Invented in France during the early 1700’s, the bidet is a way to cleanse one’s private areas after using the toilet. It is a great alternative to toilet paper in that there is no direct contact required to clean, and it reduces the cost of buying toilet paper. Since the water sprays onto the body it also removes more waste particles than toilet paper. It is cleaner and more efficient than toilet paper.
The specific inventor of the bidet is unknown, but French furniture makers of the day are credited.
It was first used in the bedroom and was neighbor to the chamber pot. The most primitive bidet used a hand pump to bring a small fountain of water up from the bowl that rested on top of a small stool.
Starting in the 1900’s Bidets moved from the bedroom to the bathroom along with the chamber pot which is renamed a toilet. It was turned into a porcelain basin with a faucet like handle to turn on the water and it looked very much like a toilet but did not sit well with Americans. This model is still in use today in places like Europe and Asia.
In the 1980′s new technology from Japan turned them into a deluxe addition to the bathroom with a heated seat, hot and cold water, various spray settings, and ones that dry the area after cleansing. The Japanese also invented a more compact electronic bidet that can sit on the inside rim of a toilet and when the handle is moved, releases a horizontal rather than vertical spray in order to reduce any dirty water being sprayed back onto the body.
Although they provide more cleanliness than paper, and are used in numerous countries, these hygienic devises have yet to find popularity in the United States.