Once an icon of bathroom sophistication, the bidet has become a relic of the past after falling out of favour in the UK. Brits are notoriously prudish when it comes to matters of personal hygiene, and the notion of a washing appliance dedicated to derrieres was simply too much for some.
This prudery has deprived us of what is actually one of the most hygienic appliances of all, but now the tide may be turning. After going out of fashion in the early noughties, bidets are enjoying something of a renaissance and are being increasingly incorporated into modern bathroom design.
The bidet is returning to modern bathroom designs
All trends eventually repeat themselves, and now the bidet is making a comeback. Those looking to remodel their bathrooms may consider installing a bidet to help boost the value of their home. Upgrading your bathroom design can add approximately 5% to your home’s value, and a simple renewed suite with additions such the continental bidet could make your home more saleable. Bidets were traditionally considered to be a sign of wealth due to their royal origins, so can add an air of luxury to a bathroom design.
Another reason the bidet may have come back into fashion is the perceived health benefits of using one. Bidets have also been linked to alleviating a number of medical conditions, such as hemorrhoids, IBS, and even Crohn’s disease. Using toilet paper can be very uncomfortable for people with these conditions. It can also reduce the chances that women will suffer from a UTI, while a 2005 study of elderly people in a nursing home found that bidet use “improved their toileting experience”.
Now, with modern technology, toilets can have a fully-integrated bidet built in, rather than a standalone bidet, perfect if you have limited space. These hybrids can include remote control operation and, in higher end designs, a built-in deodorizer, warm air dryer and eco-friendly dual flush. However, installing one of these will involve replacing your entire toilet which could prove to be costly.
A more affordable option available for homeowners looking to upgrade a toilet is attaching a nozzle to the underside of an existing toilet seat. This option doesn’t require batteries, and can be easily turned on by a tap or level, however doesn’t include heated water. Another option is a handheld bidet, with a hose that resembles a shower head. This model can be easily installed on any toilet with an external water supply, and can be turned on with a tap.
If you have the space, you can always opt for a standalone bidet unit in a style that fits in with your bathroom design. There are many different styles to choose from, including wall-hung or ‘floating’ styles, as well as floor-standing bidets which can coordinate with the style of toilet you have chosen in your bathroom.
It’s worth getting the second opinion of expert bathroom design professionals who will have a greater understanding of the spatial requirements and cost of bidet installation. Most bathroom designers will also be able to source bidets in a matching or complementing colour to the rest of your suite.
Using a bidet can be better for the environment
Another trend that works in favour of the bidet is the move towards more energy-efficient bathrooms. GfK’s 2016 worldwide study on consumer life, averaged across 18 countries, found that 34% of people cite environmental pollution as one of the three things they are most concerned about. This rising concern is influencing people to make more environmentally friendly changes to their everyday routines.
This includes personal hygiene and directly relates to bidets. A single roll of toilet paper requires 37 gallons of water and 1.5 pounds of wood pulp to be produced. Using a bidet removes the need for tissue and uses less water overall. In America alone, 15 million trees could be saved each year if people stopped using toilet paper and switched to bidets. Maybe it’s time we stopped being so prudish and embrace the wonders of the humble bidet.