The 10 Best Bidet Toilet Seats
Evolution Of The Bidet
The Bidet is considered a French invention, but the earliest written reference is actually from Italy in 1710. These first primitive bidets were nothing like the fancy models we have today, many of which can spray hot or cold water, and have built-in dryers and deodorizers. They started as a simple bowl one could squat over and were used in the bedroom as opposed to the bathroom.
In 1750, the bidet à seringue made its first appearance. This evolution of the bidet included a reservoir that fed into a hand pump, which produced an upward spray for cleaning the genitals. Bidets didn't change much over the next 150 plus years until the 1900s when modern plumbing allowed an American toilet manufacturer to bring it into the bathroom. This new incarnation of the bidet was as a porcelain fixture that was installed next to the toilet. It had a spray faucet and knobs for adjusting the pressure when cleaning the private parts. In 1928, John Harvey Kellogg patented an anal douche that was designed to attach to a toilet, as opposed to a completely separate unit.
The first toilet seat with a fully integrated bidet was made in the United States in 1964, but it never caught on in the U.S. Instead, it became wildly popular in Japan. In the 1980s Japan started developing super high-tech bidets with more and more features. The first of these was the inclusion of hot and cold water. Over time bidets starting appearing with features like auto lid opening, auto flushing, heated seats, a blow dryer, and even some massage options. Now many include a wireless control panel, soap dispensers, self-cleaning nozzles and multiple settings for kids and adults.
Types Of Bidets
Bidets can come as traditional separate standalone models or in a toilet seat design. Standalone models get installed next to your toilet, but you'll need a lot of extra space in your bathroom as well as some plumbing know-how or a professional to do it correctly.
Traditional bidets come in two main categories: over the rim and heated rims. Over the rim bidets have a horizontal spray to allow water to flow downward over your private parts and into the bidet basin, similar to the way a sink is filled with water. Heated rim bidets have a fountain jet near the center of the bidet basin. This allows it to spray water upwards in a vertical fashion to clean the genitals. There are also combination bidets that have both horizontal and vertical sprays.
A better choice for the average homeowner is to look at the many electric bidet toilet seats available on the market. This type gets installed onto your existing toilet in the same manner as a traditional toilet seat. Not only are electric bidet toilet seats easier to install, they won't look out of place in your home and come with many of the advanced features mentioned in the previous section.
In many south and southeastern Asian countries, they have what is known as a bidet shower. These are akin to sprayers found on kitchen sinks as they are attached to a long hose and have a hand-held trigger style nozzle.
Theories On Why Most Americans Don't Use Bidets
It's hard to pinpoint exactly why bidets haven't experienced the same popularity in America as they have in many European and Asian countries, but there are quite a few interesting theories floating around.
Some believe it goes back to the the disdain that Britons in the 18th century had for their French neighbors. Early Americans took much of their cultural attitude from their British heritage and, just as the English looked down upon the hedonistic and decadent lifestyle of the French, so too did the American colonists. This may have led to the lack of bidets in early America, which has continued to this very day.
Another theory goes back to the days of World War II when many American soldiers had their first encounter with bidets in French brothels. As America has always been a somewhat conservative nation, this may have led to the belief that bidets could be associated with immorality and iniquity.
Still a third argument can be made that it relates to the physical aspect of what takes place when using a bidet in the traditional manner. Unlike with toilet paper, where a piece of paper protects your hand from direct contact with your anus, bidets were traditionally used in a manner where the bare hand was used to splash and clean your buttocks. This practice rarely continues these days as modern plumbing and water pressure no longer make this a necessity.
Whatever the reason for the lack of popularity in the past, the modern electric bidet toilet seats are experiencing a huge surge in public demand and there is reason to believe that the future of bidets in America is looking very bright.