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Clearing Up the Top 10 Misconceptions about Bidets

Posted by Steve Scheer on Dec 10th 2021

Top 10 Misconceptions about Bidets Illustration

“Aren’t bidets kind of...weird?”, “Does a bidet really get you clean?”, “Are bidets for women only?”

If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, or are just looking to learn all about bidets, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s natural to have a few—or a lot—of questions when encountering new things. And considering this new thing involves a spray of water in your personal areas, that goes two-fold for bidets.

We don’t know what you’ve heard about bidets. But they’re really simple to use and to install. They are quite comfortable and refreshing, and ensure a clean, healthy well-being. Plus, they let you cut back on toilet paper. And since the toilet paper we’re flushing down the toilet adds up to around 27,000 trees a day, wiping less is a seriously good idea.

Maybe your friend got a new bidet and won’t stop singing its praises. Or maybe you saw one while traveling abroad, leading to more questions than answers.

Whatever got you wondering if a bidet is right for you, here are some of the biggest misconceptions about electronic bidet toilet seats, bidet attachments, hand-held bidets, and travel bidets.

1. “Bidets are weird / I don’t feel comfortable using one.”

Empty toilet paper roll

We can’t exactly prove this one wrong as it’s a feeling, not a fact.

But you should know that people around the world have been using bidets for centuries. They’re a popular bathroom fixture in countries like France, Italy, Portugal, Japan, and South Korea.

You should also know that bidets are becoming more popular in the United States, as well. Toilet paper shortages in 2020 convinced a lot of Americans to try a bidet, and that momentum only continues today.

If you feel a little weird about trying a bidet yourself, consider this question: is there anything wrong with washing your face? How about your hands? Why treat your bathroom hygiene any differently?

Once you get used to your bidet, we doubt you’ll want to go back to just wiping alone. It’s hard to return to a regular toilet seat after experiencing one that’s heated and has clean warm water, and an air-dryer.

Your first bidet experience may be a little awkward and different. But we think it’s a worthy trade-off for better hygiene and fewer trees being cut down for toilet paper.

2. “Bidets are messy."

We get it. If you’ve never experienced the true-clean feeling of washing with a bidet, it makes total sense to wonder, “Am I going to get soaked?

Rest assured, modern bidet seats provide an enjoyable wash while keeping you dry and your bathroom puddle-free.

First off, if you’re imagining an Old-Faithful-like geyser shooting from your toilet, that isn’t at all what using a bidet is like.

Actually, bidets don’t use that much water to keep you sparkling clean. The exact amount of water a bidet needs varies, but on average, your bidet will probably require about 20 ounces of water to get you feeling fresh and brand new. That’s just a few ounces more than a standard bottle of water.

Brondell bidet seats are designed to emit a light, soothing spray that cleans you—and you only. They also make adjusting the spray nozzle positions and water pressure a breeze.

For example, the Swash 1400 includes two self-cleaning stainless steel nozzles that are fully adjustable, so the water only sprays the intended areas. It also comes with a warm air dryer for drying after you “go,” letting you stay comfortable and clean without the worry of leaving with a wet bum.

3. “Bidets are unsanitary."

Think about it—when your hands are dirty, do you wipe them off with a paper towel or do you wash them with water to get clean?

Why would it be any different in the bathroom?

The same goes for when you use the bathroom. Using a bidet instead of toilet paper provides a thorough cleansing that wiping alone cannot. Water is more sanitary than toilet paper because it gently cleans the area instead of just rubbing it with toilet paper. Maybe the misconception that bidets are unsanitary goes back to childhood, since wiping is one of the first lessons of good bathroom hygiene.

So are bidets clean? Of course! In fact, some studies have reported that using a bidet is cleaner than using toilet paper alone.

One study at a nursing home in Maryland found that, after using bidets, many residents felt cleaner and had better hygiene than the control group. Around half of the residents and staff who used bidets reported experiencing a “positive effect on toileting,” while testing showed a decrease of “bacterial content of urine.”

Another question you might have is, do bidets get dirty? This is a totally valid question—after all, we are talking about toilets here.

That said, despite what you might think, bidets are designed to stay clean and hygienic. First off, the nozzles are retractable and protected by a nozzle guard, only coming out to wash once you’re done going. When the nozzles do come out, they actually sit well behind your bottom. Then, they emit an angled spray that sends most of the waste away from the device and safely into the toilet.

Finally, many Brondell bidet seats and attachments have NozzleClean+. This is a self-cleaning feature that gives the nozzles on your bidet a sanitary rinse at the touch of a button. That way, you can have confidence that the water in your bidet is completely safe and clean to wash with.

Yes, in fact, bidets are sanitary. Not only that, but many of ours have features that can freshen up your bathroom and make it a more pleasant place to be. The Swash DR802 bidet toilet seat has an automatic carbon deodorizer to remove unpleasant odors from your toilet bowl, keeping your bathroom smelling nice and clean.

4. “Toilet paper is cheaper than using a bidet."

For many people, the question of bidet versus toilet paper comes down to one thing: are bidets more expensive than using toilet paper?

The answer is, definitely not. Bidets do require an initial investment that’s somewhere between $50-$650. But when you compare that amount to the money you’ll be saving on toilet paper—and possibly on plumbing—it’s an investment worth making.

According to Business Insider, on average, “Americans spend $40 to $70 a year” on toilet paper, and that getting a bidet can save you 75% or more.

Not only that, but toilet paper may have hidden costs that using a bidet might help you avoid. Excessive flushing of toilet paper—especially the thick kind—could cause pipes and septic systems to clog, and trigger an expensive visit from the plumber.

The bottom line: Washing with a bidet means buying fewer rolls of toilet paper. You'll save money, and with every wash, you are helping care for our planet—now that’s something to feel good about.

5. “My bathroom is too small for a bidet."

Illustration of the bidet attachment installed spraying water

To bidet or not to bidet, that is the question. Of course, there was a time when having a bidet meant installing a separate unit in your bathroom.

But thankfully, those days are behind us.

You don’t need extra space in your bathroom or a plumber anymore to enjoy the benefits of a bidet. All you need is a toilet.

If you’re looking for a bidet that doesn’t take up much space, here are three categories of bidets that you should know about.

First, there are bidet toilet seats, which are often powered by electricity. These replace your existing seat, and generally have luxurious comforts, like a heated seat, a remote control, or an automatic deodorizer to remove unwanted scents from your bathroom.

A bidet attachment, on the other hand, takes a more minimalist approach to bathroom hygiene. They clean just as well as other kinds of bidets, though they usually carry fewer features. They install directly under your toilet seat—instead of replacing your original—and they’re usually water-powered, so no need for electricity. That fact makes bidet attachments, like the SimpleSpa Thinline, a great option for anyone whose toilet lacks a nearby electrical outlet.

There are also hand-held bidet sprayers (sometimes known as a Shattaf sprayer) like the CleanSpa Luxury, which mounts either to the wall or the side of your toilet tank.

Finally, since you can’t always count on being close to home when you need to go, there are travel bidets or as they’re sometimes called, portable bidets. These are specifically designed to provide a full, sanitary bidet wash, on the go—just fill the bottle with water, invert, and squeeze. The GoSpa Essential Travel Bidet comes with a discreet carrying bag and a nozzle that can be stored inside the bottle for compact, easy packing. Campers, hikers, and leave-no-trace backpackers love travel bidets as a clean, waste-free alternative to using toilet paper in the great outdoors. But travel bidets are useful in other scenarios as well, whether you’re staying in a hotel, an RV, or using a public restroom.

6. “Bidets are expensive."

At one point they were! But today, we’re living in something of a bidet revolution, making it easy to find the perfect bidet at a price that you like.

If you’re a bidet minimalist who only wants better bathroom hygiene, you are going to love our handheld bidet sprayers. They’re affordable, electricity-free, and easy to install. These sprayers connect simply to your toilet’s cold water supply and mount to the side of your tank or wall, so a refreshing wash is always in reach.

While some users like the control that a handheld sprayer provides, others prefer to just sit down and let the bidet do the cleaning. If you fall into the second group, our bidet attachments might be more of your thing. Like handheld bidets, they’re inexpensive and don’t require electricity. They install underneath your toilet seat and often include enticing extras—like a warm water wash!

If you’re interested in comfy features—like a heated seat and nightlight—our electric bidet toilet seats are the way to go. In addition to a hygienic wash, many of these bidets carry high-tech additions, like Nozzle Clean+, a remote control, and more. The Swash SE400 pairs a stainless steel nozzle with warm water and customizable wash settings for a cleaner, more comfortable bathroom experience.

For a truly spa-like sit-down, you can’t do better than our luxury bidet toilet seats. You’ll get your best bathroom break again and again with a warm air dryer, deodorizer, and dual stainless steel nozzles. Though these bidets cost a bit more than our other models, consider them an investment that you’ll recoup as you save on toilet paper for years to come.

7. “Are bidets for everyone?"

Bidet toilet seat remote control next to the plant

If you are asking yourself this question, consider this: are showers for everyone? How about washing your hands?

Good hygiene is universal, and so are bathroom breaks, which makes bidets a great addition to anyone’s personal hygiene routine. Bidet seats, bidet attachments, and hand-held bidet sprayers are ideal for men, women, children, and the elderly. Whoever you are, using a bidet is more hygienic than wiping alone, leaving you feeling all the way clean and refreshed throughout the day.

Does that mean that men can use bidets, too? Well, since men have to poop just like everyone else, yes. Not only can men wash with a bidet, but they also should. It’s not just perfectly acceptable—it’s gentler, more hygienic, and all-around better than wiping. Plus, men like to save money on toilet paper, just like everyone else, right?

While bidets are for everyone, it’s true that bidets do have some extra benefits for women.

For instance, the front wash setting on our bidets—like the Swash SE600—provide a feminine spray to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), and maintain cleanliness during menstruation.

Bidets may provide other health benefits too, especially for those with chronic gastro-inflammatory afflictions, like Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Flareups from these conditions can make bowel movements more frequent, and all of that wiping can wreak havoc on tissue and skin. On the other hand, the spray of a bidet is gentle and soothing, causing less irritation to the skin and minimizing the damage that could be caused by toilet paper and wipes.

So are bidets for everyone? Since we all have to “go,” bidet seats, attachments, and hand-held sprayers are an ideal choice for anyone who wants better bathroom hygiene.

8. “Shouldn’t I use soap in the bidet water?"

The misconception about the need for soap to properly clean yourself is false.

This may come as a surprise as using soap is the go-to method for keeping our hands and bodies clean.

But when it comes to “down there,” using soaps—especially ones with perfume or antiseptics—can have a variety of negative consequences for both men and women.

Washing with harsh soaps after you go to the bathroom is really not good for you, and can cause a range of unpleasant health issues, like urinary tract infections (UTIs), anal fissures, inflammation, and more.

The medically-recommended way to clean your personal areas is warm water—that’s where bidets come in. Brondell bidet toilet seats provide a warm wash of gently aerated water, delivering a softer, more effective wash without the need for soap.

9. “Don’t you need a plumber to install a bidet?"

illustration of the bidet toilet seat installed from a side profile

Nothing against plumbers, those wonderfully handy folks who keep our kitchens and bathrooms working properly.

But when it comes to installing our bidets, this is something you can do all on your own. You won’t need a plumber to run a pipe through the walls of your bathroom or any kind of special hookups—most everything you’ll need for installation comes with your bidet.

For example, our Swash electronic bidet seats use the existing water connection on your toilet tank. Most likely, you’ll be able to connect your bidet in under 30 minutes, whether you’re a DIY pro or not.

Other than that, all you need to do is connect the bidet’s power cord to a standard GFCI outlet. These kinds of outlets are designed to reduce the risk of electric shock in wet areas—like a bathroom—so it’s important to make sure that you’re using one to power your electric bidet.

If you’re not sure whether you have a GFCI outlet in your bathroom, they’re easy to spot. Just look at your bathroom outlet, and see if it has a “test” and “reset” button, and if it has those, then it’s a safe power source for your bidet.

Don’t have power? Consider an EcoSeat or a bidet attachment. These rely on water pressure alone, allowing you to turn your toilet into a high-quality bidet without electricity.

10. “Isn’t using more water bad for the environment?"

Water is one of our planet’s most valuable resources. So how could using more of it with a bidet actually be good for the environment?

It’s true that using a bidet requires a bit more water than wiping with toilet paper alone. But your bidet’s water usage is nothing compared to the environmental impact of toilet paper.

According to Business Insider, the refreshing wash of a bidet comes at a cost of about one-eighth of a gallon of water. Compare that to the 37 gallons of water it takes to produce just one roll of toilet paper, and the environmental benefits of bidets start to become clear.

Plus, using a bidet means that you’re going to be flushing fewer wipes down the drain, which is good for cities and municipal sewer systems. In some instances, toilet paper and flushable wipes have become a detriment to sewer systems by frequently clogging the pipes, filling septic systems, and causing messy problems that cost time and money to fix.

Single-use paper products like toilet paper are very bad for the environment. The environmental benefits of washing with a bidet far outweigh the small amount of water it takes to wash with one. Plus, many of our bidet toilet seats—like the Swash SE600—come with a warm air dryer to keep you dry after you “go,” so you can reduce your need for toilet paper (and your impact on the planet) even further.

Ready for an easy upgrade to your bathroom?

When it comes to benefits, bidets are a no-brainer. They’re cleaner, gentler, and more eco-friendly than toilet paper. And wiping less means you’ll be saving money on your shopping bill, as well.

So go ahead and give one a try. It may seem foreign at first, but we promise that once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without one before.