Yes, You Can Install Your Own Bidet—Here’s Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve tried to make a toilet paper run in the last few weeks, chances are you’ve come home empty-handed (or had to expand your search to a couple stores). With people preparing for the ongoing crisis, toilet paper aisles have become increasingly bare. The ripple effect of toilet paper becoming its own social currency means people are looking for alternative options—after all, what do you do when you run out of toilet paper?
Enter the bidet. If you’re unaware, a bidet, simply put, shoots a stream of water at your nether-regions after you do your doo, with the intention of giving you a cleaner bottom. Long used in many other countries (they’re particularly popular in southern Europe, Japan, the Middle East, western Africa, and some South American countries), it hasn’t fully infiltrated the U.S. yet (though it’s increasingly mentioned in popular culture). In the last few weeks, bidet sales have skyrocketed, begging the question: Could this be the tipping point for Americans to embrace bidets?
Bidet companies across the board have reported an increase in sales. Jason Ojalvo, the CEO of TUSHY, an online-only bidet company, said their “sales are 10 times what they were since the spread of toilet paper shortages. And this is on top of TUSHY already selling well over double what we’d been selling a year ago.” (Reading the comment section for their two signature models, many recent reviewers cite overzealous stockpilers are their reason for purchase).
At the time of writing, Bed Bath & Beyond is completely sold out and Home Depot is expecting deliveries to be made two weeks after order. Hundreds of models are sold out across the web, as well, but aggregate websites like Amazon still have plenty of options. Thinking about joining the wave? Let’s get down and dirty about what the bidet-curious need to know.
Where do you get a bidet?
Depending on what market you live in, your local home improvement stores might have a selection of bidets. Another option is to order from the retailers online, a move that would give you more variety of options. The online retailers, like TUSHY, Bidet King, Toto, and Bio Bidet, are primed to answer any questions in the product description (and you can read reviews!), whereas the sales associate at the big-box store might not be as knowledgeable about the various features.
What should you look for in a bidet?
How luxurious of an experience are you looking for? While any model will perform the necessary function of cleaning your posterior, they can range from handheld “bum guns”—these have a single setting and use cold water—that mount to the side of the toilet, to more luxurious models that replace your ordinary toilet seat and can have features like warm water, mood music, and an air dry feature (though any feature beyond simply spraying water necessitates being plugged into electricity, too). For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on simpler bidets that work with your existing toilet.
The cheapest option is the handheld, which will resemble a kitchen sink spray nozzle, that attaches to your water supply. It’s simple and effective, but doesn’t carry the same status symbol as others. The next step up is a bidet attachment, which is made to be sandwiched between the bowl and the seat. With the push of a button, it’ll hose you down and you can use (a small amount of) toilet paper to dry off. Keep in mind, the water in your toilet isn’t heated, so this won’t be either. Finally, there’s the bidet seat, which replaces your current seat. Prices range wildly, depending on what fringe benefits it totes. Usually it includes warm water, but they can also include pressure control, seat warming, deodorizing, and blow drying, among other things. For example, SensoWash sells a model with a night light, a remote, and two individually adjustable user profiles and Toto sells one with a function that cleans the bowl after each use.
One thing to note is the dimensions of your basin, and whether your bowl is round or oval. Some companies sell elongated seats, which might not work for a round toilet, and vice versa. Also note that if you want a bidet with all the bells and whistles, you’ll need to have a power supply nearby.
Can you install a bidet yourself?
Yes! Most are intended to be DIY and simply hook up to your water tank. Most models come with the necessary pieces and should take 15 minutes to install. The only tool you might need is a screwdriver to remove and reattach the seat.
Don’t believe us? Here’s the basic run-down. First, you’ll need to turn off the water valve and flush the toilet until it’s empty of water. Remove the toilet seat (you might need a screwdriver). Next, detach the flexible hose from your toilet tank and screw in the adaptor (it usually comes with the bidet kit). The adaptor basically acts like a headphone splitter, enabling water to flow from both the tank to the bowl and the bidet. Reattach the hose to the adapter, then take the kit hose and attach it to the adaptor as well. From here it deviates just a little, depending on the type of bidet. If you opted for the handheld, you’ll simply screw the nozzle into the hose. For the attachment and the seat, you’ll need to be screwed in on top of the bowl and attached to the hose. As soon as you turn the water back on, you’re set. Simple enough, right? You probably have IKEA furniture that was more challenging to assemble (looking at you, FJÄLLBO TV stand).
The fancier versions are a bit harder logistically to install, mostly because you need to have easy access to your sink so it can be connected to hot water, which can prove challenging if your sink has a cabinet under it. Most kits have added instructions for those scenarios, though. If you’re not particularly handy, you might need to hire a plumber.
What else should you know about bidets?
One thing to consider is the environmental impact of making the switch. Yes, you use more water per go—about a pint glass more—but considering the environmental impact of manufacturing, shipping, and actually going to the store to purchase a roll of TP, that’s not a bad trade-off.
You’ll also save money on, well, toilet paper. The average American uses 11 rolls per month. If you’re spending $10 a 12-pack, that’s over a hundred dollars a year, per person in your household. Bonus: Any of these can be taken with the next time you move, making this a smart long-term investment.