Toilet paper vs. a bidet
With toilet paper in short supply, many people are switching over to bidets that you can attach to the side of your toilet. I know bidets are very popular and common place in countries other than the US, but it is something I’m not too familiar with.
Do any of you have one? What was installation like? What are the steps to using one? Do you recommend it to others?
Watermelon Samurai - November 22, 2020
My wife, born & raised in Europe, grew up with bidets and is a big fan of them. So midway through The Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020, I suggested we install a bidet (one of the hand-held spray types). She was instantly supportive of the idea. We picked out a model, discussed how & where to mount it, and I was all set to make the purchase. Then she asked “How do you set the temperature?” I replied that we only have a cold water line available, and the idea of installing the bidet instantly died: “I am NOT spraying cold water on my tailpipe.”
So if you’re living in a climate where the cold water gets colder than you want to spray on your tailpipe, then make sure you have a hot water line available & you buy a model with a temperature adjustment. Otherwise the bidet may be used less often than you originally thought…
Liz Klein - November 22, 2020
That is so funny! But i’m certainly glad you brought that up. It could be quite the way to wake up some winter morning.
Rich DCContributor - November 22, 2020
I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but since you’re asking:
Tushy is a brand that had enough humor that I let myself get strong armed into installing one (peer pressure from the household helped).
Be aware, others have thought of this idea so there might be delays in order fulfillment (mine was delayed a week or three late back in May/April when supply chains were pretty bad). Look for the fine print on checkout/before hitting confirm (its not always super obvious).
Installation was easy (YouTube it) if you’ve ever done anything with plumbing at all (turn off water BEFORE you start taking things apart…). There are plastic fittings and rubber gaskets so you don’t need to worry about teflon tape, really.
One thing they don’t mention, with the style that attaches under the toilet seat, it effectively raises the back of the toilet seat hinge causing a downward angle in front. You can buy “bidet bumpers” to level things out (rubber/plastic feet that attach to the toilet seat and raise it more than the built in variety, just search amazon). Also, since I didn’t have these bumpers on hand the first toilet seat needed to eventually be replaced (weight at odd angles can torque hardware and cause things to crack) so its not exactly a miracle product. The new toilet seat with bumpers hasn’t had any major issues. Your mileage may vary.
Usage is straight forward, if weird at first. There is a “nozzle wash” which just washes the nozzle before getting down to business. You sort of have to ‘move the target’ to where the water is aimed, the angle selector only does so much. You figure it our after a couple tries. Consider a test usage at first. I kid you not, I brought up a plate to act as a deflector and held it so any water would drip/splash in the bowl because I had no idea what to expect when first testing/turning the water back on (I wanted to see what it did before testing on myself).
Contrary to popular belief… this isn’t going to eliminate the need for toilet paper! In fact if you overuse it/don’t learn what angles work well for you – you might end up using more (water is wet, go figure)! But in an emergency you could imagine using a bidet for 95%-99% or your business and resorting to rags/cut up t-shirts to just dry off and after you’re clean.
As mentioned, if you don’t have a hot water line, your only option is cold water (electricity hooked up to a water appliance weirds me out… so I’m not comfortable with a heater). I haven’t hit the dead of winter yet but if you tell yourself it’s refreshing its not too bad. It’s also just an option to have one as a “back up” in case.
So not a slam dunk, but it beats the alternatives when TP isn’t on the table. Also, if you leave for a long trip consider turning water off to your house, not the worst advice in general but adding a water line outside of a natural drain is a failure point you don’t want to come home to after a week away (no reason to suspect its an issue for this specifically, I’m just paranoid about water lines breaking).
River - November 23, 2020
Easy to install in about 20 minutes (side mounted spray bidet aka a cloth diaper cleaner). The price is right and we just use washcloths to dry off after use. I know some people use some cut up flannel for drying or toilet paper (you’d definitely need less with the bidet).
Bill Gabriel - November 26, 2020
I use an electric bidet robot thing that has a hot water tank, heated seat, heated air drying, and the nozzle can move around. Bliss! Fortunately there is a GFCI outlet right above my toilet so the installation was easy. You remove the old seat, attach the bidet seat, plug it in to the outlet, and install a tap on the water line that goes to the tank. As long as you can see the shut off valve to turn it off it is super easy. I did have to replace the water line to the toilet tank tho because the one that was installed was a hard plastic line that couldn’t bend to give space for the “T” tap fitting.
As the other commenters have said, a bidet won’t entirely eliminate the need for toilet paper. Even with heated drying you will need a little bit to dry off, and depending on your diet the water may not get you 100% clean the first time. I will say tho it has been about 10 months since I last bought toilet paper – one roll can last me weeks. I will never go back to using just TP now I’ve experienced that bidet life – the difference in perceived cleanliness is just too huge. Imagine putting your hand in dog poop and wiping it with just dry TP. Would that feel clean to you? And its so much more comfortable.
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