A Simple Guide To How Bidets Work (Explained)

How a bidet works

Bidets are quite common worldwide and are starting to make their presence known in the United States.

They’re easy to use, and once you’ve tried one, you’ll probably want to continue using it. A bidet will forever change your bathroom experience.

Bidets are a safe and hygienic way to clean yourself after using the bathroom or whenever you feel the desire to freshen up down there. How bidet works is dependent upon the type you have.

We have compiled a list of seven steps on how standalone bidets work and some tips on how the other types of bidets differ in usage.

  • Use the toilet
  • Place yourself on a bidet
  • Position yourself
  • Adjust water
  • Wash Yourself
  • Dry off
  • Rinse bidet

Do I Use The Toilet Before Going To The Bidet?

Standalone bidets are separate from the toilet.

They are typically located next to the toilet and look like one, but they do not have a lid or reservoir.

These bidets are solely meant for cleaning you after you have urinated or defecated. Therefore, you do your business in the toilet and then move to the bidet.

Some choose to use toilet paper prior to moving to the bidet, but this is not necessary.

Do I Sit Or Straddle The Bidet?

Depending on the model, you can either sit facing out or straddle the bowl facing the wall when using a bidet.

Familiarize yourself with the type of bidet to know which position is correct. A general preference for comfort comes into play here.

Straddling the bidet allows you to face the controls that control the water temperature and pressure. This allows for an easier and more authentic experience. However, it does require you to remove your pants altogether.

Though the bidet has no lid, you can sit on the rim of it or hover over the top. Either way is an acceptable form of usage.

How Do I Position Myself Over The Jets?

Most bidets use jets that shoot water up to clean you. Dependent on the model, they may have one jet or multiple jets to choose from.

Make sure you have positioned yourself over the jet to ensure it hits the intended area you are trying to clean. Most models either have a jet by the drain at the bottom that shoots up vertically or one by the controls that shoots out horizontally.

However, some bidets do not use jets and instead simply fill up with water. With these, you are expected to use your hands to scoop the water up and clean yourself like you would in the shower or tub.

Therefore, there is no need to worry about positioning yourself since no water will be sprayed up at you.

Can I Adjust The Water To A Preferred Pressure And Temperature?

Standalone bidets typically come with knobs like those on a sink that adjust water temperature and pressure. You should familiarize yourself with the controls before using it so that you are not confused or overwhelmed.

Start by turning on the hot water first and adding cold to it until it reaches your desired temperature. If you live in a warmer climate, then you should start with the cold and then turn on the hot.

Some bidets require you to hold the water on while some simply require you to turn a knob. Be careful with the pressure of the water, some are very high powered, so it’s best to be gentle and only slightly touch the pressure control.

Bidets that use horizontal spray nozzles may be tricky, so it is best to hold your hand over the jet at first until you can divert the water to the desired area. The lever for this is typically between the handles or behind them.

Is It Wise To Practice The Bidet Controls Before Using It?

If you are new to using a bidet or unfamiliar with a certain model, it is best to practice using the controls before you have to use the bidet.

Play with the water temperature and pressure while standing beside the bidet. Use your hand to judge whether the water is too hot or too highly pressurized.

By doing this, you are better prepared for how the water is going to come out and can save yourself from any discomfort.

This is especially good at preventing you from burning yourself down there from water that is too hot.

How Do I Thoroughly Cleanse Myself With The Jets?

You may have to reposition yourself once again so that the jets hit your desired target.

The first positioning is to prevent water from shooting up past your genital area and instead going close to the desired area. The second positioning ensures you have the water where you want it.

The amount of time you use the jet is based on your own preference. Whenever you feel you are clean is when you can stop.

It is recommended you still use your hands to thoroughly clean and wipe yourself as the jets spray. This allows for a more adequate cleaning, but you do not have to do this if you don’t desire.

Does A Standalone Bidet Have A Drying Feature Like The Electric Bidet?

Standalone bidets do not normally come with the air dryer function that you can get with an electric bidet toilet seat.

Therefore, you have two options to dry off.

  • Toilet paper
  • Towel

Sometimes you will find a towel hanging near the bidet that can either be meant just for your hands or may be meant to wipe up your genital area.

This option is more eco-friendly, but it is also less hygienic if the towel is used more than once. Toilet paper is the more hygienic option for drying yourself off.

You may be using a bidet to rid yourself of toilet paper usage, so it may not seem like the most logical option for you.

However, you will use much less toilet paper to dry off than if you used it to completely wipe yourself.

Do I Rinse The Bidet Myself Or Does It Have A Self-Rinsing Feature?

It is important to rinse the bidet after you use it in order to clean it and rid your bathroom of any leftover odors. Some toilet seat bidets have a rinse function; however, standalone bidets require you to run the jets at a low pressure.

A horizontal jet can have the position of the water stream switched to cover more of the bowl for a better cleaning.

Be sure to turn water jets off before leaving the restroom so that you do not waste water.

Different Types Of Bidets

Bidets come in different forms. We have just discussed the standalone bidet that is the original type. However, there are other forms of bidets that are used in varying ways. These include:

  • Non-electric toilet seat bidet
  • Electric toilet seat bidet
  • Handheld bidet
  • Portable bidet

Each work similarly to the standalone bidet but have their own differences in technique. However, all types are proficient in cleansing yourself after going to the bathroom.

How Do I Use A Non-Electric Toilet Seat Bidet?

A toilet seat bidet attaches to your toilet. It is a cheaper option than a standalone bidet and often comes with more features.

Typically, it only comes with a cold-water option; however, you can run a hot water line to your toilet for a warm water option.

We recommend the Hibbent Non-Electric Bidet with Self-Cleaning Nozzle (Affiliate Link)

A non-electric toilet seat bidet is the most similar type of the five to the standalone bidet. They come with knobs/buttons to adjust water temperature if a warm water is option is available, and a knob that turns to control the water pressure.

The only difference is that this fixture is attached to your toilet, so you go to the bathroom and continue sitting on the seat facing out while using the bidet.

The knobs/buttons are typically to the side of you, for ease of use.

How Do I Use An Electric Toilet Seat Bidet?

The electric version of the toilet seat bidet can feel very overwhelming at first. Dependent upon the model, there can be a multitude of controls and settings.

We highly recommend going over the controls before going to the bathroom so that you do not feel overwhelmed at the moment.

An electric toilet seat can either have a remote control or a set of buttons on the side. Some features of the electric toilet seat bidet include:

  • Rear jets
  • Front jets
  • Heated seats
  • Adjustable spray width
  • Deodorize function
  • Sterilize function
  • Memory function

The steps are relatively the same, except instead of knobs, you have buttons. To adjust the water temperature and pressure, just use the up and down buttons that are labelled to either increase or decrease temperature and or pressure.

We recommend having a look at this range of state-of-the-art Electric Bidet Seats (Affiliate Link)

There are more precision adjustments with an electric bidet, though, since you can move the position of the nozzle and control the width of the stream. You can also choose between front or rear jets.

Additional Functions Of The Electric Bidet

Like all bidets, you have to clean them after use. The great thing about electric bidets is that they have a sterilize button that you push to automatically clean the bowl.

No need to worry about adjusting the pressure and doing it yourself; just push the button and let the seat do the work for you.

Another great function is the deodorize button that uses a carbon air filter to deodorize the bidet and your bathroom. This filter does not use scented sprays; instead just traps the odors in the filter that are undesirable in your bathroom.

The memory function allows you to set your preferences for up to two users. This saves you time each time you use the bidet. Simply push the “user 1” or “user 2” button and get on with your day.

How Does A Handheld Bidet Work?

Handheld bidets are similar to kitchen sink sprayers.

We recommend having a look at these Handheld Bidet Sprayers by Brondell (Affiliate Link)

They are a non-electric spray nozzle that stays attached to the side of the toilet. The steps to using a handheld bidet include:

  • Turning water on to the hose
  • Positioning sprayer head in desired area
  • Rinsing yourself
  • Dry Yourself
  • Rinse the bowl
  • Turning off water

Turning On The T-Valve To A Bidet Hose

A T-valve located under the toilet tank is used to turn the water pressure to the hose on and off.

To use the handheld bidet, you must turn the t-valve on first. Dependent upon how fully you open the valve will help in determining the pressure of the water.

How Do I Position The Sprayer Head?

You have the option of placing the sprayer head in between your legs in front of you or reaching down behind you. This step is completely up to your preference and comfort level.

Be careful to ensure the sprayer head is pointed at your desired area so that it does not spray up at you.

Rinsing Yourself With The Handheld Bidet

Squeeze the trigger to release the water. Dependent on how hard you squeeze can determine the pressure of the water.

Unlike other bidets, there are no temperature control options, only the cold water from your tank.

Dry Yourself Off After Using Bidet

There is no drying function with this option, so you will need to manually dry with toilet paper or a towel like you do with a standalone bidet.

Rinse The Toilet Bowl With The Handheld Sprayer

Use the bidet sprayer head to rinse out the bowl.

This may not seem necessary, but it will help keep odors out of your bathroom and your toilet cleaner.

It is also much easier to rinse the bowl with a handheld bidet compared to the standalone one.

Turn Off The Water To The Bidet

Once you are done with the handheld bidet, reach down behind the toilet bowl and turn the T-valve to the off position. This will help prevent water from building up pressure in your hose when not in use.

Without water pressure built up in the hose, you are less likely to have accidental sprays if you hit the handle.

If you have little kids in your home, this may prevent a soaking wet bathroom from them playing with it as well.

Are There Different Uses For The Handheld Bidet?

Not only are handheld bidets great as bidets, but since it is a hose that reaches out quite a ways and have water directly from your water tank, they can also be used to clean your bathroom.

If your toilet is close enough to the shower, you can clean your tub with the hose. You can use it to spray down the bathroom floor even. It’s like having a garden hose in your bathroom, essentially.

How Do I Use A Portable Bidet?

Once you start using a bidet on the regular, no matter the type, it becomes difficult to go back to using toilet paper when you travel since not a lot of public areas or hotels have bidets.

However, there is a way to solve this problem, and it is by using a portable bidet.

A portable bidet is a bottle containing water with a tube and nozzle. Acting similarly to a handheld bidet, they come in three different types.

  • Electric
  • Non-electric
  • Screw on caps

Electric Portable Bidets

Electric portable bidets resemble small water containers.

We recommend the Hibbent Electric Portable Bidet (Affiliate Link)

They require batteries to function. Once you have inserted the batteries into the unit, you can follow these steps to use it.

  • Remove the water tank from unit and remove cap
  • Fill water tank with desired water amount and temperature
  • Close water cap tightly
  • Put water tank back into unit
  • Insert desired nozzle
  • Position bidet and turn it on

Fill the water tank with your desired water temperature. With most of these bidets, you can choose between an anterior or posterior nozzle when screwing the nozzle on.

These battery-operated bidets are good for people who struggle to squeeze bottles, like senior citizens or people with carpal tunnel.

Non-Electric Portable Bidets

Non-electric portable bidets resemble water bottles with spray nozzles.

You can use them by following these steps.

  • Fill water bottle with water at desired temperature
  • Place nozzle on bottle
  • Hold bidet in one hand upside down between your legs
  • Aim the nozzle
  • Squeeze bottle to rinse yourself

Screw On Portable Bidets

You can buy add-on bidet nozzles that attach to any existing bottle and this works the same as non-electric portable bidets.

The advantage to these is that you can choose the size of the bottle, and therefore the amount of water for your bidet.

How Do I Choose The Right Bidet?

Dependent upon your preferences and desired needs, there are multiple bidets available to you.

If you want the traditional experience, then the standalone bidet is probably for you.

If you’re looking for an easier experience that doesn’t involve having another fixture take up space in your bathroom, then the toilet seat or handheld bidets are probably better suited for you.

No matter what bidet you choose to use or come across, take your time to familiarize yourself with its controls. Each model and type differ in exact controls, but all use the same type of technique.

It is okay to be nervous at first, but once you figure out how a bidet works, it will be a great bathroom experience.

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