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How does a bidet work?

How Does a Bidet Work? Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know but Never Thought to Ask

how does a bidet work?

Does a bidet draw toilet water to clean your butt?

Why do you have to plug them in?

How do they clean themselves?

What’s the deal with the warming toilet seat?

Do they really have night lights?

We get it: there are a bunch of big questions about how bidets work. And this makes sense - after all, they’re mysterious devices. While they’re widespread throughout Asia and the Middle East, bidets aren’t super common in the U.S. As such, many people have asked: “How do bidets work?”

Great news. Today, we’re here to answer that question. Whether you’re wondering about electric supplies, heat systems, features, or cleanliness, we’ve got the answers for ‘ya.

Buckle up.


The History of the Bidet

The electronic bidet: it’s a thing of magic and wonder.

Designed to keep bums clean, prevent infections and irritations, and prevent unneeded waste heading down our pipes, the electronic bidet is an advanced invention that draws on decades of innovation and convenience.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the history of the bidet:


The Bidet was Born in the 17th Century

Designed initially by a French furniture maker for the royal family, the name bidet comes from the French for “small horse.”

The first bidet wasn’t much more than a wash pan mounted on legs. It was installed in the bedroom, where the royals would squat over it and use their hands to clean themselves.


The Bidet Improves Slowly

After the first crude design, the bidet started to improve gradually. In the late 17th century, bidet makers added a hand pump, which allowed people to ditch the hand-cleaning.

Around the start of the 18th century, the Bidet made its way to Austria and Italy, where it slowly started to catch on as a hot household accessory.


The Bidet Comes to America

In 1962, Japanese bidet-maker Toto purchased a bidet toilet seat patent based out of Florida, and the bidet made its way to the U.S. While it would take years for the bidet to catch on, this was a historic accomplishment and the first brick in what would become an eventual bidet empire for Toto.


The Bidet Toilet Seat is Born

Before about 1980, all bidets were traditional bidets, meaning they stood by themselves in a bathroom. If you wanted to use one, you had to leave the toilet, straddle it, and use it separately.

Toto, however, thought this wouldn’t work well for a U.S. audience. Not only were U.S. consumers unfamiliar with the concept of a bidet, but they were unlikely to install two large appliances in their bathrooms.

As a result, Toto introduced the bidet toilet seat. Designed to clip onto standard round or elongated toilets, this toilet seat offered many of the features of the standalone bidet, without the need for an extra unit.

Since then, the bidet toilet seat has been on the rise in the U.S., transitioning from an offbeat oddity to something high-end consumers want in their bathrooms.


How Does a Bidet Work? 5 Mystifying Features, Explained

Alright - we know how the electronic bidet came to be. Now, how does it work? Here are a few things to know about the modern bidet:


  1. Why do You Have to Plug Bidets in?

If you have a bidet toilet seat you’ve got to plug in, you’ve purchased an electrical bidet. This might seem obvious, but it’s an important distinction. There are electric and non-electric bidets.

As a general rule, electric bidets offer more features. They’re the seats that feature a built-in warmer, air dryers, adjustable water temperature (although some non-electric bidet attachments provide a warm-water addition), remote controls, and more.

Non-electric bidet seats and attachments, on the other hand, are relatively frills-free. Many non-electric bidet seats offer dual nozzles, a handy control panel, and Positive Stepping Pressure Control, but they’re without most of the features of their electric counterparts.

All this said, the reason you plug an electric bidet in is to engage the features that draw on electricity. Depending on which bidet you purchase, these may include the heated seat, air dryer, or deodorizer.

Your bidet’s warm water system is likely also powered by electricity. If it is, it likely taps into your system’s cold water supply and warms the water as it passes through the bidet. Alternately, your bidet taps into your home’s warm water supply and draws pre-heated water directly from your pipes.


  1. How do Bidets Heat Water?

When you set out to purchase a bidet, you’ll likely get one with a built-in water heater. There are a few different types of water heaters, though. Here’s a breakdown of how each works: 

  • Reservoir water heaters. These water heaters are common in low-end, cheaper bidet seats. They work quite a bit like your home’s hot water tank, which holds a large amount of water and heats it with the help of a natural gas flame positioned beneath the tank. You can use the thermostat on the tank to control how hot the water becomes. A bidet’s water reservoir is similar. The reservoir stores and heats water behind the bidet and deploys it when you need it.
  • Tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters don’t use a reservoir tank. Instead, they use heating coils to warm the water as it passes through the coil. These tankless heaters are instant, energy-efficient, and durable. As if that weren’t enough, they also provide never-ending warm water. While a reservoir tank water runs out when the tank does (typically after about 30 seconds of bidet use), a tankless heater warms water on-demand. Finally, the heating coils are small and compact, which contributes to a sleek-looking seat.

If cold water on your bum is your thing, you can also opt for a large selection of bidets that don’t heat water. Instead, these bidets tap into your home’s cold water supply and use that to clean your nether regions. While it may be less relaxing than the warm water alternative, it’s no less effective.


  1. What’s the Deal with Heated Seats?

By now, you’ve likely heard that most modern bidet toilet seats offer heated seats. If you don’t know how they work, though, you’re not alone.

Heated toilet seats on bidet fixtures work quite a lot like any other heated toilet seat. As is true with any toilet seat, the top cover moves down to cover the seat. The heated portion of the seat, however, uses an electrical current designed to heat carbon cores arranged throughout the body of the seat. The current is supplied either by an AC outlet or a battery pack.

Most heated seats offer adjustable temperature. This temperature is controlled via a remote control attached to the unit. This allows you to set the temperature you prefer and even have the toilet seat remember your settings.


  1. Do They Really Have Night Lights?

Do bidet toilet seats really offer night lights built into the units? The answer is yes! Lots of modern bidet toilet seat units feature built-in LED lights that guide your path to the loo without waking you up in the middle of the night. These LED built-ins are pretty simple: they tuck in under the seat and illuminate the path.

In most cases, they’re also incredibly low-maintenance. You don’t need to change bulbs that frequently, clean them, or do anything else to keep them working. These features are ideal for anyone who has older people or children in the home that they want to support.


  1. How Do Bidet Seats Dry Your Butt?

Some bidet toilet seats feature a warm air dryer to cut down on your use of toilet paper and help you enjoy the experience even more. These warm air dryers are a lot like a household hair dryer when you think about it.  

These seats offer a dryer vent and heating system that heats air to your liking and directs it at your nether regions. Most seats have a few different temperature settings to help you get your optimal drying experience and will dry your bum fully within 1-4 minutes.


Bidets Add Class to Your Bathroom

How does a bidet work? Now you know! Chock-full of unique features designed to make your bathroom experience more comfortable and luxurious, bidets are becoming more popular in households across the U.S.

While figuring out how these features work can be a process, few are as complicated as they seem.

Whether you were wondering about the warm air dryer or the heated seat, understanding how your favorite bidet functions function just makes them that much more exciting to use.