Bidet is a French word for pony (and in Old French, bider means to trot). This etymology comes from sitting astride or riding a bidet, as one does on a pony.
The bidet is said to be an invention of French furniture makers in the late 17th century or early 18th century, although no exact date or inventor is known. There are theories that the inventor is Christophe Des Rosiers, furniture maker of the French royal family. The earliest written mention of the bidet is in 1710.
By the early 1900s, thanks to improvements in plumbing from Victorian times, the bidet (and the nightstand) had moved from the bedroom to the bathroom.
In the 1960s, the electronic bidet was introduced, a tool that was placed on existing toilets and was suitable for bathrooms that were too small for both a toilet and a bidet.
Bidets are mainly used for washing and cleaning the external genitals and anus, as well as for the surrounding skin. However, bidets also come in handy for washing other parts of the body; for example, they are very practical for washing the feet. Although somewhat similar to a toilet, a bidet should rather be compared to a sink or bath. Bidets are even used as a practical baby bath in that regard. For people with physical limitations who find it difficult to take a bath, or who are afraid of slipping in the shower, the bidet is an excellent tool to maintain personal hygiene. Bidets are therefore very useful for the elderly and the disabled and for people with hemorrhoids.
Users unfamiliar with bidets sometimes confuse them with urinals, toilets, or even drinking fountains. The user should go to the toilet before using the bidet; After all, a bidet is for washing afterwards. In general, one is supposed to sit on the bidet facing the faucet and nozzle. However, it can be just as efficient, and for some more pleasant, to sit with your back to the tap and the wall.
Bidets come in different designs. Many bidets have a single tap that flows (usually hot) water with pressure into a basin. The basin can be closed with a plug so that it can fill up, or the water can be drained. Other bidets have a nozzle that sprays an arc of water into the air. This water jet must then reach the pubic area.
There are also nozzles in the form of a nozzle, which are attached to an existing toilet, or which are part of the toilet itself. In this case, the use is limited to cleaning the anus and genitals. Some of these bidets have two water tubes. The short tube is then used for washing the area around the anus, while the longer one allows the women to wash the vulva. These modern bidets are often operated electronically instead of with a traditional tap. Some even have an element under the seat that heats up, so that it can be dried after washing.
Although using the bidet presupposes touching the genitals and anus with the hand after using the toilet, it can be more hygienic than using toilet paper. Most people who use the bidet also use both methods and wipe with toilet paper before washing on the bidet.