A bidet is a low-mounted plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus. Originally a French word, in English "bidet" is pronEng|bɪˈdeɪ (US) or IPA|/ˈbiːdeɪ/ (UK).


"Bidet" is a French word for pony (and in Old French, "bider" meant "to trot"). This etymology comes from the fact that one "rides" a bidet much like one does a pony.

The "bidet" appears to have been an invention of French furniture makers in the late 17th or early 18th century, although no exact date or inventor is known. Theories exist that its inventor is Christophe Des Rosiers, furniture maker for the French Royal Family, but Marc-Antoine Jacoud is also rumored to have been the inventor. The earliest written reference to the bidet is in 1710. By 1900, due to plumbing improvements, the bidet (and chamber pot) moved from the bedroom to the bathroom. 1960 saw the introduction of the electronic bidet, an attachment which connects on to existing toilet arrangements — ideal for bathrooms lacking the space for a separate bidet and toilet.


Bidets are primarily used to wash and clean the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus. They may also be used to clean any other part of the body; they are very convenient for cleaning the feet, for example. Despite appearing similar to a toilet, it would be more accurate to compare it to the washbasin or bathtub. In fact, the bidet is used by some for a baby bath.

Users who are unfamiliar with bidets often confuse a bidet with a urinal, toilet, or even a drinking fountain. It is generally understood that the user should sit on a bidet facing the tap and nozzle but may also sit with back to the tap and wall.

Bidets are made in several different designs. They may have one tap which pours (usually warm) water into a china basin. The basin can be plugged and filled if necessary, or the water can be allowed to drain away. Other bidets have a nozzle which propels an arc of water up into the air. This jet of water is angled to easily attain the perianal and genital area.

Bidets are common bathroom fixtures in many southern European countries (especially Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece), some Latin American countries (especially Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay; there they are found in approximately 90% of householdsFact|date=July 2008), the Middle East and some parts of Asia (particularly in Japan, India, Sri Lanka and South Korea). Although France is the country where the word "bidet" originated, not every house is equipped with one, especially the smaller or cheaper flats. Although they do occasionally appear in the US, they are much less common there than in other countries.

Integration of toilet and bidet

A bidet may also be a nozzle attached to an existing toilet, or a part of the toilet itself. In this case, its use is restricted to cleaning the anus and genitals. Some bidets of this type have two nozzles, the shorter one, called the "family nozzle", is used for washing the area around the anus, and the longer one ("bidet nozzle") is designed for women to wash their vulva. These bidets are often controlled electronically rather than with a traditional tap, and some have an element under the seat which heats up to dry the user after washing. These bidet toilets have been popular in countries like India, and Sri Lanka since British colonial days, as the use of just dry toilet paper to clean the perianal area is considered dirty and unhygienic in these tropical regions. The nozzle is sometimes controlled with an external tap within the reach of the hand. Traditionally, local style squatting toilets have been more common in India and are more convenient to most Indians, especially of the lower classes. But with the rise of westernization, western style pots have started becoming more common, and the most convenient way to wash the perianal area with these pots is simply to attach a bidet nozzle.

In 1980 the first "paperless toilet" was launched in Japan, a combination toilet and bidet which also dries the user after washing. Combination toilet-bidets with seat warmers, or "washlets", are particularly popular in Japan and South Korea, found in approximately 60% of households. They are commonly found in hotels and even some public facilities. These bidet-toilets, along with toilet seat/bidet units (to convert an existing toilet) are sold in many countries including the United States. Google headquarters in Mountain View, California has them installed. For details see toilets in Japan.

Bidet attachments are sometimes included on hospital toilets because of their utility in maintaining hygiene. Currently (2007) in the U.S., bidets are not widespread due in part to their cost ($400+)Fact|date=May 2007, but are becoming increasingly popular, as witnessed by the increase in Toilet Seat Bidet market offerings and companies involved. In countries where the bidet is very common, prices are much lower. In Italy, for example, the price for a bidet seldom exceeds €200 (about $300 USD), and it is not uncommon to find bidets priced as low as €40 (about $60 USD), especially in do-it-yourself stores. An alternative in the USA would be buying a bidet attachment for regular American toilets. Many bidet retailers now offer toilet attachments that range from $79 to $650. In Middle Eastern countries, bidet attachments are much cheaper, being priced at around the equivalent of $10-20 USD, which is attributed to their popularity and availability.

Toilet seat bidet attachments are also becoming increasingly popular with the aging community. Many companies make bidet seat attachments that include remote controls to activate the water jets and air dryer. These conveniently placed remote controls may particularly benefit any individual with limited mobility.

ee also

* Toilet paper
* Lota (vessel)
* Toilet
* Domestic water system
* Hygiene
* Washlet

External links

* [ How to use a bidet.]
* [ Health benefits of using a bidet.]
* [ Bidet history summary and basic types.]
* [ Toilet Integrated Bidet Installation]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bidet — bidet …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Bidet — Bidet …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • bidet — [ bidɛ ] n. m. • 1534 « âne »; a. fr. bider « trotter »; o. i. 1 ♦ Petit cheval de selle. Par ext. et souvent par plais. Cheval. Enfourcher son bidet. « À dada sur mon bidet » (comptine). 2 ♦ (1739) Cuvette oblongue et basse, sur pied, servant à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Bidet — mit Mischbatterie. Ein Bidet (französisch, [biːdeː]) ist ein niedrig angebrachtes Sitzwaschbecken. Es dient zur Reinigung der Genitalien, des Anus und der Füße …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • bidet — BIDET. s. m. Petit cheval. Un petit bidet. Monter sur un bidet. [b]f♛/b] On appelle Double bidet, Un bidet plus grand et plus renforcé que les bidets ordinaires. [b]f♛/b] Dans les postes aux chevaux, on appelle Bidets, Les chevaux destinés à… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Bidet — Sn niedriges Waschbecken (zum Reinigen des Afters und der Genitalien) per. Wortschatz fach. (20. Jh.) Entlehnung. Im Neuhochdeutschen zusammen mit der Sache entlehnt aus gleichbedeutend frz. bidet m. Dieses bedeutet ursprünglich Pferdchen (wohl… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • bidet — BIDET. s. m. Petit cheval. Un petit bidet. monter sur un bidet. double bidet …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Bidet — (fr., spr. Bidäh), 1) Waschwanne; 2) Sitzbad, s.u. Bad I. A) b) aa); 3) Klepper, daher 4) B. neuf (spr. B. nöff, Thaler), französischer Thaler von 1724–26,10 od. 103/10 – 103/8 = 1 köln. rauhe Mark, 141 Loth sein = 1 Thlr. 71/2 Sgr. pr. Cour.; so …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bidet — Bi*det , n. [F. bidet, perh. fr. Celtic; cr. Gael. bideach very little, diminutive, bidein a diminutive animal, W. bidan a weakly or sorry wretch.] [1913 Webster] 1. A small horse formerly allowed to each trooper or dragoon for carrying his… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bidet — (frz. Bidäh), ein Klepper, kleines Pferd, eine Art Lehnstuhl; eine besondere Art Waschwännchen für Damen, auch Sitzbad. – Bidet neuf, der franz. Thaler von 1724, so genannt nach dem Münzzeichen, einem springenden Pferde …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • bidet — (del fr. «bidet», caballito; pronunc. [bidé]) m. Recipiente de aseo, adecuado para sentarse sobre él y lavarse las partes inferiores del cuerpo …   Enciclopedia Universal