What Everyone Ought to Know About Bidet Seats and the Luxury they Add to Life

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
Bidets and bidet seats are an often overlooked luxury with heated seats, warm water massage, deodorizers, and warm air dryers.  Hugely popular in Japan, Americans haven't really discovered this arcane opulence.  Although I'm not going to go into the luxury of being pampered by having a bidet, I will say besides the comfortable, well-being a bidet provides it provides medical benefits and independence as well. 

What is a bidet?


A bidet/bidet seat (US Listeni/bɨˈd/ or UK /ˈbd/) is a plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus.- Wikipedia. 


 

Obviously a bidet seat is highly recommended for:

  • People with paralysis.
  • Shoulder limitations.
  • Parkinson's disease.
  • Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • People with reach limitations.
  • Parents that you love.

Did you also know that bidet seats also provide relief for:

  •  Hemorrhoids.
  • Rectal prolapse.
  • Anal fissure.
  • Anal fistula.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Crohn's disease. 
  • Ostomy
  • Anal Fissure Hemorrhoids Rectal Prolapse Anal Fistula Anal Itching Ulcerative Colitis Irritable Bowel Syndrome Crohn's Disease Ostomy - See more at: http://www.bidet. 
In this article I will mostly be discussing bidet seats, although there are free-standing bidets available as well.  Not all bidet seats have the same features, here are some features that are available.

Bidet Seat Features:

  • Heated seats.
  • Heated water-this from what I've seen is standard, although some bidets have a small tank that heats the water while others have an instant hot water system.
  • Heated air dry.
  • Electrical vs non-electrical.
  • Feminine wash.
  • Adjustable water heat and pressure.
  • Adjustable spray width.
  • Automatic open seats.
  • Enema wash.
  • Self-cleaning nozzles.
  • Nozzle sterilization.
  • Deodorizers.
  • Night lights.
  • Remote, side mount, or wall mount controls.
  • Adjustable massage features for the water. 

Cleaning Power Provided by Bidet Seats:

So, how much time is needed for cleaning?  For someone who is fairly clean after number two and it only takes you one wipe to get yourself clean, then 20 to 30 seconds may be sufficient.  For someone who it takes you two or three wipes or more to get clean then consider getting a Bidet that gives provides up to 60 seconds of warm water cleaning time.  Something else to consider, if you frequently have diarrhea then you definitely want a Bidet that has up to 60 seconds of cleaning time and also a wide water spray.

When a woman does number one and two at the same time, it’s obvious it will take more time and if you have a Bidet Toilet Seat that only gives you 20 seconds of warm water, that most likely won’t be enough.

Water Tank Heating System vs Tankless Heating System:

Water tank:  This system has a holding tank that keeps the water in the tank a constant temperature.  One of the downfalls to the water tank is you may run out of water after 30-50 seconds, but most tanks heat the water quite fast.

Instant heater:  Utilizes instant water heating technology so you have an endless supply of heated water.  As a woman, I say unlimited hot water is the only way to go.

** Note:  According to Bidet Toilet Seat Reviews the instant or 'tankless' water system utilizes less electricity than the water tank system because although the tankless water system utilizes more electricity to heat the water, the water tank system heats the water continuously.

Controls:

There are two types of bidet seat controls, a remote that can be held or mounted on the wall or controls that are mounted on the seat.

 
 Remote:  The remote can be independent or mounted on the wall.




Mounted on the Seat:  The seat mounted controls are a bit difficult to use unless you have very small hips or have the mobility to lean.

 

Problems with some Bidet Seats:

1. Most of the units sold in the US have a water stream that does not always get you fully clean, unless you move your bum from side to side. This is especially difficult for people with physical limitations.
2. Limited warm water supply of 50 seconds or less and or cold water at the beginning of the wash cycle, not a good thing when in the winter time. That cold burst of cold water is a little shocking.
3. You have to uninstall your bidet to drain the water out of it, if you are leaving for an extended vacation. If you are not mechanically inclined or have a hard time using your hands, this can be quite challenging and time consuming work. There are models on the market with drainage systems that are quick and easy.
4. Difficulty in replacing or cleaning the nozzle. This is not a fun task to do and making it easy takes the dread out of it.
5. Front (feminine) wash nozzle that does not come forward or wide enough, creates extra work and frustration.
6. Deodorizer fan that cannot be turned off. If you don’t like the sound of the fan you need to have a choice.
7. Make sure that you get a bidet seat that can handle the weight of the user, most seats that I have seen are good up to 350 pounds, some can handle 400 pounds be sure to check to be certain.

Installation:  

I think one thing that may prevent people from entertaining the idea of having a bidet is the idea that bidets are difficult to install and require a plumber or an electrician.  If you have a GFI plug near your toilet installation is easy. 
  1. Attach bidet seat to toilet in same holes that the toilet seat attaches, I would then caulk around the base of the bidet where is rests on the toilet so that it would not require disassembly to clean.
  2. Screw into toilet water supply, all bidet seats I've seen come with an attachment that makes this easy.
  3. Plug into GFI outlet, cords are usually 3' long.
** Special thanks to Bidet Toilet Seat Reviews.

Video of a bidet in action:






3 comments:

Gunnar said...

It seems apparent from the growth in popularity of such seats and other technology related to the toilet that electric outlets need to be located near toilets as a rule not exception. The benefits to our aging population as well as those with numerous disabilities and especially those who simply want to be able to clean themselves after using the toilet seem to make it imperative that all new construction and renovations of bathrooms should include a GFCI outlet near every toilet.
I foresee a day in which most health monitoring is done not by nurses but by toilet seats that are capable of measuring weight, blood pressure, temperature, blood sugar levels, and many others and reporting the results directly to a nurses station, your doctor's office, a clinic by modem and you won't even need to leave your home or have a visitor come to check up on you. There will be built in alarms telling your doctor if some parameter is out of whack!
If you are a designer, architect or bathroom remodeler you don't want your designs to become out of date. An additional outlet during the construction phase is much less expensive that one installed after the bathroom is completed.

Karen Koch said...

Excellent points Gunnar. I have never thought about health monitoring via a toilet seat but it makes perfect sense especially as far as human output goes. Thank you for your insights.

Karen

minda moshe-hayat said...

That's a beautiful and informative post. In addition, I feel that people should also be aware of the low-end options available for them.

What a great idea, using the toilet as a tool to measure health.