We hope you like the products we recommend! All have been independently selected by our editors. For your information, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you choose to make purchases from them. Oh and FYI – prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publication.
Imagine this: you have food poisoning. After spending most of the night on the toilet, the thought of rubbing your butt with another piece of dry toilet paper makes you want to cry.
Then there’s this scenario: the infamous toilet paper shortage of March 2020, where people scrambled to find toilet paper when store shelves emptied.
Both of these situations could benefit from a softer, more durable toilet paper alternative that some parts of the world have used for ages – the bidet.
What exactly is a bidet?
Bidets are self-contained plumbing fixtures designed to wash the genital and anal area with a gentle stream of water (essentially, a shower for your buttocks). They are found in the bathrooms of many countries.
However, bidets are rare in the United States and are unlikely to become popular soon. (Who has the money or the space for two toilet-sized fixtures in every bathroom?) However, some companies are leading a poo revolution with accessories, bidet conversion kits, and toilet seats. toilet that mimic the experience you get with a stand-alone device.
Bidet attachments offer a gentler way to cleanse that can be especially helpful for people with certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome; Crohn’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract; certain thyroid conditions; or even celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten that damages the small intestine.
This gentler option may also be useful for “hyper wipers” or those who tend to overdo it when wiping to feel clean, said Dr Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at the hospital. NYU Langone. Some people scrub too hard with toilet paper, which can irritate hemorrhoids or cause small tears called anal fissures, both of which can lead to bleeding.
Bidets can be used to wash the vulva or after childbirth to allow sensitive or compromised tissue to heal. (Bidets are for external use only; douching can cause infections.)
A bidet attachment won’t introduce bacteria into the vagina when used correctly, says Dr. Anna Cabeca, board-certified OB-GYN, chief medical officer of Golden Isles Medical Spa and author of the book. . MenuPause. (Similar to wiping back and forth, some attachments have a feminine wash setting that directs water back and forth.)
Bidets can help you save toilet paper
There are other advantages of bidets. You can save money on toilet paper, and reducing toilet paper consumption is also good for the environment. (After rinsing, you usually only need a little toilet paper to dry off, unless there’s a drying feature that lets you skip the need for toilet paper altogether. )
Americans make up only 4% of the world’s population, but are responsible for 20% of global toilet paper consumption. The average American uses over 140 rollers. or about 28 pounds of toilet paper per year, making the country the world leader in toilet paper consumption. Less than 2% of this market is made up of recycled products.
This use and production of toilet paper is driving “forest degradation in the southeastern United States,” according to advocacy group Environment America.
Bidets may also be less likely to spread bacteria. In a 2022 study published in the Journal of Water and Health, 32 participants used toilet paper or an electric toilet seat with a stream of water after a bowel movement. Researchers found that study subjects had less bacteria on their hands with bidet use than with toilet paper.
How bidet attachments work
Installing a bidet accessory may be easier than you think. All you have to do is remove the toilet seat, turn the valve to shut off your toilet’s water source, and detach the pipe that carries it to the toilet tank, said James Lin, founder from e-commerce retailer BidetKing, a site that sells products for bidets.
The bidet should come with an adapter that you then attach to the water source. This will route water through the bidet nozzle before it reaches the toilet tank. It’s the same water you shower and brush your teeth with, so you won’t wash with dirty toilet water. Then you simply put the toilet seat back in place, which will completely cover the base of the attachment, so the only visible part will be the nozzle protruding slightly just below the back of the seat.
“Electronic seats are a bit more complicated,” Lin told BuzzFeed News. “But in terms of installation, they get the water exactly the same.”
Electric bidet toilet seats require a plug unlike non-electric attachments, which only connect to your water source. Not everyone has an outlet next to their toilet, but you can use an extension cord or have an electrician install a new outlet.
Electric bidet seats have the added luxury of heat, both in the water and on the seat itself, unlike other attachments, which only provide cold water. Some bidet attachments can connect to your hot water supply, although similar to water from your sink or shower, it can take a few seconds to heat up, meaning the initial contact will be cold water .
Both options have similar bidet spouts that shoot water at an angle from the back of the toilet to your butt (or wherever you want). Many are also adjustable to ensure you get the perfect angle. Or, if you want the most direct and controlled wash, you can get a handheld bidet sprayer that attaches to or next to the toilet.
While Rajapaksa and Cabeca agreed that bidets aren’t essential and won’t treat or cure anything, they might be a more comfortable and less irritating option if that’s what you prefer. Here are the best bidet attachments and bidet toilet seats to consider for a more pleasurable pooping experience.