This $100 Bidet Gently Powerwashed My Butt (& Saved My Underwear)

A few months ago, something weird started happening on Instagram: tucked in alongside aspirational flat lays of dainty jewelry and cabincore imagery of bougie bougies, I started noticing toilets. Not just any toilets, these were particularly stunning pictures of celebrity-status commodes that were fully tricked out with bidets. For the uninitiated, a bidet is a tiny water fountain that lives inside your toilet for the sole purpose of shooting a steady stream of water up onto your butt to cleanse it post-poop. Yeah. Surprisingly, I was less alarmed by the sight of these number-two devices and more intrigued by their taboo promise. Following a rabid spree of buying up ALL the toilet paper, a global pandemic with stay-at-home orders seemed as sensible a time as any to me for bidets to make their big mainstream debut.
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Finally, I caved and committed to testing one out in the name of journalism (and because, come on, you definitely want to know what it feels like to use one). After looking a lot at one particular brand appropriately named Tushy, I was offered a gratis press sample of its bestselling Spa bidet. If bathroom talk (including, but not limited to, butts and/or poop) make you squeamish, then this is your fair warning to click away. Otherwise, for those who live by the "everybody poops!" motto, scroll on for my very detailed description of what it's like to wash your bum with a bidet.
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The backstory (heh)…

Being half Japanese, I felt uniquely prepared for my bidet test run. Japan is famously known for toilets that look like they’re straight out of The Jetsons — and, for as far back as I can remember over 20 trips to Tokyo, every single bathroom from public to private was outfitted with various panels, dials, or knobs controlling a mini fountain that blesses your booty-hole with a targeted stream of water. (As a child, this once led to a scarring Three Stooges-like scenario where I pressed a bunch of buttons on the Japanese Washlet in my grandmother's house and couldn't figure out how to turn it off.) As a much more sophisticated adult, I now understand that the Toto Washlet is the Rolls-Royce of commodes — and, as they say, you ain’t shit if you haven't used it. But, unless you're down to drop three grand on a fully outfitted toilet (or approximately $1,000+ on a Washlet bidet attachment), the Tushy is a much more accessibly priced booty-cleaning buy at $89-$109. It works with pretty much any toilet — plus, I personally appreciate that the company has a charitable component: for every bidet sold, Tushy helps bring clean toilets to urban and rural underserved communities.
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The installation...

I’m well aware of my strengths (making lists, planning, organizing), and home improvement is not one of them. Shelves are always askew, plumbing and/or electrical issues cause me to revert to a 10-year-old version of myself, and assembling IKEA furniture turns me into the Incredible Hulk of profanity. That said, when the rectangular box arrived at my doorstep I took some deep zen breaths and inwardly prepared myself to do this. Right off the bat, I was happy that the packaging itself was minimal and had little to no filler. The cardboard shipping box snugly nested itself around another box that contained the unit itself — and that was about it, no excess fluff or packing-peanut nonsense. Inside it contained the legendary Tushy units (I received both the classic and spa bidets for testing, but more on that later), along with the necessary hardware for installation: a cold water hose, warm water hose, adapters, plus extras like a roll of Teflon tape, rubber pads, and an extra nozzle cap. Since I own exactly zero power tools, I was pleased that the installation didn’t require any (save for an optional but recommended wrench that loosens and tightens the hose to ensure that the toilet doesn't flood my tiny bathroom).
I channeled my inner HGTV star and followed the instructions — which included diagrams, thank god — to fasten the bidet to my toilet seat. (Pro tip: You’ll want to clean every visible surface of your toilet before getting the party started — what you will unearth may frighten you, so consider wearing gloves during this process, too.) All in all, installation took about an hour, which included me almost unscrewing the wrong bolt (gasp!) and reaching my arm all the way behind the base of my commode to maneuver around the hose in the very tight space behind (seriously, who knows what lurks there). The main draw of the Spa is that it has an option for temperature control (aka a button for warm water caressing your booty) while the Classic only hooks up to the cold water source that goes directly to your toilet (aka the little oval-shaped knob you use to turn the toilet water on and off). The Spa is also designed to connect to the warm water hose under the sink — however, you need to have access to the underside of your sink in order for this to work. I, very sadly, do not. Theoretically, I could drill a hole in the side of the cabinet to create a path for the hose — but I also eventually want my security deposit back. After positioning the Tushy onto the back of the seat and securing it in place with the grippy rubber ring things, I screwed the seat back on and waited for mother nature to bless me with my next bowel movement.
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Using it...

Again, as someone who’s used bidets before, I wasn’t going into this totally blind. But, the unique sensation of lukewarm water jetting straight for where the sun doesn’t shine is not really a feeling you get used to after a few family jaunts to Japan. After successfully taking a number two, a simple turn of the bamboo dial was all I needed to start the stream of water. I didn't even need to lift a single cheek to adjust the angle of the nozzle (a nifty switch on the panel does it for you), it just hit me right in the perineum. I’m not entirely sure if there’s a minimum amount of time to keep the stream on for, but I probably sat with it for about 30 seconds. Although it felt slightly alarming, using the Tushy was a thoroughly seamless experience — I'd even go as far as to say that it felt strangely luxurious and (true to the name) spa-like. The sensation was refreshing and, honestly, I found peace of mind in knowing I was 100% free of rogue poo crumbs on my nice undies (yes, I went there). And, depending on how clean your dookie comes out (again, I went there — also eat your fiber), you may not even need to wipe after. However, for insurance, for now, I do. If you’re new to bidets, then this may be the first time you've ever felt your butt so fresh, so clean. Is there a difference versus using paper alone? My answer: it’s the difference between hand-rinsing a very dirty dish without soap or a sponge vs. using your dishwasher's extreme-clean power cycle.
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On both the Spa and the Classic, you can control the water pressure to ease yourself into the whole butt-power-washing experience. Unless you’re a rip-off-the-bandaid type, I wouldn’t recommend going full throttle until you’ve eased into it first; the lower pressure is about as strong as a bubbling creek while all the way turnt-up feels like a concentrated and intense power-washing. If you turn the dial in the opposite direction, you will also see a “nozzle wash” option, which can be used to flush out the bidet by positioning the stream directly into the toilet bowl. I found this function really helpful after using toilet bowl cleaner to ensure that no excess product is left on my Tushy (both the bidet and my own).
Although the Tushy motto reads, “Stop wiping. Start washing,” I still wipe after a month of using my bidet (just in case). It’s not ideal since water plus TP equal soggy TP, but I haven’t gotten to the point in my bidet journey where I feel totally safe letting water alone be responsible for my après-poop care. Tushy (likely in full awareness of itself and its novice American market) also makes sustainable bamboo toilet paper (warning before you click through — 36 rolls come at the steep price of $69), keeping your butt wiped in just about every which way. So maybe one day, I'll take the full TP-less plunge — but, in the meantime, I'm happily embracing #bidetlife. And if this past month of testing has taught me anything, then it’s that my butthole is a delicate and highly sensitive part of my body that deserves much more TLC than it gets.
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