Author: Jessica Spiegel

5 Creative Uses for a Bidet


A bidet in its natural habitat

A bidet in its natural habitat

One of the great adventures for anyone who’s a first-time traveler outside
the United States comes not in the form of a new cuisine or a new language, but
rather in the form of a new piece of plumbing. I’m talking, of course, about the
bidet. Sure, countless people the world over consider it a normal part of any
well-appointed bathroom, but many Americans walk into their first foreign hotel
room’s john and think, "That’s funny, why is there a second toilet in here? And
why doesn’t it have a lid?"

The truth is that while the bidet has a very traditional (and, many argue,
more sanitary than wiping) purpose in the eyes of the people who grow up with
them, American travelers have for years come up with new and ingenious ways to
use the bidet. Let this article be a challenge to you to not only try a few of
these alternate uses for a bidet on your next trip, but to come up with even
more uses for bidets. You’re even encouraged to send us photographs of your
bidet uses – just please don’t send in the pictures of you or anyone else using
the bidet for what it’s actually intended. No one wants to see that kind of
thing. Trust us.

Pet Drinking Fountain

Why buy that plastic pet fountain when you've got this?

Why buy that plastic pet fountain when you’ve got this?

When I visited friends in northern
Italy some years ago, they gleefully demonstrated how their cat had taken to
using the bidet spout as her drinking fountain. My friends were (and remain)
American, so they don’t actually use their bidet, which made me wonder how the
cat even knew the spigot on the thing produced water (perhaps my friends lied to
me about not using it?), but the fact remains that anyone who went into the
guest bathroom in their apartment would, if the cat followed, be meowed at until
they turned on the bidet’s faucet so she could have a drink. Clearly, she wasn’t
the only pet who uses the bidet as a drinking fountain, the photograph here – of
not my friends’ cat – being all the evidence necessary. Of course, if only my
friends had been able to teach their cat to use the bidet as a toilet like
this cat is doing
, that might have made morning litterbox duty much less

Last-Minute Leg Shaving

Stubble on your shins? Bidet shaving to the rescue!

Stubble on your shins? Bidet shaving to the rescue!

Ladies, who among us hasn’t
skipped the whole routine of shaving our legs in the morning shower because we
were short on time or just didn’t think we’d end up baring it all to anyone who
mattered that day? I swear, it’s only on those days when you know you’re
sporting 3-4 day stubble up to your knees that you get that fantastic
last-minute invitation to go out dancing with the hunky Italian guys you met at
the Trevi Fountain, isn’t it? And of course, when you rush back to your hotel
room to get ready for your evening of frivolity you realize the shower is being
hogged by one of your girlfriends, which won’t leave the rest of you enough time
to shower and primp. What’s a girl to do? Why, use the bidet of course! It’s the
ideal basin for that quick leg shave and rinse before donning that short skirt
and cute ballet flats that everyone totally told you not to bring
because you’d never wear them anyway. Heck, you could even shave your legs in
the bidet while wearing that skirt. Hrmph. You showed them. Now go get your
groove thang on.

Foot Washer

Bubble Bath in the Bidet

Bubble Bath in the Bidet

This might be my personal favorite, not
because of its creativity or unusualness, but because this is what I’ve always
used a bidet for myself when traveling. You know how it goes – you’ve spent an
entire day traipsing around dusty streets in sandals in the heat of summer, so
your sweaty and stinky feet are veritable magnets for dust. But the last thing
you want to do is crawl into your nice, clean bed with those foul footsies,
right? Personally, I’m often too tired (read: lazy) at the end of a long
sight-seeing day to take yet another shower to clean off, so washing the city’s
dirt off my feet in the bidet is, to me, the perfect solution. If you’re
suffering from tired feet on top of the scourge of smelly/dirty feet, soaking
them before hitting the hay is also a great way to revive yourself for the next
day’s tourist duties. And, depending on the position of the actual toilet in
your hotel bathroom (and provided said toilet has a lid), you can either relax
with a book while your feet soak
, or take care of (ahem) other business in
the ultimate act of bathroom multitasking.

Baby Bath

Baby in the (Bidet) Bathtub

Baby in the (Bidet) Bathtub

Families traveling with really small kids
know all too well how many outfits a baby can go through in a day – from
exploded diapers to spilled bottles to lunch making an encore appearance all
over that onesie, there’s seemingly no end to the messes that babies can get
themselves into. And all this before they’re even mobile! Aside from being a
great place to wash your baby’s clothing so as not to leave poop-stained pants
soaking in the sink where the rest of the family is attempting to do things like
wash faces or brush teeth, the bidet also makes a perfect baby bath as well.
It’s small, shallow, and already in the bathroom where it’s surrounded by tile
and therefore impervious to any flailing or splashing your munchkin gets into
while immersed. The only downside to using the bidet as a baby bath is that
it’ll require you to do a lot of squatting, as they’re pretty low to the ground
(I’m talking about the bidets here, not the kids), but for any Mom who’s thrown
out her back leaning over a traditional tub, the bidet will probably be a
welcome relief.

Beer Cooler

Grab a cool one, if you dare...

Grab a cool one, if you dare…

If anyone curls their lip up at some of these
uses for a bidet, seeing as how in normal life they’re for washing away what
toilet paper just can’t quite get to and therefore may be seen as unclean, those
same people may become physically ill if they were to see a bidet used as a beer
cooler. Of course, it’s not like the beer has been dumped out of its protective
glass bottling into the bidet and then ladled into your cup using a rusty spoon,
but the very idea of pulling something you’re planning to drink out of something
that resides next to the toilet can be a little disconcerting. If it comforts
you at all, in a hotel the bidet is going to get cleaned pretty much every day,
so it’s not like there are going to be odd stains in odd places in the bottom of
the bowl. And if you’re still worried, you can always skip the beer altogether
and serve as the designated driver for the evening. Because if you think the
bidet as beer cooler is bad, you should see where they keep the jungle

About the Author
BootsnAll staff writer Jessica
Spiegel is obsessed with all things Italy, and writes the Italy Travel Guide. She’s working on
moving to Italy, and one day looks forward to having her very own bidet to
completely misuse.

original photo locations, from top to bottom: Lance and Erin on Flickr, jodie on Picasa, Jan on Picasa, .Ariel on Flickr, Kari Borders Senegal blog, and Vagabondish