Since the 2019 pandemic, the use of bidets has increased dramatically in the United States.
This is true for all types of bidets, but especially for travel or portable ones. These offer convenience even while on the go, as they are easy to carry, ensure proper hygiene, and reduce reliance on less-than-ideal facilities when away from home.
And this guide aims to explain how to use such portable bidets properly for the best experience.
What Is A Portable Bidet?
Sometimes confused with a toilet, a bidet is a bathroom hygiene fixture that helps clean your private parts but, unlike a toilet, does not capture waste. In modern bathrooms, it is generally used along with a toilet and may be portable or full-sized. Both types of bidets work by spraying water on your genitals and anus to get rid of the waste and clean the area.
However, a portable bidet is slightly different from a full-sized bidet, which resembles a low sink or basin and is placed next to the toilet or built into it. Portable bidets comprise a small bottle that contains water and a spray nozzle attachment on top for spraying water. These bidets may be electric or non-electric and can be carried easily in a bag, purse, or suitcase while traveling.
A non-electric travel bidet may have a bottle with a nozzle and tube attachment and may require squeezing the bottle to release water for cleaning. Another type of this bidet comprises an add-on bidet nozzle that can be screwed or inserted into any plastic bottle.
The advantage of this type of portable bidet is that you can choose a bottle depending on how much water is required. Unfortunately, non-electric portable bidets require a certain amount of manual pressure to let the water flow out in a continuous stream for proper cleaning. In some cases, applying the required pressure may not be possible.
For instance, people with surgeries or those dealing with conditions like arthritis or other problems may not find such bidets suitable. That’s where portable electric bidets can help, which are battery-operated or may support USB charging. These do not require the application of manual pressure for operation.
How To Use A Portable Bidet
Operating A Travel Bidet
A non-electric portable bidet is a mechanically operated device that first needs to be filled with water. To operate it, you need to hold the bidet in one hand while turning the bottle upside down. In most cases, such bidets have an airlock at the bottom, which helps prevent leakages.
This should be covered by a finger while aiming the nozzle of the bidet where required. Once in position, remove the finger from the airlock and start squeezing the bottle to force the water to come out and clean the desired areas. In the case of a battery-powered portable bidet, there is a button that releases the water without needing to squeeze the bidet bottle.
Using a non-electric or an electric bidet ensures better hygiene than just wiping with tissue paper. It can help remove waste using hot or cold water, which is released at high pressure, though tissue paper can be used to supplement it. Additionally, unlike toilet paper, portable bidets work without coming into contact with the body.
Drying After Using A Portable Bidet
There are several misconceptions regarding various types of bidets, and portable ones are no exception. Many people avoid using them, thinking they can lead to messy situations. But this is not totally correct since only a certain region is exposed to water and can be dried quickly.
That said, for better drying capabilities, a standalone bidet seat with such features might be better than a portable one, though it cannot be used while traveling. With a portable hand-held bidet sprayer, you can use a paper towel for drying after washing, which is safer than the towels provided in public restrooms.
How Effective Are Portable Bidets?
Like a regular hand-held bidet sprayer, a portable bidet can help clean the nether regions without relying on toilet paper but can even be used away from home. And as with handheld bidets, some portable options work much better than others. This may be due to better build quality, ease of use, or additional features that enhance the user experience.
That being said, it is crucial to understand that learning to use a portable bidet sprayer properly requires some practice. Determining the right angle at which the water stream should be directed for the most effective cleaning may take some time and effort.
Because of this, some people may find it easier to clean using toilet paper than a bidet, especially while traveling. Also, most portable bidets generally have bottles that do not contain much water. While the quantity may be adequate for some, others may require more water.
Another factor to keep in mind is that these bidets are often used at home despite being portable. But for such purposes, there are regular bidets that are attached to or next to the toilet seat. These allow better cleaning since the water supply is not as limited. Alternatively, there are bidet seats attached to toilet bowls that serve the same purpose.
Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Portable Bidet
While a portable bidet sprayer can be an excellent way to reduce toilet paper use, there are a few things to remember when using it. Firstly, people who do not have a robust immune system or are recovering from an ailment should avoid using them or any type of bidet.
This is because the chances of incorrect usage are incredibly high, which may lead to improper cleaning, resulting in infections. Additionally, for males, if a bidet is used prior to a bowel movement, it may lead to itchiness in the anus.
It may be due to the angle of the bidet spray, which means it can be more common with portable bidet showers, where getting the right angle can be tricky. Aside from that, there are also some concerns regarding bidet use when it comes to feminine hygiene. Women using travel bidets with warm water may be at a higher risk of bacterial vaginitis.
The reason is that warm water can upset the balance of bacteria present in the region, which are responsible for ensuring that the organ remains healthy. Additionally, the improper direction of water can cause dirty water to flush the area leading to infections.
Portable Bidet Best Use Cases
There are several situations in which using a portable or travel bidet can be the ideal solution.
1. Certain Ailments
Generally, using a bidet sprayer is not advisable for people who have recently been ill or lack a strong immune system. But there are certain medical conditions in which doctors recommend using them instead of cleaning with toilet paper.
For instance, patients with external hemorrhoids should avoid using dry toilet paper as that can cause bleeding. But finding regular bidet attachments can be difficult when you’re traveling. A portable handheld bidet sprayer can be used in such cases to clean the area and allow it to heal gently. Thus, it can be very useful in eliminating discomfort and anxiety even when away from home.
2. Bedridden Patients
Travel bidets can be very useful for patients who cannot go to the bathroom and rely on others for care. For instance, after childbirth or colorectal surgery, such bidets can ensure that the area remains completely clean.
3. People With Limited Motion Range
Obese and elderly people have a reduced range of motion, making it difficult for them to use toilet paper to clean themselves. Alternatively, some people may have recently undergone surgery and may be in the same situation. In all these instances, electric and non-electric bidets can be very useful.
4. For Additional Cleanliness
It is common to use a bidet prior to or post sexual intercourse to ensure maximum cleanliness. But this may not be possible while traveling, as not all accommodations may offer toilets with bidet attachments. Fortunately, this problem can be easily overcome with a portable handheld bidet sprayer.
5. Cleaning Infants
Handheld bidets that are portable can easily be used to clean infants when changing diapers instead of using a washcloth and may be better for their sensitive skin. When traveling, such bidets can be used with a portable toilet in a travel trailer or camper.
Some Points To Note When Using A Travel Bidet
1. Testing The Bidet
When using a portable or regular bidet for the first time, make sure to try it out before using it. Determine where the water stream will come out from the nozzle, which will depend on the angle at which the bidet shower is held. Doing so will help avoid spraying water on unwanted areas.
2. Cleaning With Toilet Paper
A bidet attachment, whether a handheld bidet or a portable one, can help reduce the amount of toilet paper used in a household. However, you will still need to use it for wiping yourself when using a bidet to ensure proper cleaning and prevent water wastage. But a lesser amount of toilet paper will be needed for such purposes.
3. Using The Bidet As A Mini Shower
When using a portable or regular handheld bidet sprayer, soap or detergent is unnecessary. That said, it is possible to add some detergent to the water and use it as a mini shower for more effective cleaning.
4. Removing Pieces Of Clothing
Before turning on the bidet sprayer, make sure to get any pieces of clothing, such as trousers, underwear, and other items, out of the way of the water stream. A strong stream can cause dirty water to splash onto these and spoil them.
5. Drying Yourself Properly After Bidet Use
After using a bidet, your nether regions and hands will be wet, which should be dried properly before leaving the bathroom. However, avoid using the same towel used for drying your private areas to dry other areas.
6. Avoid Storing Water In Portable Bidets
Since portable bidets have removable caps, water can be stored inside them while traveling. But this is not a good idea since it can lead to leaks and affect portability. Instead, it is better to simply fill such bidets with warm or cold water as required when it is to be used.
Proper maintenance of a portable bidet is crucial to prevent the spread of infections and maintain proper hygiene. To do so, make sure to wash the bidet with clean water after using the bathroom each time.
Are portable bidets sanitary?
Compared to traditional cleaning methods, using a portable bidet is much more sanitary since it does not leave behind any traces of waste, unlike toilet paper.
How to disinfect a portable bidet after use?
Turn the portable bidet upside down and dunk it into water that contains some vinegar. Leave the nozzle submerged for about 15 minutes to disinfect it.
Can you sterilize a portable bidet?
While cleaning with soap and water is fine, avoid boiling or sterilizing a portable bidet at high temperatures, as that can damage it.
Should you use a portable bidet without toilet paper?
A high-quality portable bidet can be used without toilet paper, though wiping with the paper along with using the bidet can ensure better hygiene.
How long does a portable bidet last?
Depending on the quality and the type, a portable bidet can easily last for several years. Electric ones only need their battery to be replaced.
While bidets have been used in regions like the Middle East, South America, and Asia for several centuries, they have only recently become popular in the US. Various brands, such as Toto, Tushy, and Bio Bidet, now offer various types of bidets in the country, and portable ones are among their best-selling offerings.
These modern bidets offer quite a few advantages over traditional cleaning methods after toilet use and even over-built bidets. The most significant benefit is their ease of use, especially with electric bidets. But as mentioned above, they may only be suitable in some situations, and their use ultimately depends upon personal choice.