Travel tips: What’s a bidet & how to use it

Travelling through Europe, you’re bound to see them. They’re everywhere, and quite unfamiliar to many travelers. These foreign fixtures cause a conundrum for visitors: are they foot baths? Strange toilets? Or something else? Yes, the bidet can be a confusing bathroom appliance. Here’s what you need to know about how to use a bidet.

what is a bidet how to use bidet travel europeWhile the bidet looks like a toilet, it’s not. At all. There’s debate culturally about exactly what the bidet can and can’t be used for, but never is it appropriate to use if for your bodily excretions. Put it this way: what you wouldn’t do in a sink or basin, don’t do in the bidet.

The bidet is commonly found in the bathroom in most European homes and hotels. It’s adjacent to the toilet and shower, giving you a hint of its true purpose.

Step 1: Use the toilet for your… business.
Step 2: Use the bidet to clean your nether regions.

How to use a bidet

The bidet is pretty intuitive to operate. You sit on the rim, and you can face forward, towards the taps or backwards, depending on which areas you’re cleaning.
Now seated, turn on the water–gently! You may not yet know whether it’s a directional spray up, out straight, or down, or what the water volume or temperature is. Some bidet advice suggests you cup your hand over the tap to gauge the water, adjust the stream, then get to work.
Use soap, hand soap or body wash to clean yourself. You can fill the basin with warm soapy water and splash it onto yourself, or just use the tap stream to wash and rinse thoroughly. There should be a towel near the bidet, and this is for drying yourself off.

Why would I use a bidet?

Why use a bidet? Honestly, I can’t imagine. If you clean yourself properly after using the bathroom, it seems, well, redundant. But, after reading online comments, I was… enlightened.what is a bidet how to use bidet travel europe

Some people have difficulty cleaning some areas thoroughly, and let’s be honest, sometimes it seems like you’ll end up using the whole toilet paper roll. A quick targeted wash could help. Seniors, in particular, can have difficulty with proper cleaning too. Bidets can also help you clean up yourself after sex. Women will also know that sometimes during menstruation things can get a little messy. The option of using a bidet can provide an opportunity to freshen up.

What else can I use a bidet for?

Bidets can also be used to wash your feet if they’re sandy or dirty. A bidet is often in a natural place to give them a wash, and it’s easier than trying to sit on the bathroom counter and wash your feet in the sink.

Now you know. Next time you encounter a bidet on your travels abroad, you’ll know just what to do.