Omigo bidet toilet seat

How to Use a Bidet Toilet Seat

Wondering how to use a bidet? Here's how your bum may benefit.
By Corey Whelan
April 20, 2021

Everyone goes to the bathroom, and everyone needs to clean up afterward. That's where a bidet can come in handy. If you don't know how to use a bidet, no worries. We've got your back. Literally. 

A bidet is a device that uses a stream of water to wash your genitals and rear end after toileting. 

Traditional bidets are low, oblong bowls with a plumbed-in water supply and drain. In Europe and Asia, it's not uncommon to see stand-alone bidets situated next to the toilet. The bathroom fixture may have earned its name from the French word for pony, since traditional, stand-alone bidets are meant to be straddled, as if you're riding on horseback.

In the United States, it's more common to see bidet toilet seats or bidet attachments fixed on standard toilet bowls, rather than stand-alone basins. These are easy to install, and they don't require a plumber's expertise. They don't take up additional room, making them perfect for apartment-sized bathrooms and guest rooms.    

How to use a bidet

How to use a bidet illustration
How to use a bidet illustration
How to use a bidet illustration

Using a bidet is as simple as it gets:

  1. Sit on the toilet.
  2. Do your business.
  3. Activate the wash feature on your bidet seat or attachment.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to wash your hands!

Tips on how to use a bidet  

Read the manual first.

There are many bidet models and manufacturers. Read the instruction manual that comes with your bidet before you use it. This will provide specific information about your type of bidet, and eliminate the possibility of you using it incorrectly. This can save you from accidentally scalding your skin, or washing your entire bathroom by using too much water pressure. 

Sit on the toilet seat just like you normally would.

Unlike a stand-alone bidet, you don't need to straddle your toilet seat backward. Simply sit down, do your business, and flush. You may wish to use toilet paper before you turn on the bidet, to remove some waste product. 

Start the wash, then adjust water pressure and temperature.

Once you're ready to activate the bidet, use your remote control or side buttons to turn on the water and modulate pressure. If you have an electric bidet, you can also use these controls to choose a comfortable water temperature.  

Adjust the nozzle angle.

Some toilet seat bidets have nozzles that can be angle-adjusted to cleanse your rear end or vagina. 

Open the toilet shut off valve for handheld models.

If you're using a handheld model, you'll need to open your toilet's shut off valve, usually with a clockwise turn, so water can flow into the bidet hose. Some handhelds have hold buttons or squeeze triggers that allow you to modulate water flow. 

Spray until you feel clean.

Aim the sprayer and allow the water stream to cleanse you from back to front for around 30 seconds, or for as long as you feel is appropriate. 

Choose your drying method.

Electric bidet toilet seats often have an air dry function. If your bidet does not have an air dry feature, dry off using toilet paper, and flush.  

Types of bidet seats and attachments

When choosing a bidet to add to your existing toilet, you have several options:

Electric bidet toilet seat

These take the place of standard toilet seats. They have a water heating system located within the seat itself that lets you control water temperature, for maximum comfort. Some have the ability to heat the seat itself, for extra cold weather comfort.  Other features you may enjoy include remote controls, oscillation jets, and warming air-dry jets that eliminate the need for toilet paper.  

Non-electronic bidet toilet seat

Since they have fewer bells and whistles, non-electric bidets are significantly less expensive. They also eliminate the need to run an unsightly electrical cord to an electricity source. There are two types of non-electric bidet seats—one that connects to your sink's hot water line and one that connects directly to your toilet's clean water line. If the model offers warm water or water temperature control without electricity, it must connect to the sink hot water line. While a non-electric model that connects to the toilet water line is likely less expensive and easier to install, the main drawback is the limited choice of water temperature. With this bidet, you can only choose between cold and cold.  

Non-electric handheld bidet

These attachments resemble handheld shower heads. Handheld bidets attach to your toilet's cold water line, and are mounted to the toilet tank or wall. The benefit of a handheld bidet is the long hose that allows you to direct the water stream exactly where you want it. Handheld bidets typically have several water pressure settings you can choose between.    

Portable bidet

Once you have a bidet, you won't want to be without one, even on the go. There are several different types of portable bidets. Some resemble collapsible water bottles you fill up and squirt. Others have long, retractable nozzle heads with multiple holes for a gentle cleaning experience away from home.  

Benefits of bidets 

Bidets get you cleaner.

The first and most obvious benefit of using a bidet is cleanliness. No matter what type you use, you'll be upping your hygiene game. Water, warm or cold, simply cleans better than dry toilet paper. 

Bidets can help people with mobility limitations to regain independence.

If you're pregnant, elderly, or simply have difficulty cleaning your rear manually, a bidet can help you feel much cleaner. 

Bidets are better for the environment.

You'll be reducing the amount of toilet paper you use, an environmental and economical plus. 

Bidets are easier on your plumbing than wipes.

If you currently use wipes, you'll be doing your bathroom pipes a favor. Even flushable wipes take a much longer time than toilet paper to decompose. Oftentimes, they're the root of sewer system backups, overflow, clogs, and blockages that require expensive, professional removal. 

Those wipes aren't doing the environment any good, either. Many contain preservatives, chemicals, and plastic fibers that contaminate waterways. Wipes are often mistaken for food and eaten by sea creatures, who suffer damaging and sometimes fatal consequences.

Bidets clean you naturally, without additives or skin irritants.

If you have frequent anal itch or a rash on your rear, wipes may be to blame. Baby wipes that contain preservatives have been found to cause contact dermatitis in adults who use them. The water pressure supplied by a bidet can eliminate the need for wipes completely. 

The downside 

Bidets are not without "cons."

You must keep your bidet clean.

Keeping your toilet bowl's interior clean and washing the nozzle and bidet seat with an antibacterial cleanser is imperative. Bacteria can grow unchecked on these surfaces, eliminating the squeaky-clean factor you're using your bidet for. In hospital settings, bidets have been shown to spread germs from patient to patient.

Some of the higher-end bidet seats and attachments come with self-cleaning nozzles to eliminate bacteria and other germs, which may be worth the cost.

Handheld bidet heads can become moldy or contaminated if they're not cleaned often, especially if they routinely touch the surface of your skin.  

Using a bidet improperly may cause problems.

Bidets have been linked to bacterial vaginitis. Since fecal bacteria can cause this condition, you may be able to avoid it by making sure your bidet is washing you the healthy way, from front to back, rather than from back to front. 

Now that your bum is clean, go conquer the world. 

Corey Whelan is writer, health care professional, and Brooklyn, New York native. She is a reproductive health advocate who has helped countless patients through the trials and triumphs of infertility and adoption over the past 25 years. Corey's passion is sharing her knowledge of health and wellness through her writing, and no topic is off limits. She's mom to two grown children and two rescue dogs who captured her heart.