment bidets, and toilet seat bidets. There are other variations like on smart toilets, portable bidets, or standalone models. But those don’t necessarily have the installation needs that these three do, so we’ll focus on those in this guide.
Bidets are unisex fixtures, with some versions even offering a “feminine” wash mode. As a hands-free option for cleaning yourself after going to the bathroom, they’re gaining more acceptance in America. Toilet paper can often be irritating and impractical, while bidet water pressure is adjustable to your comfort.
These days, bidets are more accessible and affordable. They can function efficiently for years, and you can significantly reduce your toilet paper usage. Instead of buying toilet paper in bulk, you’ll only see a slight increase in your water bill.
With the exception of very high end toilets that have a bidet built-in, bidets are also entirely replaceable. So if a unit becomes defective, you can simply purchase another one to take its place.
Most bidets today can even be installed in your bathroom without the need for a plumber’s assistance. They operate on your toilet’s water supply, and no additional plumbing or renovation is needed to supply water to the bidet.
Handheld Bidet Installation
These bidets are extremely common in Southeast Asia, where they have been used for many years. Most tourists love them for the convenience and hygiene they provide. In addition, they don’t require any electricity to run, operating on water pressure alone.
If you’re buying a handheld bidet that connects straight to the toilet tank, you’ll likely have an easy job. However, installing a model that feeds from the pipes is also possible. The first option can be done at home by yourself, whereas the second requires extensive plumbing knowledge.
Handheld bidets that feed water from the toilet tank’s source are easy to install. You should find all the components you need in the package.
Here, we’ll focus on the first option: connecting the handheld bidet straight to the toilet tank itself.
- Before you install the handheld bidet, consider where to attach the sprayer.
- After turning off the water supply, detach the flexible hose that feeds water to the toilet tank.
- Drain the hose of water.
- Flush the water out of the tank.
- Attach a bidet T-valve to the tank’s base.
- Attach the water supply hose to the bottom of the T-valve.
- At the designated end of the valve, attach the flexible bidet hose.
- Screw the bidet’s sprayer head and any required parts onto the free end of the hose.
- Place a holster clip on the toilet tank edge or screw a holster mount onto the bathroom wall.
- Turn on the water and test if everything works as intended.
This type of sprayer tends to have two switches, one for controlling the flow of water into the sprayer head, the other for activating the sprayer itself. You can adjust the water pressure using the first switch, turning it slowly until you find an acceptable level. The activation switch controls how strong the stream of water gets, to an extent.
As you’ll be using the sprayer head manually, it might take some practice before getting used to the handheld bidet. This is especially true if you have never used one before. I would recommend setting the water pressure to low before “officially” using it. Otherwise you may spray water all over yourself.
Handheld Bidet Advantages
From comfort to environmental friendliness, this type of bidet boasts several advantages. Here’s why the handheld bidet is so popular:
A More Thorough Clean
Compared to using toilet paper, a handheld bidet offers a thorough cleanse and none of the unpleasant stains often associated with toilet paper.
Your Hands Stay Clean
The spray head won’t contact your skin as you clean yourself. This isn’t the case with the paper. If you’re not keen on using your hands, you’ll appreciate the hygienic element of the bidet.
Handheld Bidets Don’t Pollute The Environment
Quite simply, a bidet uses less water and puts less strain on the plumbing system. In addition, if more people used bidets, toilet paper usage would also drop considerably. All of which will benefit the environment.
You Can Avoid Potential Sewage Blockages
Asian plumbing tends to employ thinner pipes, and the lack of toilet paper in comparison to America is mainly due to how popular handheld bidets have become.
As highlighted above, your toilet paper expenditure will be significantly reduced after switching to a bidet, thus saving you money in the long run.
Attachment Bidet Installation
Attachment bidets are found in Asian countries as well, particularly Japan. They’re more sophisticated, and many of the ones we tried use electricity. However, compared to handheld bidets and bidet toilet seats, these occupy the middle of the spectrum of space required.
Standard attachment bidets also feed water from the toilet tank’s water supply. The package includes a T-valve, arguably the most crucial part of the setup. Without it, the bidet won’t be able to access any water to function.
These are the steps for installing an attachment bidet:
- Turn off the water supply behind the toilet tank.
- Remove any water left in the hose.
- Flush until the tank is empty.
- Attach the T-valve to the toilet tank.
- Connect the original water supply hose to the bottom end of the T-valve.
- Connect the bidet’s flexible hose to the T-valve’s remaining end.
- Remove the toilet seat.
- Attach the hose to the attachment bidet.
- Align the attachment bidet with the toilet bowl.
- After securing it, replace the toilet seat.
- Test the bidet.
In the case of models with hot water functionality, you’ll have to connect it to the hot water source as well. If your model has a heater, it will need to connect to an electrical port. The instructions above are for the essential attachment bidet, omitting these extra features.
Compared to the handheld bidet, the attachment bidet is just as easy to operate. It uses similar knobs and switches, only you can’t aim the water stream manually. The controls are situated to the side of the toilet bowl, typically at the left side for right-handed users to operate when sitting down.
Some attachment bidets have the aforementioned feminine mode. This spraying mode can be used instead of the standard stream of water if required.
Attachment Bidet Advantages
These are some of the advantages associated with an attachment bidet.
When you turn the bidet on, the water will start streaming immediately. The spray has a fixed position, meaning you need only sit down and let the water cleanse you.
Cleaning yourself is as easy as turning a knob and then turning it off when you’ve finished. There is no risk of dirtying your hands in the process.
The water from attachment bidets is a narrow and focused stream, which effectively removes all debris. However, you’ll have to adjust the stream carefully, as it can be too powerful on a higher setting.
Can Offer Hot Water
Some models provide warm water, which is especially welcome in the winter months. However, a standard bidet won’t provide warm water without being linked to a heater. Some attachment bidets even have instant heating capabilities.
For those who enjoy a warmer stream, this is the best choice. But, of course, bidets with heating capabilities will require access to a power outlet.
No Modification Needed
Unlike toilet seat bidets, you can keep the original toilet seat. Instead, the attachment bidet can stay in place without interfering with your original hardware.
Like the other models, attachment bidets don’t use much water. This makes them a valuable investment that helps you save money.
Protect the Environment
Reduced toilet paper usage can make water treatment much easier, as water treatment facilities won’t have as much trouble filtering the garbage from the water. In addition, this will reduce the number of trees cut down for toilet paper manufacturing, which consumes significant resources.
Overall, you’ll find the attachment bidet a welcome addition to your bathroom.
Toilet Seat Bidet Installation
This is the most complex variation of the three bidets we cover here. It often comes with features the others don’t have, such as toilet seat warming, functions that would, of course, require access to an electrical port.
These are commonly found in hotels or even in public toilets in Japan (noticing a pattern here yet?). Other than being spotlessly clean, Japanese bathrooms are often equipped with all types of bidets. Due to these decked-out bidets being installed in public locations all around the country, they’ve become popular in Japanese homes too.
During the cold Japanese winters, the seat-warming feature is particularly welcome.
Today, anyone can install a toilet seat bidet at home, though access to electricity is required if you want to use heating features.
Below are the steps for installing a toilet seat bidet:
- First, shut off the water supply.
- Next, remove any water inside the hose.
- Flush until the toilet tank is empty.
- Use tools to remove the toilet seat, as you won’t need it anymore.
- Mount the bidet toilet seat and secure it.
- Attach a T-valve to the underside of the toilet tank.
- Connect the water source to the bottom of the valve.
- From the middle valve, link the new hose to the bidet.
- Turn the water back on and test it.
If you’re using a bidet toilet seat with seat-warming or heater features, you’ll have to connect it to a power outlet. Some models even have a night light to guide you when answering nature’s call.
The outlets must be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter, which some older homes may not have. However, these outlets are much safer than standard ones and are suitable for powering toilet seat bidets.
Toilet Seat Bidet Advantages
These advantages may convince you to purchase a toilet seat bidet.
Models meant to be used in cold weather will have a seat heater, instant water heater, or both. The elderly or infirm will find this particularly welcome, enhancing their comfort throughout the year.
A night light dramatically improves visibility, especially if you don’t turn the lights on in the hallway. The light is mounted on the bidet and can help you use the controls in the dark. As you should always be able to see in your surroundings, toilet seat bidets are a great safety feature and give additional peace of mind.
Even though you can have a separate night light in the bathroom, having everything in one device can save power.
Toilet seat bidets are like glorified attachment bidets, releasing a steady stream of water. This stream can do a much better job than toilet paper, and it’s not abrasive if you use the proper water pressure. What’s more, you don’t have to use your hands beyond adjusting the knobs.
Reduce Chances of Clogging
Using too much toilet paper can result in clogged pipes, but bidets eliminate the problem almost entirely. You might only use a few pieces to dry yourself off with, which usually won’t cause any issues with the plumbing. If your house’s plumbing is narrow, a bidet is a great idea.
Save the Environment
Water treatment plants will filter used toilet paper without an issue, but it’s not recyclable. If more people worldwide used bidets over toilet paper, fewer trees would be used for unrecyclable material. The environment will thank us in the long run.
How Should I Dry Off After Using a Bidet?
The best way to dry off after using a bidet is to use toilet paper. It’s a hygienic and safe option, as you’ll only use it once. Another option is to use a towel, though that isn’t the best choice because germs can accumulate.
On the other hand, specific bidet models come with blow dryers. These make drying off even easier, though they’re not as common. The main reason being, the expense associated with fully-featured bidets. This is often a feature of intelligent toilets, which generally start in the mid four figures.
After drying off using any of the options above, you can use a blow dryer or towel after washing your hands.
How Can I Make My Bidet Water Warmer?
It can depend on the type of heating system your bidet employs. For example, if you’re using a water tank heater, the only way is to wait for the water to warm up before using it.
Other bidets use instant water heaters. These heat the water faster. You can even adjust the temperature if you like, as the bidet has controls for this purpose.
A third bidet heating variant is the hybrid heater. Combining the two types above, it provides a comfortable and instant source of warm water. You can also adjust the temperature through the controls if there are buttons for it.
However, having warmer water for a long time isn’t possible. Only instant water heaters can provide you with unlimited warm water. The others offer 30 to 45 seconds of heated water on average. But from what I’ve experienced, this is more than enough time.
How Much Water Does a Bidet Use?
Standard bidets use around 1/8 of a gallon of water every time you use it. So it’s much less than flushing your toilet, which consumes up to four gallons. However, depending on how much you use, the amount will vary, especially with handheld bidets.
Stay Comfortable and Clean
I think it will take more time before American households commonly adopt bidets, but they’re gaining in popularity all the time. Out of the models and variations we used/tested, we would recommend installing a toilet seat bidet, especially if you have enough space. Their features are excellent, especially during the wintertime.
Thankfully, as bidets become more widespread, consumers can purchase one and install it without professional help. As a result, the packages should have everything you need, and the process doesn’t take very long. After trying one, you’ll find out why many countries adopted them.