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Gentle and comfortable warm water toilet seat bidets

Warm water toilet seat bidets (electronic bidets) are unpretentious items but are filled with many features (Image provided by TOTO)

    Toilets are one area that many non-Japanese people praise after visiting Japan. You will often hear people say “I was amazed by the warm water toilet seat bidets. I want one in my house, too” or “I was surprised that the toilet seat was warm.”
    The toilet seat is warm in the winter, and the water shower that washes your bottom is comfortably warm. It dries you with warm air, and it automatically flushes and closes the lid when you stand up and leave the toilet. Everyone is surprised by the functions of these toilets that do everything for you.
     At the start, it seems that many people feel that they are hard to use because they have a lot of buttons, or they may feel uneasy about these toilet seats because they do not know where the water comes out. However, once they get used to these toilet seats, they get hooked on how pleasant they are.

An integrated toilet with electronic bidet (Image provided by LIXIL)

This product is an electronic bidet that you use after attaching to a toilet (Image provided by Panasonic)

Electronic Bidets Grew in Popularity Since the 1980s, and Now 80% or More of Households with Two or More People Have One

    Electronic bidets have hardly been popularized outside of Japan. However, they were not necessarily such a regular item in Japan from the start, either. The archetypal product for electronic bidets in Japan went on sale in 1964. This product was an electronic bidet for healthcare and welfare facilities, and it was as an import from America. Three years later, a Japanese household appliance manufacturer produced and sold the first Japanese-made toilet with electronic bidet attached. Later, other manufacturers made more and more improvements, and so products with a wide variety of features came to be popularly used in public facilities and regular homes.

Don’t Get Startled If the Lid Opens up by Itself

    This section will introduce you to details about these electronic bidets so that you will not get confused when you visit Japan.
    First, many people get startled by the toilet lid automatically opening and closing. The lid will open if a sensor detects that someone has come close (some kinds of electronic bidets will not have a seat that opens automatically—you will have to open it by yourself in this case).
    Next, many people are surprised that the toilet seat is warm when they sit on it. This is a welcome feature in the winter, because your skin comes into direct contact with the seat. Some people might feel uncomfortable at the start because it may seem like it is warm from the previous person using the toilet. However, you get used to these warmed seats quickly once you understand that this is not the case.
    When you sit on the toilet, you may notice a faint sound of water inside the toilet bowl if you listen carefully. This sound comes from water flowing or being sprayed in the toilet to prevent it from getting dirty.
    Some products will create an airflow inside the toilet bowl to prevent odors from rising up, and start sucking in odors at the same time.

A type of electronic bidet with a lid that opens and closes automatically (Image provided by TOTO)

Some products will spray water in the toilet before you use it to prevent it from getting dirty, and will disinfect the toilet after use by spraying water containing disinfectants (Image provided by TOTO)

Many Creative Ideas Are Implemented in the Warm Water Sprayed by Electronic Bidets

    The most important feature in electronic bidets is the “warm water cleaning” that happens after you use the toilet. When you press the button marked “Spray” or “Rear” on the control panel beside the bidet or on a remote control fixed to the wall, a nozzle will come out and spray warm water to clean your bottom.
    The water that the electronic bidet sprays is not ordinary warm water. It is kept at an ideally comfortable temperature based on carefully conducted experiments. There are also creative ideas implemented in the method for spraying the water. These bidets change the size and shape of the water droplets by changing the spray speed in a rhythmical way, and they also insert small bubbles into each water droplet to make it feel even better when the water cleans you. Each company even pays careful attention to the angle that the water is sprayed as well.

Electronic bidets change the size and shape of water droplets by changing the spray speed (Images provided by TOTO)

Water Flushes and the Lid Closes when You Stand up

    When cleaning is over, the electronic bidet dries you with warm air.
    Details will vary widely depending on the model and configuration, but some toilets will automatically flush and the lid will close when you stand up (some models do not flush automatically—if the toilet does not flush on its own when you get up from the toilet seat, make sure to flush it yourself).
    This marks the end of your pleasant toilet experience, but the toilet’s job does not stop here. It removes odors, disinfects, and cleans the nozzle while it heats the toilet seat and waits for the next person to come.

Creating a whirlpool in the flow of water enhances the effects of cleaning (Image provided by LIXIL)

Memorize These Pictograms

    The remote controls have a lot of buttons, but you will not use a large majority of them. Almost everything apart from starting and stopping the cleaning process will be done automatically by the electronic bidet. As users, all you need to do is memorize a few pictograms that are registered under international standards.

Rear cleaning spray

Front cleaning spray

(These pictograms are registered with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and in Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS). Among these, “Dry” is registered in Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) only)

Don’t Be Afraid—Press the Button on the Remote Control

    It is natural for Japanese people today to use electronic bidets, but many people were reluctant at the start. At least 30 years ago, electronic bidets were beginning to gain popularity. They would appear in TV commercials, but you could only see the real things occasionally in newly constructed buildings. What’s more, at this time, some people would not use them immediately even if an actual product was available to them. They would be inconvenienced if the water flew out in a strange direction and got their clothes wet, and they were not confident in how to use the remote control, so they just left the electronic bidets as they are for a while without using them. However, when people tried using them, they had no issues. On the contrary, they found it nothing but pleasant. Later, people began to lose awareness of how pleasant it is. It is amazing what habit can do.
    So you see, everyone feels the same way at the start. Don’t be afraid if you find an electronic bidet—try pressing the button on the remote control. You are sure to experience the start of a pleasant time.

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