Empty Toilet Paper Panic Buying bidet sprayers sustainability dad

Everything You Need To Know About Bidet Sprayers? ( FAQs Answered )

What Is A Bidet Sprayer?

Bidet sprayers, also known as handheld bidets, are types of bidets that come in the form of a short hose with a handheld nozzle. Think of a garden hose with a spray gun and you will get a general idea.

Who Uses A Bidet Sprayer?

Bidet sprayers are common to homes and public places throughout South East Asia and in many Muslim countries. (where it’s called a shattaf).

The same commonality however cannot be said of the West. Here wiping with sheets of soft paper is the norm and bidets sprayers, (or bum guns) are a relative rarity.

However, these little units are becoming more and more popular due to their low cost, easy installment, and money-saving capabilities.

Believe it or not, they can reduce your toilet paper spend by 80 to 100%!

Do Bidets Sprayers Work?

The short answer is YES. Bidet sprayers are very common in the Eastern world and can be found in many homes, public toilets, and places of high human traffic. 

They are viewed as a very effective, and hygienic way to clean fecal material from your butt after you poop.

Toilet paper smears fecal mess and leaves a thin layer upon the body which is unhygienic and encourages bacterial growth.

Do Bidet Sprayers Use Cold Water?

Yes, most bidet sprayers are attached to your cold water feed and so will splash cold water over your warm butt. 

However, most people become accustomed to the sensation very quickly while others may even find it pleasant.

What is warming though is knowing that using a bidet sprayer is saving trees, animal habitats, and is the environmentally right thing to do.

Are Bidets Sprayers Sanitary?

Bidet sprayers use a constant stream of water to wash fecal matter away, and off, your body leaving your undercarriage hygienically clean. 

This level of cleanliness is far superior to conventional toilet paper and bidets are recommended by health officials.

Does Poop Spray Everywhere?

When using a bidet sprayer you have complete control of the water pressure and the direction of the flow. Therefore accidents can be avoided and although it may take a little practice at first, you will soon get the hang of it.

How Long Will A Bidet Spray Gun Last?

A handheld bidet spray gun is very similar to a showerhead and if used correctly will last just as long. If it does fail and begin to leak then just like your shower head it is quick easy and cheap to repair or replace.

How Do You Clean A Bidet Spray?

You can clean a bidet spray head by wrapping it in a bag filled with white vinegar sealed with an elastic band. The vinegar will dissolve any clogging material, and disinfect plus freshen the sprayer.

For the most effective results please leave the sprayer in the bag overnight.

You can then wipe the sprayer with hot water, spray a test sample into the bowl and you’re good to go! If after the test the sprayer is still clogged, simply make sure that the t-valve is in the off position and remove the sprayer head.

Next, repeat the vinegar in a bag solution as the vinegar should now be able to penetrate all parts of the sprayer head. Leave overnight and fully rinse in the morning before replacing and testing.

Small marks can be removed from a sprayer head by rubbing it over with a lemon dipped in baking soda.

lemon for cleaning
baking soda plus lemon for cleaning sustainability dad

To read about more natural cleaning recipes please follow the link to: 

23 Reader Suggested Natural Cleaning Recipes That Actually Work.

Can I Install A Bidet Sprayer Myself?

The short answer is Yes. Bidet Sprayers are built and designed to be DIY upgrades and all the parts required will be included in the box. There should be no new plumbing changes to make to existing pipework or wall fittings.

At its core, there are very few steps that you need to take to fit a new bidet sprayer. To give you an idea of how easy it is I have laid out the core fitting elements below:

  • 1. Shut off the water at the valve, and flush the water from the tank.
  • 2. Disconnect the water inlet pipe to the tank and add the T-connection that came with your bidet sprayer. This will allow for water to run to both the tank and your new bidet seat.
  • 2. Connect the hose from the T-connection to your bidet sprayer and reconnect the inlet pipe to the tank.
  • 3. Ensure that the bidet sprayer is turned off and then turn the water supply back on. Check for leaks and tighten appropriately but do not overtighten.

A full set of instructions will come with your new sprayer but essentially that is all there is to it.

How To Use A Bidet Sprayer

This type of bidet connects directly to your bathroom clean water source, not the toilet water so they are 100% sanitary. 

Bidet sprayers are usually mounted onto the wall within reachable distance from the toilet and they are used to clean up after using the toilet.

When using the sprayer, you have to manually hold the spray gun, and control the angle and pressure by hand. This can prove difficult at first but with a little practice, it will soon become second nature.

Just don’t press the trigger completely down as they can be quite powerful

Unfortunately, they can be a little tricky for the uninitiated so here is a guide that will go through every step on how to use a bidet sprayer. 

Turn On The T-Valve

A t-valve is a plumbing fixture that splits the water flow into two different directions. In this case, it will be located just below the toilet cistern attached to the water inlet pipe. 

The t-valve will have a small handle attached to it to enable freshwater to flow into the hose. This water is the same as your tap water so it is perfectly clean and hygienic.

As previously mentioned the water pressure can be quite fierce. Therefore I would recommend a little experimenting with the t-valve handle settings to obtain a comfortable flow. 

This would typically be about 20% to 30% of the max flow.

The water pressure can also be fully controlled by the trigger on your sprayer head so full comfort can be achieved.

It is important to note that when the sprayer is not in use it should be turned fully off at the t-valve. This avoids unnecessary wear on the hose fittings from the constant water pressure from the inlet pipe.

In a similar way, you wouldn’t leave your garden hose constantly on and under pressure would you?

Test The Sprayer Before Using The Toilet

It is always a good idea to test the unit before doing the business. Doing this will allow you to get a feel for the water pressure coming in from the t-valve. And it will ensure that the sprayer is working as it should.

I always recommend taking this step as the water pressure is not constant and can change with the weather. You certainly don’t want the water strength to surprise you while you’re using it and it only takes a moment.

To test your sprayer just aim it into the bowl and turn on the spray by depressing the trigger on the sprayer head. This is also a great way of cleaning your toilet bowl and I love this duel use.

Travel Tip: If you come across a handheld sprayer in a public restroom during your travels, it’s a good idea to give it a quick wipe. (Not everybody has clean hands). 

Following this, use the bidet sprayer to wash down the toilet seat (if there is one), and dry it using hand drying paper.

By doing this you will ensure that you will have the most hygienic experience in a foreign country.

toilet sign

Do I Need To Wipe Before Using A Bidet Sprayer?

Once you have completed all your bowel movements you may feel the need to wipe your anus prior to using the bidet sprayer. This is normal and not to be discouraged, however, not all bowel movements will require a wipe. 

Wiping is not mandatory and so it will come down to personal preference and ‘on-site’ conditions.

Using The Bidet Sprayer (Bum Gun)

For the sake of good hygiene, especially for women, it’s always best to spray from front to back. However, if that proves to be impossible please bear in mind where the water will spray out to.

So after you’ve finished your business, it’s time to unhook the sprayer from the wall and get ready to spray.

You should begin by lowering the head down either through the back or front, depending on your preference. Next, aim it at an angle close to horizontal and slightly downwards towards yourself and gently start to spray.

You can then adjust the pressure and position of the spray but be careful, you don’t want any unnecessary splashbacks! You should be able to adjust the pressure and angle of spray during use until you feel clean.

If this is your first time using a sprayer, be careful not to jump at the initial contact as it will be unfamiliar. 

And if you are spraying from back to front, (not recommended), remember that the spray can potentially cause a mess if aimed in the wrong direction.

To counter this always point the spray downwards if you intend to increase the pressure. 

Continue Washing Until You Feel Clean

Many people struggle with this at first so don’t worry about it. It’s like learning to drive for the first time. You will overthink everything and struggle a little, but before you know it it will become second nature to you.

However, it is important that you spray for at least 15 to 30 seconds from a sanitary point of view. Once done replace the sprayer back into the holder that is usually located on the wall or the toilet cistern.

Check And Dry

If required you can check to see if you are completely clean with a sheet of toilet paper. Many people use washable baby wipes or small flannels for this task. 

By using cloths you can cut your toilet paper usage to nil and help to save the environment.

Please read my article, Bidets – an affordable and sustainable way to reduce deforestation.

Any cloths used to check and dry can then be conveniently dropped into a small, lidded container. This will keep the bathroom fresh and keep the cloths separate from all other laundries.

Flush The Toilet And Turn The T-Valve To Off

It is important to remember that you need to turn the t-valve to the off position after using the handheld sprayer.

As previously mentioned the constant water pressure will wear on the sprayer parts and they will eventually fail.

Ohh, and don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water before you leave!

Are There Any Health Benefits Of Using A Bidet?

health benefits from using a bidet sprayer

Toilet paper does not effectively remove fecal matter but just smears it around until it is barely visible. This thin bacterial layer can lead to many health problems including, Urinary tract infections and anal itching. 

Furthermore, this layer of bacteria and unclean feeling can lead to excessive wiping that can cause anal fissures and external and internal hemorrhoids.

Bidet sprayers by comparison can prevent UTIs and associated problems by offering a refreshing and sanitary way to remove bacteria. And Yes a bidet can clean inside your butt if you don’t mind turning the pressure up!

With constant use of a bidet sprayer, hemorrhoids will stop bleeding and eventually shrink. And as a bonus, many people report that “your butt will never be itchy again”.

Can A Bidet Sprayer Increase The Risk Of UTIs?

UTIs (Urinary tract infections), can occur when the bacteria from poop spread to the urethra and contaminates the body. 

However, washing with water is very effective at preventing UTIs as the bacteria is being washed, away from, and off the body. This is not true of toilet paper which only spreads the bacteria around and may leave a thin layer of bacteria-laden poop in place.

Should a bidet spray wash bacteria into a sensitive area, further washing will reduce the bacterial count to trace amounts.

Remember it is washing the bacteria OFF, and away, from the body. Any traces of bacteria that do remain will be trivial and should not prove to be a health risk.

In fact, any potential risk of accidental contamination is far outweighed by all the hygiene benefits gained from using a bidet in the first place!

How Long Do You Spray With A Bidet Sprayer?

For most people spraying for approximately 20 to 60 seconds is a good average to aim for. However, exactly how long you run the water for is a matter of personal preference depending upon the task at hand.

Do Bidet Sprayers Use A Lot Of Water?

Bidets only use about 1/8th of a gallon of water per usage compared with 1.5 gallons per average flush. Bidet sprayers use only as much water as you feel necessary at the time but will push up that 1.5-gallon number.

However, those who use a bidet sprayer will be using between 80% to 100% less toilet paper which represents a considerable cost saving.

Other savings, which are also considerable, are represented in my article, The Dirty Truth About Toilet Paper And Its Environmental Damage, which I strongly encourage you to read.

Are You Supposed To Dry After Using A Bidet Sprayer?

This comes down to personal choice but it is always useful to have a small cloth or segment of toilet paper nearby. Small individual cloth squares that are washable are great for dabbing your butt dry and reducing toilet paper usage. 

Don’t worry this is not as gross as it sounds as the bidet sprayer should remove all fecal matter.

Many people have individual cloth squares next to the toilet and a small lidded bin to place them in after usage.

  • Zero waste paperless towels! Eco-friendly organic bamboo!
  • Plush and Gentle on sensitive dry skin, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, vaginal & other sensitive areas!
  • Never run out with washable toilet paper friends!

Can I Use A Wet Wipe With My Bidet Sprayer?

No. Wet wipes claim to be biodegradable and flushable, however, they do not live up to either of these claims. Wet wipes are plastic and will only biodegrade under strict industrial conditions.

Prior to that they will clog sewerage pipes and release harmful microplastics into the water systems, water treatment works, and oceans.

Bidet Sprayers Hygiene Vs Toilet Paper Hygiene

Wiping with toilet paper can be rough on the skin and is not guaranteed to clear all debris. By its very nature, it can only smear a stain until it is barely visible, but it won’t remove it entirely. 

This can lead to excessive wiping, bacterial growth, uncomfortable itching, and anal aromas.

Excessive wiping is a major cause of anal problems such as anal fissures, hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, and urinary tract infections. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria – present in poop – entering the urinary tract.

Handheld bidet sprayers can reduce all of the above considerations, as any poop is washed away and not merely smeared about. Furthermore, drying off from a bidet is more of a dabbing action than a wiping one.

This greatly reduces the need to excessively wipe and the associated feeling of discomfort. Those who use a handheld bidet sprayer frequently report an improvement in overall health and comfort.

It has also been discovered that some recycled tissue can also contain BPA. (BPA is a toxic endocrine disruptor).

This was evidenced in a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study found BPA in many paper products, including 80 of the 99 samples tested containing toilet paper.

Are Bidet Sprayers Good For The Old Or Infirm?

Bidets and Bidet sprayers provide an easy and less strainful way to clean up for those with mobility issues.

Pregnant women, children and those who have recently undergone surgery can all benefit from the simplicity and flexibility of a bidet sprayer system. 

Bidets and bidet sprayers can also give a great feeling of independence and embarrassment reduction for the old and infirm.

VERY QUICK AND EASY TO INSTALL:

This kit contains all the things you need to install the bidet sprayer in less than 10 minutes, without any professional help!

See the video below: 

Is A Bidet Sprayer Environmentally Friendly?

Bidet sprayers only use clean water to service your undercarriage and all of this water is returned to the sewerage system.

In this scenario, toilet paper usage is minimal and therefore reduces the strain on water treatment works and sewer maintenance.

Less work requires fewer resources and in this way, the carbon footprint of the cleanup chain is reduced significantly. The same principle applies to the sourcing, extraction, and processing of the raw materials to make toilet paper.

At present, upwards of fifteen million trees are logged each year just to feed the American toilet paper habit.

Or, for those who like things, a little simpler, Lloyd Alter of the website treehugger.com reports this.

The resources required to make a single roll of toilet paper are:

  • 1.5 pounds of wood
  • 37 gallons of water (+ chemicals)
  • 1.3 kilowatt/hours of electricity

All of this processing and the inevitable environmental pollution is resulting in mass deforestation, species extinction, and global climate change.

Whereas, by simply using water as a cleaning medium, all of this unnecessary harm and expenditure could be nullified.

Furthermore, the water that is used can then be reclaimed and recycled through existing water treatment systems at a fraction of the cost.

In this way, bidets and bidet sprayers can be said to be environmentally friendly.

How Can A Plastic Bidet Sprayer Be Environmentally Friendly?

Nothing is perfect and bringing more plastic into the world is not something I want to encourage but we must be realistic.

Forests, wildlife habitats, and whole ecosystems are being destroyed at an alarming rate. All in the name of toilet paper. These ecosystems drive the climates of the world and without them, massive changes are on the horizon.

However, plastics drive change over a far longer period of time and therefore at a slower rate. Moreover, new technologies such as plastic-eating bacteria may help us to eradicate the plastics problem over time.

If this is the case, then I have to say that plastic bidet sprayers are less of an immediate threat to the planet than toilet paper. Plus, the majority of bidet sprayers are metal and contain but a few plastic parts

For a more detailed explanation please read:

The dirty truth about toilet paper and its environmental damage.

Does A Bidet Sprayer Change The Way A Toilet Works?

A bidet sprayer attaches to the water inlet pipe of the toilet and does not change how the toilet operates. 

This means that if a guest or family member prefers not to use the bidet sprayer the toilet will continue to function as normal. 

The bidet sprayer head will be attached to the wall or to the side of the toilet out of the way but conveniently located.

Why Are Bidets Not Popular In America?

Many people believe that in WW11 American soldiers kept seeing bidets in European brothels. From this, they associated bidets with the idea of sex work, poor cleanliness, and immorality.

On returning to America the learned bias against bidets kicked in and the path was set to keep bidets out of the home.

Can You Use Bidet Sprayers For Pleasure?

A Bidet sprayer functions by spraying water at a controlled flow and intensity at your sensitive regions. 

Therefore, as you have full control of the spray of water flowing over these areas it can be used very effectively to stimulate the anus and clitoris. 

With the right amount of skill, dexterity, and imagination it is possible to achieve arousal and eventually, climax.

Pros & Cons Of Handheld Bidets

When looking at purchasing any product, there are always high-level pros and cons to consider. Deciding to buy a handheld bidet sprayer is no exception to that rule and it’s also a personal decision.

However, I have put together a few points that may help to guide you in the process.

Pros

  • A non-electric bidet is eco-conscious as there are no man-made resources being used.
  • You are saving money and reducing deforestation by decreasing the amount of toilet paper required.
  • Substantially more hygienic and ergonomically comfortable for those with mobility issues.
  • Cleaning with water is substantially less painful for those with sensitive skin compared to wiping. 
  • Some anal problems and irritations can be significantly reduced, prevented, or eliminated by washing not wiping.
  • A level of dignity can be given back to those who would otherwise need assistance to clean themselves. 
  • Multi-use, clean yourself, or clean the dog, bath, or shower, it’s up to you!

Cons

  •  The chances of accidental floor wetting and bathroom flooding can be increased.
  • Using a bidet sprayer can be a little tricky at first and so might not be to everyone’s taste.
  • The very young may need to be weaned onto using a bidet sprayer at first.
  • Moving parts mean more chances for product failure whereas toilet paper has no moving parts.
  • Some trigger units can be a little hard to use for those with hand and muscle problems.

In Summary

Handheld bidet sprayers or, bum guns, if you prefer are a great first choice when first dipping your toe into the bidet market. 

They are small, cost-effective, easy to install, and are compatible with all toilets. Plus they can improve health, give independence to those with mobility problems, and improve personal hygiene standards.

Furthermore, you do not have to change the plumbing in your bathroom as the pipework is already in place. 

If you don’t own a bidet sprayer yet then I would highly recommend that you consider installing one without delay. And, although it may prove to be a little tricky to get used to at first, don’t worry, it will soon become second nature.

The unit will also pay for itself within months due to the reduction of toilet paper purchasing. However, the real gain will be to the environment and the reduction in both greenhouse gasses and deforestation.

If you’re having trouble selecting the right one, check out our review on the best handheld bidet sprayers to see which one’s right for you!

sustainability dad

Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys, would be amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019. 

sustainability dad recycle earth.png

He now has an army of followers who are like hearted individuals passionate about the environment and how to affect positive change through peaceful action.

Visit SiteGround Now

SiteGround caters to small businesses, startups, enterprise clients, and bloggers who value:

Instead of competing in one of these areas — like most web hosts do — SiteGround’s strategy is to provide all four.