Today we’re looking how bidets clean themselves. Any device that’s meant to keep the nether regions clean would be expected to get a little soiled from time to time.
For this reason, I’d imagine that the prospect of owning and maintaining a bidet could seem a little too involved or high maintenance to someone who’s new to the subject and not aware of the many features that make bidet ownership easy and near hassle-free.
I recently wrote an article on the best self-cleaning bidets. Included, are models at different price ranges that can do anything from rinsing the wand to those that can sterilize the spray wand and clean the toilet bowl with each use.
Do Bidets Clean Themselves?
Most modern bidets clean themselves to some extent, as self-cleaning wands are a common feature. Some of the fancier models utilize a sensor that triggers an automatic cleaning of the toilet bowl. Standalone bidets tend to keep themselves clean with the water that flows into the basin.
Also, some models use a solution that both cleans and sanitizes the spray wands.
There are several types of bidets, and the vast majority are self-cleaning to some degree. What we’ll do here is go over some of the most common features of both modern and traditional bidets that help keep the unit clean.
1. Self-Cleansing Wands (Seats, Attachments, Toilets)
One great feature that most modern bidets tend to offer is a self-cleaning wand. Interestingly, even bidet attachments often have this function.
Bidet attachments being devices that attach to existing toilets without replacing the seat-lid combo. Attachments are typically non-electric and offer very few of the features present in most bide seats and toilets.
Self-cleaning wands are almost certainly a feature of most bidet seats and toilets you’ll find on the market these days.
Models vary, but usually, a little cannon (the cleansing wand) extends and retracts under a small burst of water that cleanses the wand before and after use.
I’m glad manufacturers saw the need for this function. It’s not always obvious why a self-cleaning wand would be necessary. After all, the wands are out of the way when urinating and passing a bowel movement so it’s not as if they are constantly being contaminated.
But, bowel movements can be unpredictable. For example, we’re often not quite done when we think we are. So it would make sense if the wand were to get dirty from time to time.
Then there’s a bit of splashing that takes place in toilet bowls when cleansing with water instead of paper which can result in the wand contacting contaminated water.
Thankfully, most modern bidets have this feature so it’s not an issue.
2. Pre- and Post-Misting Functions (Seats and Toilets)
This feature is usually advertised as a pre-misting function, but a lot of models mist both before and after you sit down.
For example, the TOTO C100, my personal favorite bidet, has a “pre-mist” function that cleans the toilet before each seated use. Other more expensive models clean before and after each use.
With this feature, a sensor detects when the user approaches and sits down on the toilet seat and then triggers a preemptive cleaning of the bowl. The sensor detects when the user is done and gives the bowl another clean.
The misting solution is a non-corrosive cleaning agent that both cleans the bowl and keeps the bathroom smelling fresh.
With a lot of their models, TOTO uses something they call “ewater”. It’s electrolyzed water that serves as a disinfectant and cleaning agent that’s non-corrosive. The solution converts chemicals in tap water into sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl).
3 . Automatic Timed Cleaning Functions (Seats and Toilets)
Aside from cleaning the toilet bowl before and after use, some bidets are programmed to self-clean every 8 hours when not in use.
Whether you have a high-tech toilet like a bidet or a traditional commode, this would be a welcome feature.
Even with a standard toilet, you’re going to have to do some cleaning now and then to keep the bowl clean and prevent brown rings from forming.
Having a toilet that automatically cleans itself on a regular basis will prevent you from having to break out the Comet and scrubber all the time.
4. Free-Flowing Water (Standalone Bidets)
This applies to standalone bidets. Traditional bidets come in two forms: classic (horizontal water flow) and French (vertical spray).
If you’ve ever been to a hotel in Europe, then you’ve probably seen this kind. They’re mini washbasins situated low on the wall next to toilets—they look like little toilet-sink hybrids.
Classic bidets flow water through a faucet into the basin and the vertical spray kind shoots water up like a fountain.
With this kind of bidet, you do your business on the toilet and then transfer to the basin to clean the soiled skin.
Because you usually wipe a time or two on the toilet before visiting the bidet, feces isn’t typically transferred to the unit in any amount that would cause the bidet to look dirty.
But, to the extent that a standalone bidet gets dirty (after all, we’re concerned with germs), the free-flowing water should be expected to wash any sediment or residue down the drain.
But, like with your bathroom sink, a standalone bidet will require some manual cleaning from time to time. But, overall, they tend to be low maintenance. Bathroom sinks are subjected to toothpaste and other substances that can cause gunky buildup.
Also, one thing to consider with this type of bidet is whether or not soap is used. Some users like a really thorough clean so they keep soap next to the basin to help clean soiled skin. While soap will help keep the basin clean, it can lead to the buildup of soap scum over time.
Standalone bidets are exposed to water and little else.
One final thing to consider is how the bidet is used. While the vertical spray bidets are typically used to squirt water to the desired region, classic bidets (horizontal spray) are often filled up like mini bathtubs.
Some use the faucet on classic bidets to spray water directly to the desired region, but others choose to close the drain plug and fill the basin up like a bath at which point cupped hands are used to bathe the area.
Anyone using the mini bath method should make sure the basin is rinsed a time or two with clean water after the cleaning session. If not, residue would be expected to build faster over time.
5. Retractable Wands (Seats, Attachments, Toilets)
This is not really a self-cleaning function per se, but it may as well be because it helps keep the bidet clean in a few different ways.
- It prevents poop from getting on the bidet. A lot of folks new to the subject wonder if poop tends to get on their bidet. Thankfully, that’s not something that tends to happen. Having the wand retract when passing a bowel movement helps keep the water-spraying portion of the bidet clean.
- It prevents urine build-up on the wand. The retractable wand on modern bidets is out of the way altogether when urinating. That’s because it does not extend until you’ve pressed a button or turned a dial—something you wouldn’t do unless you were ready to cleanse. This is important because urine does tend to land on bathroom surfaces—including other parts of the toilet—at which point it evaporates and builds up a residue.
Handheld bidets are not retractable but are out of the way when using the toilet. This brings us to our next question.
Are Handheld Bidets Self-Cleaning?
So, standalone bidets are not really self-cleaning in theory but tend to keep themselves clean with running water.
But, another primitive form of bidet is the handheld bidet sprayer.
Handheld bidets are not self-cleaning. Unlike standalone bidets, they are not subjected to running water so there is no sense in which they help keep themselves clean. Unlike modern bidets, they lack any features (e.g. wands or toilet bowls) that can be cleansed or pre-misted with each use.
However, handheld sprayers are located to the side of toilets when urinating or making a bowel movement, so they tend not to be soiled with use.
If you go with this kind, you’ll likely be reaching the sprayer down into the bowl to cleanse yourself, so the nozzle will need to be cleaned if and when you sense it’s come into contact with contaminated water.
The upside is that even some of the best handheld bidets are super affordable. There are diminishing returns after about $30 when it comes to quality so sprayers are the most economical bidets on the market.
How Do Bidets Stay Clean? Conclusion
So, there you have it.
For the most part, bidets stay clean by having self-rinsing nozzles. Some even have self-sanitizing wands and/or nozzles made of antimicrobial material. Regardless of the features, periodic maintenance is still necessary. It varies, but most components need to be cleaned once/month.
That should give you a good rundown of how bidets help keep themselves clean.
Even the most primitive of bidets, the standalone variety, tend to stay clean with the running water that contacts the basin.
Most models have some way of keeping the components free of debris and several have features that cleanse individual parts that may come in contact with feces or water contaminated with feces.
Modern bidets—even the non-electric kind—have nozzles that only extend when needed so they’re out of the way when urinating or passing a bowel movement.
Whether electric or mechanical, the newer bidet models typically have self-cleaning wands. This ensures the mechanism that shoots water at your butt stays clean.
Finally, a lot of the newer bidet seats and toilets have pre-misting functions that keep the bowl clean and smelling good.
They clean the unit both before and after use and some proceed to clean the toilet at certain intervals throughout the day when not in use.
That should do it for now. Thanks for reading.