Bidet Benefits: What it is, What it Costs, and How to Use It
Despite being a normal fixture throughout Europe and Asia, bidets are still thought of as rare, unique and a newer concept in the United States.
In fact, following the coronavirus pandemic, bidets saw a surge in popularity stateside — at first, because of surrounding panic regarding toilet paper shortages. But since then, the intrigue has stayed strong, with manufacturers reporting a steady climb in bidet consumer interest.
So, what exactly is a bidet and what are its advantages? We’re here to break down everything you need to know about the benefits of a bidet.
What is a Bidet?
A bidet is a bathroom plumbing fixture that is designed to help users clean themselves after they use the toilet. It is considered a luxury item in the United States used for personal hygiene. In other regions, it is fairly ubiquitous with bathroom trips.
Traditionally, bidets are a separate toilet bowl with a water stream to clean up after using the toilet, but it is also popular to install a bidet attachment to your existing toilet.
How Do You Use a Bidet?
Typically, a bidet works as a freestanding plumbing fixture that is positioned near the toilet in your bathroom. The stand-alone fixtures require a licensed professional to install the bidet using existing plumbing. Some bidets spray water from the front toward the back while others spray water upwards from the bottom of the bowl.
Depending on the amount of space your bathroom possesses, a homeowner can also ask their trusted plumber about replacing their toilet for one with an integrated bidet washlet. Washlets function by integrating a bidet seat onto an existing toilet. Some manufacturers produce toilets with washlets already included. Others are sold as separate accessories and also require a nearby power source.
All bidets — standalone fixtures and washlets — operate with small jets and nozzles that project water for cleaning purposes.
Bidets are lauded for their efficiency. They reduce the amount of toilet paper homeowners use annually. Your home’s plumbing system will reap the benefits. Cutting down on the amount of toilet paper discarded puts less strain on pipes. Additionally, for those thinking about their environmental footprint, reducing toilet paper use can help reduce carbon emissions released when wood pulp is processed into making toilet paper.
Additionally, bidet users say the practice is hygienic. It is also simple for people with mobility issues, making a bidet a smart investment for homeowners considering aging in place.
How Much is a Bidet?
Bidets are a fairly affordable home improvement upgrade. Typically, the stand-alone fixtures will start at around $300. Installed, a homeowner can expect to pay up to $1,000 on average for a traditional bidet.
Of course, there are more expensive, luxury versions on the market depending on the features and aesthetic you’re looking for. Some come with extra features ranging from water temperature control and lights to Bluetooth speakers.
Separately, the more compact washlets that can be added atop an existing toilet seat start as low as $50 (but range in price to upwards of $1,000). They do not require professional installation. However, they may lack the longevity and customization options a more permanent fixture offers.
Bidets serve as a great, low-risk and minimal cost option when it comes to upgrading a bathroom. They are recommended by health professionals as a gentler alternative to using toilet paper. They’re also recommended by real estate agents, who say the addition can increase a home’s resale value. Modernize recommends speaking with a trusted bathroom contractor. You can discuss your options when it comes to installing a bidet and the potential benefits that come along with it.
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