Toilets are an interesting phenomenon around the world. In my travels I've come to see that toilets can vary widely in design and how they are used. I think we've all been in filthy disgusting toilets, when there was absolutely no other option, where we were afraid to make contact with any surface for fear of catching something deadly. And then there are those beautiful spic and span bathrooms that looked so clean you'd swear you could almost eat off the floor, although I wouldn't recommend it. In the states, people are used to the comfortable flip down seat, that flips up for men to use while standing up. I saw my first bidet in a hotel in England and I wasn't exactly quite sure how to use the thing. In Germany, I was surprised when I had no choice at the time but to use a public facility that basically seemed like an open can with no seat on it at all. Even those compact toilets in airplanes are design wonders which fit in that small space, but at least they have a seat and that loud sonic swoosh when you flush. And here in Saudi Arabia was my first exposure to squatting toilets that are essentially a hole in the floor. Attempting to use one of those while wearing an abaya with long pants underneath requires some acrobatic abilities, but that's another story. Now don't go thinking that all toilets here are holes in the floor because they're not. I've seen many sparkling clean ultra modern toilets here that are equipped like no toilets I've ever seen in the states.
And that's why it surprises me that one simple wonderful thing that almost all toilets here in Saudi Arabia have hasn't caught on in the states. What is it, you ask? It's a plain old spray hose attachment that you can clean with after you've done your business. Before I met my husband, like many Americans, I used to just use toilet paper. But I learned from him how lovely it is to actually clean yourself with water. Because we didn't have one of those nifty spray hoses, we would keep a garden watering can nearby to use and just fill it with water from the sink. If you think about it, it's so much more refreshing and hygenic. And a few sheets of toilet paper is really all you need to dry off. Every couple of years or so, a part of the hose might start leaking, so you simply replace the entire hose with a new one that can be purchased at discount places along the lines of Big Lots or such. I like it much better than the bidet itself - we have two bidets in our home, and I use it to wash off my feet!
It seems like this spray hose should be easy enough to install, as long as there is a separate available water line, otherwise you would need some plumbing expertise. In Florida, my husband jury-rigged his own contraption onto our toilets. Instead of a spray hose, a small metal spray head was used, attached to copper tubing and affixed inside the toilet bowl, like a little mini fountain. He also installed an off/on handle that we could turn when we wanted to use it. It was much more complicated than these fantastic spray hoses, and it looked wierd, was harder to keep clean, and not as efficient, but it served its purpose.
I just don't understand why these remarkable easy-to-use toilet hoses haven't sprung up everywhere in America. It's one thing I truly miss when I travel back to the states!
For more interesting information about bathroom habits and equipment around the world, visit Toilets of the World.
And here's a website that sells the wonderful handheld bidet sprayers, BathroomSprayers.com.