Credit: Funky Tee via Flickr

America is ready for the bidet.

Ari Zilnik
Jun 13, 2018 · 4 min read

Our friends in Europe and Asia have been doing it right for decades. In silence, without so much as a whisper, our cousins across the pond have been using a bidet as part of their daily bathroom routine.

“Ew, gross, are we really about to talk about bodily functions?” Yes. Specifically, we’re talking about pooping.

It’s time America. It’s time Canada. It’s time to invest in a bidet, or start using that weird old one that’s been sitting unused in that one bathroom in your house.

I think comedian Rob Cantrell says it best:

You know what I don’t think we’re doing right? Wiping our butts … Do you know how confident you feel when you walk into a room and you know you’ve got the cleanest asshole in the room? You just walk in and go ‘look at these funky butt mother fuckers’.

Why you should trust me

I’m currently spending time traveling Japan, which is arguably the land of bidets. About a week and a half into my trip here, I ran into some intestinal issues which lead to a not-so-fun hospital visit.

Not pictured: My butt. You’re welcome?

With lots of intestinal inflammation, and stomach cramps, you can believe me I was praying to any god I could think of — thanking them for providing me with a hotel room which offers a bidet.

I can assure you I became a pro at using the bidet after using it about 5–8 times per day.

What do bidets actually do?

The bidets here are so advanced that they are sometimes called a washlet. And these washlets have many features to note, including:

  • Deodorizing
  • Cleaning your butt (duh)
  • Cleaning other areas (usually targeted towards women)
  • Oscillation and pulsation modes
  • Drying
  • Heated seat (just like your dad’s old Lexus)
  • Playing fake flushing sounds to mask any noises you make

Yeah. These little devices install on top of your existing toilet. They take up virtually zero additional space, and add huge value to your life.

Okay, cool set of features. But like, do I really need one?

Yes. Imagine a bird pooped on your hand right now. Squish.

Pictured: Squish. | Credit: Rusty Clark via Flickr

What do you do? If you’re me, I reckon you would try find a bathroom to wash off.

Now imagine instead that I offered you a few cute little cocktail napkins to wipe it off. Would that be enough to satisfy? Probably not. So why are we willing to settle for that when it comes to our butts?

Alright, not to get too nasty, but compound that with a day’s worth of heat and sweat — you’re probably getting a little bit too funky down there.

Additionally, a study from the Journal of Korean Medical Science suggests that usage of a bidet could work in the same manner as the traditional warm sitz bath under the conditions of low or medium water jet pressure. Bidet usage can reduce inflammation, improve hygiene and promote blood flow to the anogenital area (yep, that’s a new term for me too).

It’s too confusing!

Maybe you too are into the idea of using a bidet, but then you show up to your favorite Japanese restaurant and are faced with this:

Credit: Steven-L-Johnson via Flickr

I agree. It’s a lot of buttons. The design is confusing, there are a lot of options. What I think we need is one of two solutions:

  1. We are ready for a new, American-made (or Canadian-made) bidet company to come into the market, focused on an American-style user experience
  2. Toto USA, arguably the leader in bidets, should double down on crushing the market with American-oriented design patterns

For now, we can be adventurous. Here’s a pretty decent, if not overly detailed, guide to using a Japanese bidet.


Put simply, and not to overstate the point, using a bidet has changed my life. I feel clean, confident, and ready to tackle the world every time I use the restroom. We need to change the way we deal with our doo-doo, and open up the path to cleaner, healthier butts for everyone. It starts with you and your toilet.


Find me on Medium, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

I am a user experience designer from New York. I grew up in Toronto. I’m also the co-founder of SIBlings, a group of designers and developers that design and bring crazy ideas to life. We’re the co-creators of Emoji Salad, an emoji Pictionary SMS game that makes friends out of enemies and enemies out of friends.

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