Updated April 15, 2024

Bidets are common in many places, like Europe, Japan, and countries with large Muslim populations. They are, however, mostly absent from North American washrooms. Accordingly, Canadians use far more toilet paper than people in bidet-friendly areas — an average of 83 rolls per person each year.

Bidets have many advantages. They cut down on toilet paper usage, and they’re more sanitary as well. But, with the rise of easy-install bidet attachments, they’re also known to leak and cause water damage.

Thinking about a bidet? We’ve collected all the important things to know right here, from choosing the right type to installing it safely.

Bidet and regular toilet

What is a bidet?

A bidet is a device used to wash one’s nether regions after using the toilet. Bidets come in many forms.

The oldest style, and still common in many parts of the world, looks like a cross between a toilet and a sink. One fills the bidet with water and straddles it, using the water to wash themselves. Some have a handheld wand to spray water.

This classic style of bidet comes from 17th-century France, where bidets are still popular today. Italy, Spain and Portugal also have many bidets — they’re even mandatory in some places. One can also find bidets of assorted styles in countries with a strong Muslim presence.

Famously, Japan also has an affinity for bidets; 70–80% of Japanese homes have one.

Despite their popularity elsewhere, bidets haven’t caught on in North America yet.

Types of bidets

Classic or standalone bidets

These bidets are separate appliances from the toilet. They look like a second toilet, though they function more like a sink.

  • PROS: Ensure that you’re giving yourself a thorough wash.
  • CONS: Takes up lots of space and needs its own plumbing.
  • COST: $250–1,000

Handheld bidet attachment

These bidets are often connected to the toilet. They feature a handheld water spraying wand that you use to wash yourself.

  • PROS: Easy to use, easy to install, inexpensive.
  • CONS: Not as hygienic as hands-free options.
  • COST: $50–100

Non-electric bidet seat

This is one of the popular hands-free options. It comes in the form of a bidet attachment to your toilet seat (or replaces the seat entirely). There is a spray nozzle built into the seat, which you operate using a dial or button on the side. This bidet uses the plumbing system’s pressure and doesn’t need an electrical hookup.

  • PROS: Inexpensive, hands-free, easy to install.
  • CONS: No warm water or automatic features.
  • COST: $50–150
Bidet squirting water out

Electric bidet seat

Like the non-electric version, but with features like heated water and auto-retracting spray nozzle. Some even self-clean.

  • PROS: Hygienic and comfortable
  • CONS: Expensive, and most Canadian bathrooms don’t have electrical outlets next to the toilet
  • COST: $200–1,000

Bidet/toilet combination

The Cadillac of bidets. Similar in many ways to the electric bidet but integrated completely into the toilet. Often feature luxuries like heated seats, drying fans, and so forth.

  • PROS: Luxurious, hygienic, and extremely comfortable.
  • CONS: Expensive.
  • COST: $2000+

How does a bidet work?

Broadly, there are two kinds of bidets: hands-free and handheld. Most of the bidets in North America, including popular brands like Tushy, are hands-free. Throughout the rest of the article, that’s what we’ll be referring to.

Using a bidet is simple. First, use the toilet like you normally would.

Then, activate the bidet using the controls found at the side of the toilet. If it’s non-electronic, water will begin spraying immediately. There’s usually a switch to adjust the spray angle so it’s hitting the right spot, and often another switch to adjust the water pressure.

Electronic bidets usually have a slight delay between pressing the on button and the spray starting. The bidet spray nozzle needs to extend itself, and the water needs a few seconds to heat up.

Once you feel that you’re clean, you can turn off the bidet. If your bidet has such a feature, it’ll self-clean the spray nozzle after you’re done.

Then, dry yourself with a small amount of toilet paper if necessary.


One of the best things about bidets is freedom from toilet paper. That has a positive effect on your budget and on the environment. It’s win-win.

People in bidet-less North America use anywhere from $100–150 of toilet paper each year. For a family of four, even an expensive bidet pays for itself quickly.

Though toilet paper isn’t an issue for most sewer systems, homes that use septic tanks may benefit from flushing less solid waste.

The jury is still out on how much more sanitary bidets are than wiping with toilet paper, but most people agree that washing with water feels much cleaner.

Bidets are often helpful for people with physical disabilities who have difficulty using toilet paper. They’re also often more comfortable for people who have conditions such as hemorrhoids.

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Installing a bidet

Most bidet attachments are meant to be easy to install by oneself. However, faults with the installation (and water damage as a result) are common. If you don’t have much plumbing experience, it’s well worth the cost of hiring a professional to do the installation.

“It might indeed be wiser for most homeowners to consider professional installation,” says Josh Mitchell, Plumbing Technician with The Plumbing Lab. “I recommend people without any prior plumbing knowledge use a contractor to get the job done correctly. A professional plumber can ensure that the attachment is securely and correctly installed, reducing the risk of leaks or water damage.”

If you’re adding a standalone bidet, it’s another story. Standalone bidets need their own plumbing connections; it’s like installing a second toilet.

If you want an electronic bidet, you may need to install some new electrical outlets near your toilet. Hire a qualified electrician to do it for you if you’re inexperienced in working with electrical systems.

“For homeowners who decide to install a bidet attachment themselves, it’s important to thoroughly understand their home’s plumbing system and follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely,” says Mitchell.

He offers the following tips for someone who is confident in their plumbing knowledge and wishes to install the bidet attachment themself:

  1. Ensure that all connections are tightened securely to prevent leaks.
  2. Be mindful of the water pressure. High water pressure might require additional adjustments or parts to ensure the bidet functions properly without leaks.
  3. Double-check for compatibility between the bidet attachment and their toilet model to avoid improper fits that can lead to leaks or malfunctions. This is crucial because toilets vary in shape, and trying to add an incorrectly sized bidet model to your toilet will be a problem.
  4. Conduct a thorough inspection of the toilet and surrounding area before installation to identify any existing issues, such as leaks or cracks, that may need to be addressed beforehand.
  5. Use a high-quality plumber’s tape (Teflon tape) on threaded connections to create a watertight seal and prevent leaks. This is very important.
  6. Consider installing a shut-off valve on the water supply line to the bidet attachment for easier maintenance and repairs in the future.
  7. Test the bidet attachment thoroughly after installation to ensure proper functionality and check for any leaks or malfunctions.
  8. Keep the manufacturer’s contact information and warranty details readily accessible in case any issues arise during or after installation.
Avoid flooding by using water shut off valve

Maintenance and cleaning

Given that it’s part of a toilet, it goes without saying that you should clean the bidet occasionally.

Once each week, wipe down the bidet seat with the cleaning solution of your choice. Every few months, pop off the seat and clean the area underneath.

Electronic bidets often have a self-cleaning function for the spray nozzle. Even so, you should clean it yourself every so often using a toothbrush (not the one you use for your teeth!) and some cleaning solution. If your spray nozzle seems to be losing pressure, disconnect it and soak it in vinegar. Whatever is blocking the spray should loosen and dissolve.

Avoiding malfunctions and overflowing toilets

Even though bidets are still a relative rarity in Canada, poorly installed bidets have already been the culprit of water damage claims. If you add one to your home, take steps to avoid bidet-related floods. Mitchell offers the following advice for ongoing bidet maintenance:

  1. Inspect hoses and connections regularly for signs of wear or damage and replace them as needed. This should be done at least once a year or more frequently in areas with hard water.
  2. Clean the bidet nozzle and attachment according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent clogs and ensure hygienic use.
  3. Consider shutting off the bidet’s water supply if leaving home for an extended period to prevent potential leaks in their absence.

If you do notice a leak (even a tiny one) do not hesitate to shut off the water. Even a slight drip can spiral into mould and water damage that costs a lot to repair.

What will your home insurance provider want to know?

Most home insurers don’t ask specifically about bidets. However, as they grow in popularity in Canada, that may change.

The rise of bidet popularity in Canada has come with a corresponding rise in water damage from bidets. In fact, the average cost of settling a claim for bidet-related water damage is $20,873. And these claims happen far more often that you might think.

If you’re getting a bidet, it’s important to install and maintain it correctly even if your insurer doesn’t ask about it.

Water damage is never good.

Commonly asked questions

Are bidets sanitary?

One of the main benefits espoused by bidet enthusiasts is that they are more sanitary than toilet paper. While that certainly sounds plausible, actual research is a bit more lukewarm on the idea.

At the very least, bidets and toilet paper are equally sanitary.

Do bidets leave you wet?

Spraying one’s undercarriage with water does leave some wetness after the fact. Commonly, one finishes bidet usage by drying off with a small amount of toilet paper. Some high-end bidets have an air-drying feature.

Where can I buy a bidet?

With their surging popularity, bidets are now available from most major retailers in Canada. Rona, Amazon and the Home Depot all carry an assortment of bidets. You can also order them directly from manufacturers; Tushy and Luxe are two popular brands.

Is a bidet for a man or woman?

Both women and men can use bidets. In-seat bidets often have a dial or switch to adjust the position of the bidet spray nozzle depending on who is using it.

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