Most people born in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s will react to hearing the word “bidet” by donning an Australian accent and saying “for washing your backside, right?” We will never tire of hearing that! However, let us clear up one common misconception about bidets: there are several different types of them. Let’s take a trip around the world to look at how different countries deal with, well, you know.
The French Twist
The bidet basin seen in Crocodile Dundee originated in France in the 1600s. In French, the word bidet means “small horse” or “pony”. The idea behind the name was to indicate that the bidet user needs to straddle the seat as if riding a horse.
Arnold Cohen, Bidet King Extraordinaire
The modern-day bidet that typically comes to mind was invented by Arnold Cohen who lived in Brooklyn, New York. His father had a medical condition and his caring son invented the bidet so ease the discomfort. How sweet! It was coined the American Sitzbath. This seat washed and dried the behind. It included a hose as well as a foot pedal for operation. The problem was that though many people could find relief with the American Sitzbath, very few actually wanted to talk about it out loud. Mr. Cohen installed the seats by the thousands across suburban New York as hardly any network was willing to air his ads. So, Arnold licensed and patented his invention and pitched it to the Toto Company in Japan. Toto Co. upgraded it and by 1989 the Washlet Sleek was launched.
It’s Big in Japan!
Japan is big on personal hygiene and cleanliness. In Japan, it is customary to remove your shoes when entering a traditional household or restaurant. Often a set of slippers will be provided to you to use during your visit or stay. The streets, buses and subways are very clean in Japan and hand sanitizer dispensers in public areas have been common since long before 2020. It should come as no surprise that this nation takes bathroom hygiene to another level with many toilet designs that are much more elaborate than ones in other countries.
The most commonly found bidet in Japan is the bidet toilet, and it is found in more than 81% of Japanese homes. How did Japan get on the bidet train? As we stated above, Arnold Cohen pitched his idea to Toto Co. and Japan took the invention to another level. It was a hit, a bit hit. Unsurprisingly so, considering how highly the Japanese value cleanliness. It was a perfect fit for the culture of Japan.
Japanese bidets often have a huge number of bells and whistles. Warm seats and warm water, as well as music to stimulate bowel movement, flushing sound effects to dampen mortifying noises and even air conditioning!
Finland – Saunas and Bidettas
The land of the saunas! Finland has a population of approximately 5.3 million people. There are over 2 million saunas in Finland. Did you know that there are more Bidetta hand showers in Finland than saunas? How many Bidettas per capita are there in Finland? No, this is not a math question on a school test, though we think it would be an interesting one.
In 1968, an engineer working at Oras came up with the idea to create a hand shower for bathrooms. Most Finns know exactly what a Bidetta is and many would be amiss without one. If you travel to Finland and stay in a hotel, you may wonder what the small shower affixed to the wall near the toilet is to be used for. It is meant to be versatile, though most people in Finland use it for hygiene purposes. Some use it to clean the bathroom or even to wash their hair in the sink. It must be said that we do not recommend washing your hair in the sink, especially with all the incredible shower heads available today.
The Bidetta is active once the sink faucet is turned on. Simply pull the trigger handle on the shower wand and the flow of water will be redirected from the faucet to the Bidetta. The original Bidetta design went through some hiccups and was redone several times before it was perfected. We have to give it to the Finns for their advertising methods. Don Draper didn’t dream this ad up. Only a Finn could think up something so bold, so outrageous that it just might work. Their humorous magazine ads featured a naked but carefully concealed Finnish man with a mustache, on a toilet, using the Bidetta.
One of the most popular bidets of today is the Tushy Spa 3.0 Warm Water Bidet. One can be installed in most modern bathrooms quite easily and it is affordable compared to other, traditional bidets. Whichever bidet you choose, we think you will love it!