Saturday, November 17, 2012

In praise of a bidet

Blue Bidet BB-1000 installed on a toiletHere's hoping this can go down as my weirdest post ever.

Just before Alrik was born a year and a half ago, we bought and installed two bidet seat attachments to our toilets, and I am here to tell you of my continuing satisfaction with the choice. Ready?

The bidet we chose was the Blue Bidet BB-1000: Ambient Temperature Water Bidet. Doesn't it sound fierce? The BB-1000, suckas!

I want to make it clear that we paid for both our bidets and that I'm not being compensated for this post. I'm writing about bidets for free. I cannot say that frequently and proudly enough.

Why a bidet?

Why not a bidet?

Oh, wait — you want more? Oh, ok. Well, then:

Blue Bidet BB-1000
Does this picture amuse everyone else as much as it does me? That's quite the stream!

  • It makes you cleaner: I used to keep flushable wipes handy to use when I felt dingy after a poo or during that time of the month. Now I can just use fresh water, which was really all I needed and which does a much better job than the questionable ingredients in a disposable wipe!
  • It reduces toilet paper usage: I thought a bidet was a great resource to combine with my switch to family cloth. You can wash away the bulk of the yuck, then pat dry.
  • It's soothing: You know why I was in such an all-fire hurry to get my bidets installed before Alrik's birth? Because I knew from my postpartum peri-bottle addiction after Mikko's arrival that I would want a spray of cold, fresh water to dull the sting of peeing on stitches and healing skin. Sure enough, the bidets were my life-saver in those postpartum weeks! I can't recommend them highly enough for those times. If you suffer from hemorrhoids or yeast infections or irritable bowel syndrome or anything else that makes things ouchie when you're on the pot, you will also enjoy the soothing spray. If you're constipated, an off-books use might be as an impromptu enema if you turned the spray to full. Just saying.
  • It comes in handy for baby care: I use my bidets for cloth diapers and elimination communication (potty learning), too. Holding the diaper carefully, I've gotten the bidet to spray sticky poop off cloth diapers, saving me the cost of a separate diaper sprayer. And I use it to rinse out our little potties after a pottytunity. Keep in mind that the bidet sprays straight up out of the toilet, so make sure whatever you're spraying at is in place before you turn the dial!
  • It's green: The bidet we chose doesn't use electricity and just hooks to the cold-water (room-temperature) inlet on the toilet. I was afraid we might use a lot more water than usual, but I don't run it on high or for very long. Plus, the savings in toilet paper has made it well worth it.

Why the BB-1000?

I researched the heck out of this purchase before deciding on the Blue Bidet BB-1000, and I chose it for a number of reasons, which I will list forthwith:
  • It's a toilet seat attachment, not a separate bidet: This is crucial since we don't have space for a bidet proper. Also? I actually love that it's connected and wouldn't want to have to move my butt to another washing space. It's also pretty low-profile for a bidet attachment; we saw many clunkier models. Oh, people will still want to know what the heck is on your toilet, but it's modest and doesn't get in your way as you're doing your thing.
  • It's relatively inexpensive: I've seen the BB-1000 bounce around the $60-70 range. Some bidets cost thousands of dollars, no {potty word redacted}. On that note:
  • It's simple: That means less to break and easier to install. There are bidets that are electronic, that plug into an outlet and have warm- and cold-water hookups and blow dry your bum for you. This one hooks up to the cold water line from your toilet (it's clean water, don't worry) and is just mechanical, so even we DIY-challenged sorts could install it without mishap in under half an hour, and there's less to go wrong in the future. Since our toilet upstairs is nowhere near a hot-water line (the sink is in a separate room — don't get me started), hooking up to just the cold-water line was much simpler. I also felt, perhaps irrationally, that plugging something that uses water into an outlet (which we also don't have near our upstairs toilet) is asking for electrocution, particularly when young children are around.
  • It has good reviews: And here's another! Snap! I really did read all the bidet recommendations I could get my greedy eyes on, at various stores and on home improvement forums and on a bidet review site (I swear that exists), and this one had a good balance of positives with a few quibbles. Some people, for instance, prefer having the option of warm water, which you can get with the BB-3000 for one example, but other people said that they have the warm-water option but still use the cold most of the time since it's more refreshing and you don't have to wait for it to warm up. Since our cold water lines are coming through a larger building and not from straight outside, we figured we were safe enough to make do with cold water, and it's been fine, even in winter. It does take a little getting used to the first jets of "refreshing" water, but I power through it. I don't know if this sounds like a plus or not, but after several seconds, the coldness numbs you anyway, so it doesn't hurt.

Installing ye olde BB-1000

t-connector-hoses to Blue Bidet BB-1000 hooked up to toilet and cold water supplyThe bidet ships with all the parts you need for installation, and they've upgraded the connectors to be metal after feedback from customers that the plastic was cheap (so if you see complaints about plastic in reviews, the connections are metal now). It also includes full instructions in English and Spanish, and there are videos on the manufacturer's site if you want a walk-through.

I won't go over the steps in detail, but just give a sense of how easy it is. There used to be one hose connecting your toilet to the cold water supply. You use a T-connector to let you hook two hoses up to the same water supplyone hose goes back to your toilet, and one goes to the bidet. Yes?

Installing the bidet attachment to the seat is just a matter of unscrewing a toilet seat, popping in some rubber washers, and screwing it back together with the bidet attachment underneath, which you can see in the picture at the top of this post. No problemo.

Using your bum-and-panty-parts freshener

  1. Do your business. (You can have the bidet running if it helps ease things out, such as when postpartum.)
  2. Turn the bidet dial gently and gradually. We rarely go beyond a quarter-turn. I can't even imagine the force of a full turn on my delicacy and guess it would be enema-riffic.
  3. Adjust your body to find the right angle and spread for the water to hit the sweet spots.
  4. Turn it off and, as you wish, pat dry or finish wiping. Easy!

Quirks and downsides of having a bidet

  • It's a conversation piece: You have to be bold and own that you are a bidet user. Because anyone who uses your bathroom will want to talk about the bidet. It's just a given.
  • You have to adjust your water pressure: We're not sure if this is bidet-related or our-stupid-place-related, but we had to turn our water pressure down to stop an annoying pipe hiss. The bidet still has enough pressure to squirt, though.
  • You'll still need to wipe: Some people claim their toilet paper usage has gone down 75% since installing a bidet attachment. Well, mine has, too — but only because I use family cloth. I could avoid wiping post-pee by just spraying and letting my undies pat me dry — but I don't feel like walking around in damp undies, thank you. And I don't want to get too graphic, but I still need to wipe after #2 unless I wanted to let it spray at my cheeks for a half-hour. However, it does take away a lot of the wiping burden during my period.
  • Be cautious if you've got girl parts: This is perhaps more paranoia, but I worry that the stream will blow waste material forward into places it should not be. Make sure you aim yourself right or do lots of rinsing, and then, as always, wipe front to back if you're wiping. Now, I haven't had any UTIs since getting a bidet, so it's not some huge risk — I just have made myself be careful about the potential for moving bacteria forward rather than down.
  • I can't get Mikko to try it: He'll helpfully turn it on for his dad and me like an underpaid bidet attendant, but he's still freaked out at the idea of having something spraying him in the behind. Fair enough.
  • Cleaning it takes some reaching: There's nothing special required to clean it, but you might need a toothbrush to reach any gunk between where it attaches and your toilet seat. The nozzle has a self-cleaning feature where it sprays a hard stream directly down into the toilet, so you don't have to touch it to get any mis-aimed grossness off.

All in all, we love our bidets! I bought the first one and used it for awhile before we invested in the second. When I first had the brainstorm to get one, I thought Sam might have been like, "You want to buy what for what?" but he was totally on board, too. Now that we've been using them for a year and a half, I am still enthusiastic.

All this is why, when I watch home improvement shows where homeowners disparage the presence of a bidet in a bathroom, I shout at the television, "You don't know what you're missing!"

Join me in the bidet revolution, won't you?

bidet ready for use

Have you ever used a bidet? Would you, could you, envision one in your bathroom?

Swish like a Hobo Mama!

Blue Bidet BB-1000

Amazon Buy Now button

Disclosure: I purchased my bidets myself,
because I am like that.
Amazon links are affiliate links.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
See my full disclosure policy here.


Anonymous said...

I totally want one! Is that weird? Not to you I guess...

I wonder if Hubs could be convinced.

I did consider an attachment of some sort when I was pregnant with Monkey, but it never happened because they all seemed so complicated or problematic or something. But I guess I never found the BB 1000!

Maybe I should get pregnant again and tell Hubs I need one...

Unknown said...

Well thank you so much for this very thorough review! We're in the market for a bidet, so I'm more than glad to be able to benefit from your extensive research (and experience!).

Now I want to know: Can it be installed on either side of the toilet, or is it intended for the right-hand side of the bowl?

Mrs.WJAA said...

I can totally see why the folks on home improvement shows would complain about a separate bidet in the room, it takes up a bit of room, and they could always get one similar to the one you have to get the same benefits (without having to change seats to get clean..) that said, I want one now:)

Unknown said...

Interesting. Yes, I think you win you're requested reward. And another for though review!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea they were so affordable... Now I want one even more. Thanks for the informative post!

Lauren Wayne said...

@boringyear: It's totally UNweird! Ha ha ha! Yes, I urge you to use pregnancy to further your bidet dreams… ;)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Amy Rhime: I've updated to include a photo of the bidet uninstalled, and you can see it's a single piece of molded plastic, so the dial is always on the right-hand side. I looked to see if they make left-hand bidet controls and didn't have luck, but maybe you would. However, controlling the dial isn't tricky, so I think I could do it fine with my left hand (and I'm right-handed). I can test it out if you'd like!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Mrs.WJAA: Oh, I'd be fine if they were all like, "A bidet! How fancy and yet sensible! But we can just get the BB-1000 and install it on our own toilet, so let's rip out this older model, dear." But instead they're all like, "A bidet? Seriously? As if!"

Silly homeowners. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Janine Fowler - Alternative Housewife: I know, right? I was so excited when I found out they were really an option. I had originally considered rigging up a handheld diaper sprayer and using that for bidet purposes as needed, but this is much comfier (and easier to install).

Kel said...

I never would have considered getting a bidet, but our diaper sprayer says on the package that it's also a bidet, and I finally tried it. It comes in handy pretty often! Looking forward to it postpartum. Also useful for washing away... um... I guess "prostaglandin containing fluids" is the most delicate way I can say it :) if you don't like the feeling. And for a quick diva cup rinse.
One perk of the diaper sprayer as bidet is that I don't have to worry about it firing from the back as you mentioned. Customizable angle.

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