Bidet for Apartment?
October 18, 2020 9:23 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about getting a bidet. I would want something relatively temporary and portable (and less than $50), because I rent and hope to move in 12-18 months. Do you have any recommendations? ... Also, I would like any general bidet information. I have never used one. But I want to be prepared in case there are more shortages of toilet paper this winter.
posted by NotLost to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
We installed the Bio Bidet SlimEdge a couple months ago and I think it checks all your boxes. Very simple to install, $35, and has good water pressure. The water is cold, though, which is probably the downside of this price point. We don't care and still like it.
posted by rawralphadawg at 9:45 AM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: An actual bidet is a separate porcelain throne for your bathroom. You won't be installing one of these in your rental apartment. Temporary versions are available, but they're little more than a wide chamber pot. What you're asking about is the toilet-seta add-on sprayer, called a Washlet in Japan. Since you say you've never used one, I suggest you try one out before going any further. Sometimes, you can take one for a test drive in the restroom of a Japanese restaurant.
posted by Rash at 10:09 AM on October 18, 2020

I’ve been very happy with the Brondell Superspa Thinline. About $50, easy installation.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:17 AM on October 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

We bought this one and haven't had any problems with it. You can control the water pressure well and it's recommended that you turn off the water between uses, which is really only slightly inconvenient.

Life with a bidet is so much better... An apple, a bidet, keeps the doctor away!
posted by Corduroy at 10:19 AM on October 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have a Brondell. I like it a lot. My wife and kid refuse to use it. It's not heated, which keeps it cheap. In Southern California, that's not an issue any time of the year. I bet it wouldn't be in New Mexico, either, but I don't know your elevation. It's also pretty annoying to clean. The nozzle is fine, but the rest of the assembly gets pretty gross, and there are many nooks and/or crannies.
posted by Pacrand at 10:22 AM on October 18, 2020

I personally prefer the hoses (like the one I linked above). I think they are easy to use in whatever way you'd like and stay cleaner than most toilet installations I've come across.

You wanted general bidet info, and you should be aware that they are wet, so most people I know use toilet paper after basically to dry off. Some cultures have like bidet towels, but I've never wrapped my head around the sanitation of that.
posted by Corduroy at 10:23 AM on October 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

+1 to Brondell. We got their model that replaces the seat. Under $200 and could be removed to take with you.
posted by osi at 11:04 AM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: OK, this is an insanely bizarre coincidence: I was JUST looking at a post about the SlimEdge being on sale for $25 (down from $59) for the next 12 hours (as of my typing this). Literally, immediately before I saw this post.

Here's more info.
posted by CommonSense at 11:16 AM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: A poor man's [woman's] bidet is to use a plastic bottle with a longish spout. Think mustard/ketchup/BBQ squeeze bottles that restaurants used to keep on their tables/counters for patrons to use. I found a clear one for a couple bucks at Big Lots and have seen them in dollar stores during warmer weather when cookout utensils are big sellers. Fill it with water and put it within reach of the toilet. After you have done your business but before wiping, squirt a stream of water onto your privates to cleanse, then pat dry with toilet paper or baby wipes if you need some extra wipe down. I have been using this solution for several months and have found my toilet paper consumption way down. The water is room temperature and not the icy bath you may be imagining. As always, YMMV.
posted by Gino on the Meta at 11:28 AM on October 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

I bought a Tushy six months ago and have moved once since then and it was easy to take out and reinstall in my new bathroom. It’s above your price point ($120 for the model with warm water) but it’s well-designed and durable and will definitely pay for itself in the amount of toilet paper that it saves. As a single lady who lives alone, I was using a roll a week before and now a roll lasts 3+ weeks.
posted by Fuego at 11:30 AM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: I've used a personal hygiene bottle for several years - this one to be exact. It involves no installation, you can fill it with warm water and it does a fantastic job (watch the apple video in the link!)

If you've never used a bidet before, a hygiene bottle is a good introduction to cleaning your butt with water, and you might just decide that you don't need to spend any more on installing a bidet attachment on your toilet.
posted by essexjan at 11:55 AM on October 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: All the $28-48ish ones are pretty similar, and the parameters you can generally choose from are:

- Butt only vs dual posterior and anterior water angles (at this point most of them are dual)
- Adjustable pressure on the controller vs whatever you set it to be at the water connection
--- subtype: some types of controllers will stay set at whatever pressure you chose last and some use a sort of ramp-up controller so you always start at no pressure and work your way up toward NASA-grade. I find the latter more preferable for multiple users with different preferences or if you just prefer to always start slow, which I do. I am easily startled.
- Nozzle(s) retract when water isn't actively flowing (keeps them from getting hit by anything on its way into to bowl) AND/OR includes a self-cleaning mode OR none of the above, you just deal with whatever might need cleaning with a brush
- Dial controller, button controls, stem-twist controls, or some combo
- Slim vs ultra slim - because the unit installs between the seat and the porcelain base, if you have one of those more modernish-looking toilets with very little clearance between standard seat and porcelain base, you may have no choice but ultra slim. We have an ultra on a more standard (US) toilet and there's a bit of extra space, which isn't a problem in any way.

These are all cold-water bidets, but it's really only a terrible shock the first time. After that, you know what's happening. Our bathrooms are both in the center of the house, so the water that's been sitting nearby in the pipes is close-ish to room temp, but I do advise in extreme weather to use the bidet first before running the sink or shower so you do get that indoor pipe water and not the stuff that's been cooking/chilling further along the lines.

A small point of frustration for me is that the control panel is always (as far as I've searched) parallel with the seat. If you are a larger person, your leg/butt is going to touch it. I dislike that, and don't understand why they couldn't be set an inch or two lower (but no, the hose type add-on does not fix any problems in this case, it is also for skinny people). Also if you have someone with mobility issues using that toilet, they may also be tempted to push off to stand from the controller, and I am certain it would eventually fail dramatically if done enough times by a grown adult.

Also if you have children prone to mischief, understand that the arc of the sprayers is such that turning them on without a butt in the way will shoot water all over your wall/floor. Or if you are a pandemic-exhausted adult who is cleaning the toilet and thinks "I should run those for a second", you will hose yourself down if you are leaning over the toilet.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:32 PM on October 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've had this RinseWorks model for 4+ years and now a bunch of friends have that one, too. I think the hose style is cleaner and more useful than in-seat. (It's great for rinsing mud off hiking boots.)
posted by cyndigo at 2:33 PM on October 18, 2020

We got the Tushy about six months ago. I love it! Super easy to install, big savings on TP, and I feel like it does a better job of cleaning. (as someone pointed out to me, if you got dirt on your hands, you wouldn't just wipe it off with dry paper and expect that to work ...)

It installs on your existing toilet - just pop the seat off and attach there. I do have to take it off occasionally to clean underneath. At least in our house, not everyone's standing aim is perfect, so stuff can accumulate underneath it, making it a little stinky after a while.
posted by chbrooks at 3:11 PM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: FWIW, being in an apartment is not the same as being in a house as far as the toilet supply water running through unheated spaces. The water will generally be close to room temperature, because it's inside the insulation, but being fed by a cold water supply. So it warms up between your toilet visits, though not to the point we'd call warm water. Your apartment likely shares a wet wall (where the plumbing runs) with either another apartment that's also room temp, or with an interior building space (which is hopefully reasonably warm throughout the winter). So it depends on your frequency of seated visits to the toilet, but the water should be warmer than the frigid stuff that comes into the building.

You're going to love it, come summer, because you can render swamp-ass into a distant memory of a more savage age.

If it gets too cold, just wipe-- you'll need to maintain that skill in case of societal breakdown anyway.

P.S. the new thing to think about is how you'll dry off your parts. Wiping is still an option here, and if you wanted you could switch away from TP (except for the cold days and an emergency supply) and go with cheap washable hand-towels. Even with the bidet you'll get the occasional streak on there, but as long as your laundry regime is solid, it's something you can live with. However, you are in an apartment, so maybe you're dependent on sketchy basement washer/dryer, or laundromats, in which case TP is better.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:32 PM on October 18, 2020

I second the Brondell Thinline bidets. They have the most unobtrusive and pleasing form factor I’ve seen in this type of bidet attachment. And I also like that you just twist the end to turn on, and the whole thing is flat and easy to clean. I have the dual nozzle one, but I recommend the single, it is self-cleaning, and I’ve found by now that the dual nozzle is pretty pointless, and the single is less expensive (bidet prices have nearly doubled since corona, I think I paid $30 for mine, which is now around $50). If you get a thicker bidet, you’ll need bumpers, but you can get away without them with the Brondell.

Please note, I strongly recommend still wiping first when going number two, especially for women. Otherwise you can end up just spraying shit around, with all kinds of potentially nasty consequences. Had to explain this to a few kids. Also, kids will play with the bidet and make a mess.
posted by catatethebird at 7:06 PM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: One consideration that I thought of after posting my previous recommendation is that if you have a hot water model, it does require a hookup to the bathroom sink, as toilets only have a cold water intake on them. If you have a pedestal style sink situated right next to the toilet, this is very easy, but if the pipes under the sink are contained in a vanity or the sink is not near the toilet then you might have to make some not-so-renter-friendly alterations to hook up the warm water. When I moved I did take this into consideration for my ideal bathroom, which didn’t rule anything out by itself, but it’s definitely something to think about if the warm water is important to you. FWIW, even though I have the warm water option on my Tushy, I rarely use it as the warm water usually takes a little while to get going and the cooler water is actually very refreshing. Although I may feel different on a cold winter morning—ask me again in three months.
posted by Fuego at 7:10 PM on October 18, 2020

Best answer: I’ve got a Brondell Simplespa Thinline and a Refresh-It Dual Stream Bidet. Both are perfectly functional. I think most of the bidet attachments are going to be similar, so I would just buy based on price, whether you care about having an additional “front wash” mode (mostly used by people with vulvas), and whether you want to hassle with the “warm water” ones. (I find that the “cold water” ones are fine unless your cold tap water is really icy. If you can wash your hands and splash your face in cold tap water without discomfort, it will be fine in a bidet.)

They are easy to install and uninstall, assuming you own an adjustable wrench and screwdriver, and assuming you can turn the water supply on and off at the wall where it hooks up to the toilet. (If your water supply knob is very old and rusted, the last part may be more difficult than it sounds.)

Tips: Sit down as usual and do your business. Remain seated as you turn the knob to spray (otherwise water will spray out onto the floor in front of the toilet). Most of these have variable water pressure; start with lighter pressure and increase as needed. The goal is to wash the outside, not have an enema. Spray until you feel satisfied that things are well-rinsed. Pat dry with toilet paper. Flush as usual.

I have never experienced needing to wipe before spraying, but it seems YMMV?
posted by snowmentality at 5:43 AM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow! These are all helpful. I am leaning toward the travel bidet for now.
posted by NotLost at 8:07 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

We have a bidet attachment that we got from Amazon for less than $50. People liked them so much I ended up buying them as gifts for a few relatives. Really, really easy to install - but the only down side is if you have any mean in your household (or small guys, like me) it can be difficult to clean around all the crevasses that urine likes to hide.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 9:04 AM on October 20, 2020

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