History of Bidet
The earliest known written reference to the bidet is dated 1710. The bidet originated in France, at a time when full body bathing was done once a week. It was invented to cleanse the 'private' areas of the body, in-between regularly scheduled baths.
In 1750, the bidet � seringue appeared. It provided an upward spray through the use of a hand-pump fed by a reservoir.
Until the 1900's the bidet was confined to the bedroom, along with the chamber pot (a bucket that served as a toilet.)
Modern plumbing brought the bidet into the bathroom. Where it sits next to the toilet.
Popularity of the Bidet
In continental Europe, the usefulness of the bidet is fully understood and is considered to be as important in the bathroom as the toilet and the tub - no well equipped home is without one.
However, most Americans have never seen a bidet. Those who have, have generally observed them in upscale hotels, either in the U.S. or in Europe. Rare is the American home that actually has one!
To some, this seems a bit strange, considering the American preoccupation with cleanliness. But the majority of Americans start their day in the shower, rather than visit the bath tub once a week. Thus the use of the bidet for personal hygiene has not yet taken on an important role in America.
It is interesting to note, that American plumbing manufacturers are among the top producers of bidets, and almost all of these are exported to other countries.
Who uses them and why?
- The bidet can and is be used by both men and women. Bidets offer the user a hands-free and supposedly superior water wash in place of the wiping and occasionally irritating action of toilet paper.
An invaluable aid to person hygiene, the bidet is gaining popularity among senior citizens, the disabled and those with impaired motor functions. or incontinence.
Bidets are also used for sitz baths. A sitz bath (also called a hip bath) is a type of bath in which only the hips and buttocks are soaked in water or saline solution. Its name comes from the German verb sitzen, meaning to sit
- A sitz bath is used for patients who have had surgery in the area of the rectum, or to ease the pain of hemorrhoids, uterine cramps, prostate infections, painful ovaries, and/or testicles. It is also used to ease discomfort from infections of the bladder, prostate, or vagina. Inflammatory bowel diseases are also treated with sitz baths.
- In America, the bidet has developed an aura of indelicacy, largely due to its primary use - to clean the private body parts. But the bidet can be used for anything a wash basin is used for. From foot baths, to hand washing clothes, to soaking tennis shoes!
The Modern Bidet
- Today's bidet is a sit-down wash basin. Usually made from vitreous china, it is styled to resemble the shape of the toilet. The bidet is placed next to the toilet in the bathroom, an arrangement meant to encourage personal hygiene.
There are four basic types of bidets:
Over the Rim
- This model is fitted with a standard faucet. The bowl is filled with water the same way you fill a sink. This is generally the cheapest and simplest type to install. Having a rimless bowl makes easy to clean.
Heated Rim (flushing rim)
- This unit has Hot/Cold handles on top, but the water enters the bowl below the rim of the basin.
- The more popular models are equipped with a spray, which provides a gentle shower. There are two type of sprays:
- Vertical which has a fountain jet in the center of the bowl, and horizontal, which has special over the rim spout that delivers a horizontal stream of water.
- There is a possible risk of water becoming contaminated from back siphonage created by spray fittings. These units must be installed using backflow prevention devices, and should be installed by a plumbing contractor. As usual, consult local building codes before installing.
- Some models combine the heated rim and a vertical spray option in one unit.
- Bidets are offered in a host of styles, from the traditional to the contemporary, matching the toilet.
HOW do you use them?
- The conventional bidet is designed to be sat upon, legs astride, facing the taps (faucet). While sitting, you simply turn on the water. When the temperature is to your liking, you increase the pressure to direct a stream or spray of water towards those spots in need of cleansing.
- Some models are designed with seats, and the user sits on the bidet, the same way they would on a toilet. Controls for these models can be at the side, the front, or the rear of the unit.
- A wall mounted grab bar helps the user get up and down easily.
To make it more convenient for the user, place a shelf near the bidet to hold soaps, wash clothes, and towels.