To Bidet, Or Not To Bidet?

by | Mar 19, 2020 | WTF?!

If you’re counting pennies or just can’t find any toilet paper in the stores, it’s the bidet’s day today. The Internet has some DIY tutorials to upgrade your bathroom, so let’s have a laugh and get through this pandemic together. 

OK so, worst case scenario. That mighty fiend coronavirus has paid this country a visit, and while this pandemic may not be the dramatic, deadly plague or the flesh-eating disease we all conjured in our imaginations, it’s still a pretty serious issue. Accordingly, things have been getting pretty tense as COVID-19 spreads. Folks have been hitting the stores hard, taking everything they can get to quarantine themselves until it blows over (whenever that happens). So, maybe it’s a good idea to stock up… just in case. Either that, or you just really need to go grocery shopping.

Regardless, you head to the store for the basics: food, shampoo, toilet paper. But wait! As you turn into the TP aisle, you are shocked to find the shelves barren and woefully lacking in depictions of the Charmin Bears. You desire to be “clean,” but the cleanest thing in the world right now are the store shelves, and the behinds of those lucky enough to beat the toilet paper rush.

You probably already know by now, but this is no isolated incident. All over the country, TP has been flying off the shelves, as if every roll in the U.S. downed a Red Bull and grew wings. According to Business Insider, Walmart, Amazon, and Target all almost ran out of that cottony goodness last week. So, in this new post-corona world, where wealth is measured in toilet paper and Purell, what can a broke person do to keep their hygiene game on point? 

The answer: the bidet — that swanky French invention that does to your butt what power washers do to driveways. For the uninformed, it’s kind of like a mini-toilet that one sits on after using the main toilet. Once sat upon, the bidet promptly sprays the user clean with a jet of water. It’s fairly popular in countries like Japan, but here in the U.S., people don’t seem very fond of the idea. If the Buzzfeed video above is any indication, initial exposure to the bidet is met with shock and discomfort, followed by mixed responses from users.

But it’s not all cold water jets and uncomfortable sensations. Bidets actually have some luxurious qualities. The nicer models come with things like seat-warmers, warm water streams and blow-dryers. Some even have night lights for the valiant people who do their night-time business standing up. Bidets are also extremely hygienic, arguably better for the environment, and completely eliminate the risk of TP particulates being left behind. So, if you want to survive Coronavirus with not just a clean rear, but the cleanest rear in the solar system, then perhaps a bidet is right for you. 

Except that there’s one more problem. These things can be fucking expensive. Home Depot sells low-end bidets at around $200. High-end models can cost you $2,500. That’s a hard bargain just for a machine that does what your outdoor garden hose can do for free. 

Effective? Yes. Sanitary? Questionable. Watch here.

Luckily, for those who are broke and unwilling to bare themselves in front of the neighbors as part of the wiping process, there are alternatives. There are handheld nozzles and bidet-seat attachments on Amazon for as low as $20. These are simple contraptions which lack many of those luxurious features I mentioned earlier (unless you want to dish out more money). Still, they get the job done. 

But let’s say you’re really broke. Like, “I look at pictures of other food while I try to make my Top Ramen feel like more of a meal” broke. Then, once again, there are other options. Forbidden options. Well, perhaps not forbidden… but certainly morally, logically and hygienically questionable alternatives. These are the DIY options. 

(WARNING: Even if these work, I’m not insisting you try them. And if they don’t work, please don’t shoot the messenger.)

You can find them all over the Internet. Images of garden hoses, detachable shower heads, and squeezable water bottles, all modified to work as in-home bidets. The YouTube video above shows us a few ideas, and even teaches you how to make them. Obviously, he explores various versions of the squeeze-bottle design (which has the benefit of being portable). He uses everything from Dasani bottles to proper plastic canteens. However, I believe his most compelling design is in his modification of the dental oral irrigator, aka Waterpik. With some plastic tubing and some tape, this YouTuber fashions a fairly impressive product that looks as if it could spray with the best of them.

But while it looks effective enough, it is somewhat unsightly — and also begs the disturbing question, “Does he still use that Waterpik to clean his teeth?” We can only hope and pray that he does not. The idea certainly betrays the desire for hygiene, which I think is truly the essence of the bidet’s beauty.

This one looks a little too complicated.

Hopefully none of us are trapped in a situation which might necessitate the construction of one of these devices. I certainly feel like people should strive to have their rear-ends cleaned by something more noble than a shampoo bottle — it’s the bathroom equivalent of a college student converting an empty milk jug into a bong. But if every one of us was to be corona-quarantined for months, and our national toilet paper reserves become dangerously depleted, a person can hardly be judged for testing their natural ingenuity by making their recyclables into a valuable tool. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from having a clean bum.

Top Image via uclaeconomics/YouTube

Jonah Schuhart

Jonah Schuhart

Jonah Schuhart is a Senior Broadcast Journalism Student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Jonah hopes to use his work to spread goodwill and a positive message. Despite this healthy outlook, he survives solely on a destructive diet of Japanese action games and Cheetos.

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