Chances are, if you're traveling to another country, you will come across a Bidet. You may also come across one within the United States, especially at higher end Hotel Chains or even at Bed and Breakfasts.
Some countries are especially known for having bidets: South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Lebanon, and India.
A bidet (pronounced "be-day") looks like a toilet but has warm-water jets for personal hygiene after you use the toilet. Bidets are normally situated near the toilet and are especially helpful to: people who are recovering from surgery; people who have physical disabilities; people with dexterity or other problems that limit their range of motion; people who have various medical conditions, such as hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, difficult bowel movements, or other ailments that involve the rectal or genital areas; people who have developmental disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome, mental retardation, autism, or cerebral palsy; men and women who want better hygiene before or after sexual activities; and women who want more effective feminine hygiene during monthly menstrual periods.
While your first encounter with a bidet can be a little daunting, they are actually very simple (and hygienic) to use. Here are a few easy steps to using a bidet.
Note: The last step (step:6)has a few videos on Bidet Usage along with helpful notes and tips.
Step 1: Using the Toilet.
This step is self explanatory. To use a Bidet, one must first use the toilet. The purpose of the bidet is to help clean off after toilet use.
Step 2: Finishing Up
When you are finished using the toilet, wipe your anus one time in the usual manner, throwing the toilet tissue in the toilet. This prevents excessive feces from being washed off into the bidet.
Dry wipe at least once after having a bowel movement and before using the bidet. Excess fecal matter may clog the bidet drain. This can be quite disgusting for someone who uses the bidet after you.
Step 3: Using the Bidet
On most standalone bidets you can either face the bidet's water controls or you can face away from them, as you would on a toilet. It is easier to control the flow and temperature of the water if you face the controls, but if you are wearing pants you will generally need to remove them in order to straddle the bidet in this manner. There are a variety of bidet designs, so the configuration of the jets and the part of your body that you wish to clean may dictate which way you need to face.
If the bidet has both hot and cold water controls, start by turning on the hot water. Open the spray valve until the water is spraying about six to eight inches high. When the water feels hot to the hand, adjust the cold water valve until the spray is comfortable, being careful not to let the spray column exceed over a foot in height.
(In normally hot climates, such as the middle east, you should start with the cold water. The water will not need time to heat up and you may end up burning sensitive areas if you turn the hot water on first.)
Be very careful when turning on the water, as many bidets can produce a very high jet of water with only a slight turn of the control.
Be sure that you know where the water will be coming from ahead of time, or you could end up with a surprise shower.
You may find that you need to hold the control to keep the jets on.
In the picture below, the young woman is showing one of the many ways to use a Bidet, though you dont want to use one with shorts still on.
Step 4: Cleaning With the Bidet
Straddle the bidet, sitting on the rim and align the anus with the column of spray water. Note that most bidets don't have seats, but are still meant to be sat upon; you just sit directly on the rim.
Gradually open the spray valve until adequate pressure is achieved to flush the remaining feces from the anus.
Some bidets do not have jets, but instead simply have a faucet that fills the basin, as you would fill a sink basin. If you find yourself confronting one of these types, you use your hands and soap to clean yourself off, much like you would in the shower.
Step 5: Drying Yourself
Once you have cleaned your genital and anal areas, you dry yourself off. Some Bidets have a cloth towel nearby, DO NOT USE! This towel is for drying off your hands only. Most Bidets have a built in air dryer for you to use. If the one you are facing does not, use toilet paper or other paper towels to dry yourself off.
Do not throw any toilet paper into the Bidet. This can clog the Bidet and be unsightly.
Step 6: Videos and Notes
Note 2: The steps for using a modern bidet that is built into the toilet are essentially the same as those described except that you simply remain seated on the toilet to use the bidet. These may be electronically controlled, or they may have controls positioned next to the user. Some of these include two nozzles, a short one for washing the anus, and a longer one that women can use to wash their genitals; others have one nozzle with two settings.
Note 3: There are also Bidets that are for the use of washing babies. Do not use one that is for babies, ask a housekeeper or the owner of the home you are in if you are unsure of which one is for you to use.
Note 4: Many people use public Bidets to also wash off their feet. Do not be alarmed at this.
Note 5: Do not drink from the Bidet. it may shoot out water much like a drinking faucet, but the water supply is not for drinking. Besides, water can bounce off of unsanitary areas and/or fecal matter.
Note 6: If you are unsure of the safety of the water, do not use a Bidet on broken and irritated skin. This can cause you to get sick from the water.
Video 1 on Bidet Usage
This commercial gives a good idea on how a Bidet works.