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What is a bidet and how to use it?

Wondering what’s a bidet, how to use it, or even how to maintain one properly? Then follow our tips!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

A shower screen with shampoo and shower gel nearby

Key steps

  • A bidet uses a stream of water designed to clean your genitals after toilet use. 

  • Contrary to popular belief, a bidet isn’t just for women. 

  • To learn how to use a bidet, set the water to a comfortable temperature. Lower yourself to the water stream gently to rinse your genitals. Pat dry gently with a soft towel.

  • Avoid using perfumed soaps on your intimate area when using a bidet or washing.

  • Don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards.

Ever found yourself in a hotel room wondering what that additional basin-looking feature next to the toilet is? Cleanipedia has you covered; we’ll answer all your questions on what a bidet is, how it works and how to properly use one. If you want to also find out how to clean a bidet, we have also added here a step-by-step guide, so just keep on reading. 

Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning the bidet basin. They protect your hands from germs and cleaning products.

What is a bidet and what does it look like?

If you’ve ever asked yourself, what’s a bidet or what is a bidet for, then you’re in the right place. These funny-looking bathroom fixtures are a cheap and hygienic alternative to using toilet roll after using the toilet.

  • How does a bidet work? A bidet is a small basin which works by producing a stream of cold or hot water. 

  • Whilst some people may have never seen one, and others may think they’re old-fashioned, bidets can actually be found in a number of modern hotels and homes all over continental Europe.

  • There are different types of bidets nowadays, though the most traditional is the ceramic basin.

  • So, what is a bidet used for? Through its use of water, the bidet helps to maintain the hygiene of your intimate parts after using the toilet. 

How to use a bidet?  

If you find yourself in a bathroom with a ceramic basin next to the toilet, here’s all you need to know about how to use a bidet properly:  

  1. Turn on the taps and adjust the water flow to a temperature that will be comfortable for you, especially as the genitals are a sensitive area of your body.

  2. With your legs on either side, sit or stand with your back to the taps.

  3. Lower yourself close enough to the flow of water to reach you. Adjust the spout if necessary.

  4. Rinse off and dry yourself with the towel dedicated to your bidet usage. 

  5. Choose a dedicated towel to dry your intimate areas.

  6. Don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards.

The Poll

Would you be more likely to buy a Cleaning or Laundry product that had a QR code visible on the pack over a product without a QR code? 

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Safety Warning

Do not mix cleaning products as it could generate harmful gasses. Always read the product instructions before use to make sure you are using it safely.

DOs and DON’Ts of using a bidet

There are some important DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to knowing how to use a bidet properly:

  • DON’T use the bidet as a urinal or alternative to the toilet. 

  • DON’T use the bidet as a foot spa to soak your feet. 

  • DON’T store things on your bidet. 

  • DO make sure you clean your bidet often, even if it has a self-cleaning function.

  • DO keep a towel solely for use with your bidet. 

How to clean a bidet: step-by-step

Now you know what a bidet is used for, it’s important to make sure it’s kept clean and germ-free. Although it’s not much different from cleaning a toilet, there are some tips and tricks specific to bidets. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to clean a bidet.

Before you begin, make sure you have the following: 

  • Rubber gloves

  • Sponge

  • Wipe cloths or tissues

  • Toilet cleaner, like Domex

  • A surface cleaner 

  1. Wearing your gloves, apply a toilet cleaner in order to will kill germs and remove any dirt or limescale. 

  2. Leave it to work for 10 minutes.

  3. Apply a disinfectant surface cleaner on the seat. Work the product in using a cloth or tissues. Don’t forget to clean the taps.

  4. Also wipe the surrounding area such as the floor, cleaning away any drips and stains.

  5. Return to the interior of the basin and brush it with a sponge. Scrub it well. 

  6. Rinse the basin with plenty of water from the taps. 

  7. If you have a bidet nozzle, you can clean it using vinegar and a soft toothbrush. Clean it once a month. To unclog a blocked nozzle, detach it and place it in a resealable bag filled with vinegar for 2-4 hours. Scrub it with a toothbrush and rinse it off.

  8. If you have a plastic bidet seat, do not use bleach. Instead, use a mild disinfectant or surface cleaner. Remember to clean under the seat. 

Now that you know the essentials of bidet usage and cleaning, discover more tips on Cleanipedia for cleaning your toilet and bathroom.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on using a bidet

Do you need to wipe before using a bidet?

If you are not a frequent bidet user you may have some questions on how best to use them. One common question is: do you need to wipe before using a bidet? The answer depends on the situation. Bidets are commonly used after going to the toilet so if there is a lot of poop, it may be cleaner to give yourself a wipe before using the bidet. Otherwise, it should be fine to not wipe beforehand.

How do you use a bidet shower?

A bidet shower is usually a handheld spray attachment to a regular toilet; they work much like a regular bidet, but how do you use a bidet shower? Sit on the toilet regularly and do your business. Spread your legs wide apart and turn on the spray nozzle, pointing it away from you down the toilet to check its pressure. Then direct the water on to your bottom to clean yourself. Some people may use a piece of toilet paper to dry themselves after.

Why use a bidet over toilet paper?

Despite the pressure of a bidet, they may be a lot gentler on your bottom than coarse toilet paper. Rubbing your sensitive bottom with toilet paper may even cause scratches and tears that may not happen with a bidet. Bidets may even be more environmentally friendly, water can be recycled, sterilized and cleaned, whereas used toilet paper may end up in landfills and may create more and more rubbish in the world.

Why should you not use a bidet for your feet?

Why should you not use bidets for your feet? Well, the answer is quite simple, they are designed for cleaning people’s bottoms. Most people will keep bidets clean and fresh but much like a regular toilet, you may not want to shove your feet in it.

Originally published