Anal cleansing

Anal cleansing

Anal cleansing is the important [ Anal Cleansing ] ] hygienic practice of cleaning the anus after defecation.

The anus and buttocks may be cleansed with toilet paper or similar paper products, especially in many Western countries. Elsewhere, water may be used (using a jet, as with a bidet, [In Japan, some toilets known as washlets are designed to wash and dry the anus of the user after defecation.] or splashed and washed with the hand). In other cultures and contexts, materials such as rags, sand, leaves (including seaweed), the left hand, corn cobs or sticks are used.


The use of toilet paper for post-defecation cleansing was first started in China. It became widespread in Western culture. In some parts of the world, especially before toilet paper was available or affordable, the use of newspaper, telephone directory pages, or other paper products were common. "Old Farmer's Almanac" was sold with a hole punched in the corner so it could be hung on a nail in an outhouse. The widely-distributed Sears catalog was also a popular choice until it began to be printed on glossy paper (at which point some people wrote to the company to complain). In modern flush toilets, using newspaper as toilet paper is liable to cause blockages. This practice continues today in Africa; while rolls of Western-style toilet paper are readily available, they can be fairly expensive, prompting less well-off members of the community to utilize newspapers, etc, and particularly corncobs.


Using water to clean oneself, often along with toilet paper or sometimes in lieu of toilet paper, is common in Europe, most of South America, the Muslim world and Indian subcontinent where people use their left hand to clean themselves and their right hand for eating or greeting (in parts of Africa, though, the converse is true, and a right-handed handshake could be considered rude) .

In France, toilet sanitation was supplemented by the invention of the bidet in the 1710s. With the improvements to plumbing in the mid- to late 19th Century the bidet moved from the bedroom (where it was kept with the chamber pot) to the bathroom. Modern bidets use a stream of warm water to cleanse the genitals and anus (before modern plumbing, bidets sometimes had a hand-crank to achieve the same effect). The bidet is commonplace in many European countries, especially in Spain, France, Italy and Greece, and also in Japan where approximately half of all households have a form of bidet (often combined with the toilet in a single appliance). It is also very popular in the Middle East.

The use of water in Muslim countries is due in part to Muslim sharia which encourages washing after all instances of defecation, an obligatory action during periods of religious fasting. [ [ Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: 259] , accessed 29 June 2008] It is not uncommon to find South Asian and Middle Eastern people express their disgust for the use of only dry toilet paper as they doubt the effectiveness of just wiping with toilet paper and feel it is impossible to completely clean one's anus and that washing is absolutely necessary.Fact|date=June 2008 Toilet paper is more common in large households,Fact|date=June 2008 where the middle-classes use both methods to cleanse themselves. In many countries, a hand-held bidet (colloquially known as a "Muslim shower" [ [ discussion of the term (as used in Saudi Arabia)] , GupShup Forums, accessed 29 June 2008] ) or pail of water is used in lieu of a pedestal. In Japan, a nozzle placed at rear of the toilet bown aims a water jet to the anus and serves the purpose of cleaning; however, this arrangement is common only in western style toilets, and is not incorporated in traditional designs.

Another popular alternative resembles a miniature shower and is known as a "health faucet". It is placed in an alcove to the right hand side of the toilet, thus enabling the person using it to have it within an arm's length for easy accessibility.

In the Philippines, and other South-East Asian countries such as Thailand, house bathrooms usually have a medium size wide plastic dipper ("tabo") or large cup, which is also used in bathing. However, most general households utilize toilet paper, "health faucets", or bidets (in some rich mansions) as well. Some health faucets are metal sets attached to the bowl of the water closet, with the opening strategically pointed at the target anus. Toilets in public establishments mainly provide toilet paper for free or dispensed, though the dipper (or even a cut up PET bottle or plastic jug, or disposed ice cream can) used for this purpose is occasionally encountered in some establishments. Though most Thais find it difficult not to cleanse their anus with water, most of the shopping malls do not provide health faucets since they are considered to be dirty and could make it hard for them to keep the bathrooms clean.

Japanese toilet

The first "paperless" toilet was invented in Japan in 1980. It is a combination toilet, bidet and drier, controlled by an electronic panel next to the toilet seat. Some modern Japanese bidet toilets, especially in hotels and public areas, are labeled with pictograms to avoid the language problem, and most newer models have a sensor that will refuse to activate the bidet unless someone is sitting on the toilet.

ee also

*Islamic toilet etiquette


External links

* [ Anal Cleansing] - from the "Toolkit on Hygiene, Sanitation & Water", by the World Bank.

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