Today’s article looks at whether bidets get all the poop off in a cleaning session, and if not, how many sessions does it take? It’s a great question because, as you’d imagine, some types of bidets are more effective than others. Also, technique and how much practice a user has play a role.
Do bidets work? For bowel movements, bidets outperform toilet paper provided that good technique and sufficient water pressure are used. At least, when comparing a 1-min bidet session to 2-3 wipes with TP. Bidets are also effective for feminine hygiene, both for daily cleansing and during menstruation.
A lot of folks find that they get the best results with both a bidet and toilet paper by performing a pre-wipe. I found this to be true in the experiment (in the video below). But you could avoid the pre-wipe by spraying longer (maybe one and a half to two minutes).
Before you get grossed out, that’s a healthy homemade version of Nutella you’re looking at on the tissue.
Anyway, you may be able to get an equally good cleaning with TP if you use enough–though, toilet paper does tend to smear. In the experiment, I compared a 1-minute bidet session to two wipes which is what most experts say is normal for a bowel movement (source: Healthline).
Next, we’ll look at different things that affect how well a bidet works. That way you’ll know what to look for when shopping if you decide to give one a try.
Do Bidets Get All the Poop Off?
Provided good technique and sufficient water pressure, most bidets clean the posterior region completely and thoroughly in a single 1- to 2-minute session. Factors that affect how well a bidet will work include user experience and the type of bidet (e.g., electric vs. non-electric).
Things to look out for include:
- The type of bidet.
- Water pressure.
- Brand and model.
- User, experience, technique, mobility, and body type.
Once you get the right technique and settings dialed in, the results are impressive.
In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s the end result.
The Type of Bidet
First, we have non-electric bidets which include attachments, seats, and handheld sprayers.
Attachments are attached under the seat of the current toilet (no replacing any parts). Non-electric seats replace the existing toilet seat.
Both offer basically the same benefits, but attachments are less invasive, typically less expensive, and definitely easier to install.
Handheld bidets operate like the sprayers used to clean dishes.
As a category of bidets, the non-electric kind is stronger overall, as the strength of the jet stream is largely determined by the home’s water pressure.
One caveat is that the spray head design on handheld bidets does affect the strength as some produce a more concentrated stream than others.
Then we have electric bidets. While weaker on average, models exist that are comparable to that of the non-electric variety.
While a bit weaker in comparison, most users find high-quality electric seats to clean effectively (read: get all the poop off) after a little practice. But because of the difference in strength, complaints related to cleaning efficacy are more common with electric bidets overall.
Both categories have their pros and cons. Electric bidets usually cost a good bit more but they come with all of the cool features associated with modern toilets—a warm air dryer, feminine and child modes, oscillating and pulsating spray nozzles, heated seats, deodorizer, etc.
Non-electric bidets are the strongest, cheapest, and easiest to install (about 10-30min compared to the hour it takes to set up electric units).
This one is a biggie because most other factors relate to the strength of the bidet in one way or another.
In general, non-electric bidets offer a higher water pressure.
The water stream put out by electric bidets can range from that of a drinking water fountain to a high-powered water dental flosser. As you’d imagine, the stronger the jetstream, the better the bidet will work, all things being equal.
Then there’s user preference to consider. Despite all of the features on offer by high-end luxury seats, I know users who wouldn’t trade their $50 bidet attachment or $30 handheld sprayer for a highfalutin $1200 seat. They just like the stronger stream–how it works and feels.
But others are okay so long as the bidet is strong enough to get the job done as effectively as using TP.
For max effectiveness, go with a high-pressure bidet and use the pressure controls to adjust down (from the max level) until it feels comfortable.
If you’re looking to get an electric bidet, check out the article on high-pressure bidets.
Most non-electric bidets should be fine, but I’d avoid handheld sprayers that have a highly dispersed hole pattern.
Even when working with the home’s water pressure, some spray head designs are less effective as they lack the concentrated kick needed for deep cleaning. I.e., you get a high spray volume, but low pressure overall.
The Brand and Model
As mentioned, you need a sufficiently strong bidet to get a good clean.
Overall, high-quality brands like TOTO and Brondell tend to get the best feedback. But, every bidet manufacturer has at least a model or two that’s exceptional and several that are known to be lackluster in how effective they clean.
When first researching the topic, it’s tempting to just look at what features a bidet offers. Do I want a warm air dryer or special spray modes? Etc. But equally important is whether a bidet in question gets good user feedback.
Research forums and retailer websites, or check out a buyer’s guide or my other article here.
Before making a choice, look for complaints related to how well the bidet cleans. User complaints often relate more to issues with the retailer (bad customer service or whatever) or have to do with problems relating to poor installation.
Experience of the User
Another big issue.
Your ability to clean effectively will improve with a bit of practice. We often forget this but it should be obvious. After all, if you have to potty train, you have to bidet train. The main difference is that the learning curve is much lower and there’s much less crying involved.
I kid, but you get the idea.
I have so much experience trying out different kinds of bidets that by now that I could probably clean my rear twice over with even the worst model, simply with fancy body positioning and having had practice using wand positioning features on bidet side panels and remote controls.
But you shouldn’t have to be a professional contortionist to get enough water where it needs to go, so make sure to do your research and get a good quality bidet.
The Bottom Line
So, there are a couple of take-home messages here.
One is that if you’ve recently got a bidet and you’re finding that it doesn’t clean as well as you expected, don’t get discouraged just yet.
Sure, you may have a bad model, but there’s a good chance you just need some more practice. We’re learning organisms and acquire skills passively allowing us to make progress with a motor skill without even realizing it.
Secondly, if you’re planning on trying out a bidet, get one that has good user feedback (no “doesn’t clean” or “too weak” complaints) and know that it may take a few tries to get it just right.
Mobility of the User
Senior adults and others with limited mobility. Hence, they can’t rely so much on body positioning due to a lack of strength and coordination.
It’s not that using a bidet takes tons of effort, but it does take some effort on the part of the user that requires a degree of strength and coordination that adults w/out limitations take for granted.
Those with limited mobility are probably best off with an electric bidet.
This is for a couple of reasons:
Remote controls are available with electric seats: Bidet attachments always come with side panels that require the user to bend over and look down to access.
Electric bidets often have side panels, but plenty are available with a remote control. The user can hold the remote in their lap (no bending) and those who have trouble seeing can hold it up to their face.
Non-electric seats either have a side panel or a really small dial at the side of the seat. They’re kind of awkward even for those without mobility issues.
Now, the side panels that come on electric units often have buttons and controls with braille-like protrusions that users can memorize. They’re mean to help everyone by making it so the user doesn’t have to look before activating anything.
But remote controls typically have this feature as well and you can save a lot of effort by just getting a bidet that has one.
User Body Type
Heavier users often report that they need more water pressure to get a good clean. This isn’t an issue for everyone, but it is common.
It’s not so much weight capacity that’s the issue because, as pointed out by Bidet King here, some models have proven compatible with users in the 400-500 lb. range.
It has more to do with how the bottom (our cheeks) tends to press together when we sit down. It happens to some degree with everyone but is much more pronounced with heavier individuals.
With the cheeks pressed together, the jet stream needs to be strong enough to penetrate, otherwise it’s just the outside of your butt that gets all the attention.
If you’re a heavier user, consider a non-electric bidet or check out one of the high-pressure electric bidets mentioned here.
Do Bidets Work? Conclusion
So, there you have it.
When used correctly, non-electric bidets (seats, attachments, and handheld sprayers) are known for providing a complete and thorough cleaning to the posterior region in a single 1-minute session. Electric bidets can be equally effective when the model is sufficiently strong.
Bidets work better than toilet paper at getting all the poop off. Like TP they can be used for feminine hygiene, both for menstruation and daily cleansing. However, like toilet paper, quality (I.e., materials and construction) and user practices determine how well a bidet will work.
Electric bidets put out by major manufacturers are fine in most cases, otherwise, they’d be discontinued. But some get more complaints than others, hence, it’s best to do your research if you want to minimize the chance of needing a refund.
Trust me, it’s no fun to spend the time installing the bidet only to have to send it back.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.