What is a Bidet?
A bidet is a bathroom fixture that looks like a low sink used for washing and cleansing the genital area after using the toilet. These lowered sinks are usually positioned just beside the toilet bowl, but for bathrooms with limited space, some form of portable water sprayer can be attached on existing bowls.
Bidets originated in Europe, particularly in France at around 1710. During that time, it was common to take a whole body bath only once a week. So the bidet was needed to wash the body’s private parts on days that one is not taking a body bath. By 1750, some form of spray was included in the bidet setup, which was confined to bedrooms then. It was only in the late parts of 1900’s that the bidet setup was transferred to the bathroom, primarily due to advancements in plumbing. Bidets are popular in Europe and some parts of Asia, but not so much in the US.
Bidets of today look like wash basins, where you can sit on and they are still situated near the toilet bowls, for personal hygiene reasons. Males and females can use the bidet. And the most prominent part of the bidet setup is some form of a water sprayer to clean the genital area, replacing the use of tissue paper. In some units, the water sprayer may be held by the hand for proper hygiene. In some homes where there is no more space for a bidet unit to put beside the toilet bowl, one can avail of a portable water sprayer to be setup on the existing bowl. Other units have a faucet only, so one will simply fill the wash basin for his/her cleansing needs. Some are even equipped with hot or cold water options for cleaning the body’s private parts.
Bidets are said to be popular also among the elderly and the differently-abled persons, since these groups of people need some form of assistance in terms of personal hygiene activities. But besides its intended purpose for personal hygiene, bidets are also used for foot baths, soaking clothes, and hand washing.