Today’s article covers the topic of when to clean your bidet. It will lay out a general cleaning schedule and cover some symptoms that indicate when cleaning is needed. Sometimes an entire unit needs to be cleaned while other times it’s a single component.
Because there are several types of bidets on the market (seats, attachments, sprayers, standalone units, etc.), a lot of the signs that a cleaning is needed will only apply to a certain type of bidet. In researching the topic, I reached out to several manufacturers and consulted owners’ manuals for different types of bidets.
For electric bidets, most components need cleaning about once a month. It does vary per component. For example, the seat should be wiped daily while the filter drain valve can be cleaned every 6 months. Non-electric bidets should be cleaned as frequently as you would clean your toilet.
Then there are the signs that something needs cleaning. So, it’s really more like: clean this component every 4 weeks or when you notice xyz.
What we’ll do in this article is list the general cleaning schedule for different bidet components and then go over specific signs that indicate a part of the unit needs cleaning.
For bidets that do a lot of the work for you, check out the article on the best self-cleaning bidets.
Six Signs that You’re Bidet Needs Cleaning
This is not an exhaustive list but should give you an idea of some of the issues that indicate when certain components need cleaning.
1. Dirt or Gunky Buildup on/around the Main Unit
Noticeable buildup is not likely to occur very often. Most manuals call for cleaning the main unit of a bidet once per month but that’s mostly as a preventative measure. So, you can probably go several months before any noticeable buildup is present, but to stay on top of it, try cleaning once per month.
Any contraption with multiple parts is prone to dirty residue building up over time. In fact, that’s one reason why some folks prefer 1-piece to 2-piece toilets. The seamless design of the former means there are fewer gaps and crevices to collect dirt.
Like the space between the bowl and basin on a 2-piece toilet, bidets come with gaps and crevices that will need cleaning from time to time. Check the space between the bidet and bowl and any gaps between the seat and lid.
2. A Soiled Wand
Most bidet owner’s manuals call for cleaning the wand once every month or when you notice dirty-looking residue. The problem here is that you may not get a good look at the wand when it’s extended. To remain clean for as long as possible, the nozzle only extends when the toilet is in use.
Hence, you may not notice if and when the nozzle starts to take on a dirty appearance. On electric units, you can use the remote control or side panel to extend the nozzle to inspect it. With attachments, you’ll need to pull the nozzles down manually to get a good look.
There are five ways modern bidets can be self-cleaning depending on which model you get. As mentioned in that article, the wand or spray nozzle is the main thing that needs to be kept clean when it comes to good bidet hygiene.
The best self-cleaning bidets either have antimicrobial wands (with special materials and additives) or are self-sanitizing with the help of a cleaning solution with antimicrobial properties. In the latter case, the wand douses itself with each use).
3. The Wand Extends but Doesn’t Spray Water
Interestingly, it’s rarely reported that a wand doesn’t extend at all (though it does happen). What’s more common is that the wand extends from its housing but doesn’t spray water. A clogged drain valve is far from the only issue that can cause this, but it happens here and there.
If this happens, check the water filter drain valve or filter screen to see if it needs cleaning.
4. A Urine-Like Smell Coming from the Bidet
A pretty common complaint from electric bidet users is that the seat can take on a urine-like smell over time.
Most electric bidets have heated seats. Even if a given bidet lacked a heated seat function, there’s plenty of technology housed in the average electric seat that could cause it to remain warm—dryers, small fans, and the like. That’s true of anything that runs on electricity.
Being on the toilet, bidets are subjected every day to pee and toilet plume (contaminated particles of water that spread through the air and land on surfaces when you flush). This is especially true for guys but happens with women too.
When pee lands on the warm surface of the seat, it evaporates leaving behind a urine residue that builds up over time causing a foul odor. For this reason, most electric bidet manuals say the seat should be wiped down about every day.
5. Other Weird Smells
Sometimes a funky smell can emit from inside the bidet. If there’s a foul odor coming from inside the unit, you may need to open it up and physically inspect the inside to clean it out and remove any foreign matter.
Sometimes there’s a burning smell. Sure, it could be a general electrical problem, but there’s also a chance that the dryer needs cleaning. Like with any dryer, lint and other debris can build up with use causing a burning smell.
6. Weak Water Pressure Coming Out of the Wand
Different things can cause low water pressure coming out of the nozzle. For example, sometimes the pressure is unknowingly set to low, and or the toilet shutoff valve is partially shut. Or there’s an issue with a home’s water pressure.
But sometimes it is foreign matter clogging up the water filter drain valve as in the non-spraying wand scenario. In this case, you’ll need to clean or replace the filter drain valve.
The Bidet Cleaning Schedule
Main Unit: Daily-6 Months
This depends on the type of bidet you have: seats and toilet-bidet combos, non-electric seats, and attachments.
Electric Bidet Seats: Approx. Daily
The main unit for this type of bidet is the seat, lid, and control arm (if no remote control). Most manuals say once per day, but you can probably get away with less.
But the seat is the main part that needs to be cleaned regularly. Being electric and usually heated (even when the heated seat function isn’t in use), it needs cleaning more than bidet attachments.
Toilet-Bidet Combos: Approx. Daily
The main unit, in this case, is the seat/lid. I.e., the part with bidet functionality, not the entire commode. Clean the rest of the toilet (basin and tank if there is one) as you would any other toilet.
Attachments and Non-Electric Seats: Standard Toilet Cleaning Schedule
The main unit on a non-electric seat would be the seat and lid. The main unit on bidet attachments is the control arm that juts out to the side of the bidet. Don’t worry about the portion underneath the seat.
It seems like most recommend cleaning your toilet once per week but it really depends on how often it’s used.
The Gap Between the Main Unit and the Bowl: Approx. Once a Month
This one applies to bidet seats, both electric and non-electric.
If you have a seat, keep an eye on the gap between the main unit and the bowl for the buildup of dirt and gunky residue. Even if you don’t notice any buildup, you should clean the area once a month as a preventative measure.
These days, a lot of manufacturers make the process easy with a one-touch removal mechanism. Consul the manual with your model and remove the seat to clean its underside along with the top of the toilet bowl.
The Gap Between the Main Unit and Toilet Lid: Approx. Once a Month
The owner’s manual on models that come with detachable lids typically calls for removing the lid once per month to clean the area between the lid and the bowl.
The Bidet Wand: Varies
The Wand on Electric Bidets: Approx. Once a Month
If you have an electric bidet, you can plan to clean your wand about once a month and when you notice dirt.
This may be surprising. Anything that lives inside a toilet bowl 24/7 would be expected to get soiled several times daily. So, how could it be that the wand only needs cleaning once per month?
Wands are inside the seat when the toilet is in use. So, it’s not subjected to the environment of the toilet bowl when you’re urinating or doing number 2. It’s housed inside of a cocoon and only emerges when needed.
Secondly, electric bidets (and most attachments these days) have self-cleaning wands that are rinsed with each use. So, even when they get soiled with contaminated water and poo, they take a shower to rinse off.
There will be a build-up of dirt and residue over time, which is why you have to clean them regularly.
The Wand on Bidet Attachments: Varies
If your model has a self-cleaning wand, then once a month or when you notice dirt. This feature is pretty common on attachments these days, but less so with electric bidets.
If your attachment doesn’t have this feature, then you may want to clean the nozzle more often (once every 1-2 weeks depending on how much it’s used).
Some manufacturers will tell you just to clean the wand when you clean the toilet and when you notice dirt.
I say once a month because that’s the frequency recommendation given by most electric bidet manuals and I see no reason why the wands on non-electric bidets would need less cleaning.
Also, attachments lack the self-sterilization technology that comes with fancy bidet seats. Hence, even self-cleaning bidet attachment wands could probably benefit from a more frequent manual cleaning schedule.
For this type of bidet, you’ll have to manually pull the wand out of its housing to clean it. Give it a good scrub down with a toothbrush and non-corrosive cleaning agent.
The Water Filter Drain Valve: Approx. Every 6 Months
About once every six months or so you should clean the water filter drain valve whether you notice any issues or not.
The drain valve cover is usually on the back corner of the seat. It depends on the model, but the procedure usually calls for unplugging the seat, removing the cover, and pulling the drain valve out to clean it with a toothbrush or similar tool.
Deodorizing Filter: Approx. Once a Month
The deodorizing filter is a feature of electric bidets—seats and toilet combos. It’s a little vent on the back of the seat.
These need cleaning regularly because they’re positioned in front of a fan that pulls dirty air through the filter. The carbon filter breaks down odorous molecules. This helps you eliminate smells instead of masking them.
Depending on the type you have and its condition, the filter may need cleaning or replacing altogether. If cleaning it, you’ll unplug the bidet, pull the filter out and clean per your instruction manual—usually with a toothbrush or similar tool.
As always, consult with the manual that came with your bidet when it comes to the cleaning and maintenance of your model.
These are just guidelines and some people can get away with less frequent cleaning than others while others may need a more frequent schedule. A bidet used by a single person who lives alone and uses public restrooms for a third of the day will see far less use than one that’s used by an entire family where the parents work from home.
It also depends on the model and component. I have a TOTO C100, and TOTO is known for putting out high-quality bidets with effective self-cleaning nozzles. I’ve had mine for a year and have yet to notice any dirt or buildup on the nozzle.
I do wash the seat every couple of days or so (I’m supposed to do it daily) and haven’t yet had any issues with the bidet producing a foul urine smell.
This article did not address in detail how to clean your bidet. That’s a topic worthy of its own article. What I’ll mention here is that you should always use a mild all-purpose cleaning solution diluted in water to clean plastic components and water supply hoses. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbing tools.
As you can see we didn’t cover standalone bidets. They should be cleaned as often as you’d clean your sink. The main thing with keeping these hygienic is to make sure your bidet has a vacuum breaker or air gap.
That should do it for now. Thanks for reading.