Many Americans are confused about the purpose of a bidet, a staple of many European bathrooms.
If you’ve asking yourself, “Why does the U.S. not use bidets?”, the fact that it is a foreign concept may be the answer.
Bidets are becoming more popular in the U.S., so if you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom, someone may have suggested adding one to you already.
Since a bidet is in the bathroom and looks like a toilet, many people think that you can use it for peeing. So, can you?
Whether you can pee in a bidet depends on the type of bidet that you have. Electronic bidets or bidet attachments that go on top of your toilet seat are designed so you can pee and clean yourself using the same appliance. However, you shouldn’t pee in stand-alone ceramic bidets, although you technically can.
There is an unspoken etiquette about using a bidet that many Americans don’t know, since bidets are not common in our bathrooms.
Here is everything you need to know about these appliances.
Can You Pee In A Bidet?
Peeing in a bidet seems like the logical use of this fixture. It looks like a toilet bowl, and peeing and cleaning yourself in the same place is an efficient way to use the bathroom.
Modern forms of the bidet have this efficiency in mind. Companies designed bidets that can either integrate with your existing toilet or can function as a toilet to save you time and space in the bathroom.
Here are the types of bidets that you can pee in:
- A Handheld Sprayer: The handheld sprayer is a hose that attaches to your toilet and sprays water on your genitals. Since it’s attached to your toilet, obviously you can pee in it!
- A Bidet Attachment: This is another type of bidet that attaches to your toilet seat, so you can pee as usual. The only difference between the bidet attachment and handheld sprayer is that the attachment clips onto the toilet seat.
- A Bidet Toilet Seat: If you have a fancy toilet seat that also has a bidet function, you can use your toilet as normal. The only caveat is that if you pee standing up, you should put up the toilet seat to avoid getting it dirty.
- An All-In-One Bidet: A fancy all-in-one or built-in electronic bidet is a toilet and bidet combined in one fixture. You can take care of all your business in this bidet because it is a toilet as well.
The only bidet where you should pause and think before peeing in it is a traditional ceramic stand-alone bidet, the type that you find in many houses in southern Europe and Latin America.
Technically, you can pee in these bidets because the drain can handle any liquids, and you can use water to clean the bowl.
However, the question remains if you should do that?
Peeing in a ceramic stand-alone bidet is very rude, so you should not do that, particularly if you are visiting someone’s house. Most people use the bidet to clean their genitals, so urinating in it would spread bacteria that could hurt someone using it after you (and create a mess for your host).
The design of the bowl also causes urine to splash onto the floor—something you ideally want to avoid!
So, when is peeing in a bidet okay? If you have a bidet that attaches to your toilet, or that functions as one, then do your business in it without hesitation. However, avoid peeing in a ceramic bidet.
While it technically can handle liquid, it just isn’t polite and there isn’t a situation where using it would be preferable to using a toilet.
Can You Poop In A Bidet?
The etiquette around pooping in a bidet is similar to the etiquette around using a bidet for peeing.
If you have a bidet that combines with a toilet, such as an all-in-one bidet or a bidet toilet seat, then you can use the bidet area for all of your bathroom needs, including pooping.
However, you should never, ever poop in a ceramic stand-alone bidet. Seriously.
While you can technically pee in a ceramic bidet, it’s just considered rude, you cannot poop in this type of bidet. The bowl is very shallow, and the drain cannot accommodate solids. Unless you want to handle removing and disinfecting poop from the bidet bowl, do your business in the toilet instead.
What’s The Purpose Of A Bidet?
People that are new to the world of bidets are often confused by this thing that goes in your bathroom, but you can’t actually use it for, well, bathroom business.
However, bidets serve their own purpose separate from the toilet. They help you stay clean after using the bathroom.
In countries that use bidets, people use them to clean their genitals and backside after using the bathroom (most Americans use toilet paper instead).
Using water is a better method of thoroughly cleaning up messes than toilet paper, which can get stuck in uncomfortable places. Not only is it more comfortable to feel clean after using the bathroom, but it is also healthier to clean with water as it prevents bacterial infections such as UTIs (particularly for people with vulvas).
Some people use bidets for other purposes (particularly Americans visiting foreign countries that are confused about its purpose).
While you can technically wash your feet, armpits, your pet, and your dirty laundry in a standalone bidet, its primary purpose is to help clean up your lower regions after using the bathroom.
Why Don’t Americans Use Bidets?
Bidets are popular throughout most of the world, and they serve a definitive purpose, which is to help keep you clean after using the bathroom.
So why does the U.S. not use bidets? Do we just like spending lots of money on toilet paper?
Part of the answer lies in our plumbing set-up. American toilets have a different bowl that makes it harder to install bidet add-ons such as hoses and toilet seats. Our bathrooms tend to be smaller, so there isn’t much space for an additional fixture. The other answer is habit and bad associations.
The first time large masses of Americans came in contact with bidets was when American G.I.s visited brothels in Italy after World War II, so they associated bidets with lewdness.
Other Americans never knew that there is an alternative to toilet paper, especially since talking about ways to clean your butt is taboo in American culture.
That doesn’t mean that no Americans use bidets. Immigrants (and descendants of immigrants) from countries that use bidets often install them in their homes.
What’s The Best Type Of Bidet?
Let’s say that you’re interested in the purposes of a bidet because you want to install one in your bathroom if you’re renovating it.
Which one should you get, now that you know there are many types of bidets? The answer depends on your purposes.
If you want to have a bidet that can double as a place where you can pee, get one that attaches to your toilet or an electronic built-in bidet.
If you don’t mind having a separate fixture just for washing, get a ceramic, standalone bidet.
Another important factor is space. Many American bathrooms are small, so you may not have space for a separate ceramic bidet or a wall-mounted electronic bidet.
A bidet handheld sprayer, bidet attachment, or toilet seat can help you save space while still staying clean after using the bathroom.
Finally, if you don’t want to spend tons of money on a bidet before you know if you like using it, then choose a bidet that you can add on to your existing toilet.
Bidet hoses and attachments are usually very affordable. Before buying these add-ons, check that they will be compatible with your plumbing system.
Here are some common questions that Americans have about bidets.
How Do You Use A Bidet?
The answer depends on the type of bidet you have. If you have a traditional ceramic, standalone bidet, you fill it with water, straddle it, and wash yourself.
Newer bidets, including bidet hoses and attachments, have sprays of water that you can aim at your nether region to rinse away urine and feces.
Do I Still Need Toilet Paper with A Bidet?
You don’t need toilet paper with most bidets because they do a better job cleaning you than toilet paper does. You can use toilet paper after using a bidet to dry off. However, toilet paper is not as good at helping you clean up as a washcloth or a towel, so think of using those alternatives instead.
Bidets are popular fixtures in bathrooms from Latin America to East Asia, but many Americans are confused about how to use them.
The primary purpose of a bidet is to clean you after using the bathroom, but you can also pee in some of them.
Electronic all-in-one bidets and add-ons for your toilet are designed so you can do your business as usual and clean yourself using the same fixture.
While ceramic, standalone bidets can technically handle liquid waste, you shouldn’t pee in them because that is rude and potentially unsanitary.
A bidet, whether you choose a traditional stand-alone or a toilet attachment, is a great addition to your bathroom!