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Last edited 03 May 2021
The Building Regulations Approved Document G: Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency suggests that the term ‘sanitary appliance’ means a ‘… WC, urinal, bath, shower, washbasin, sink, bidet and drinking fountain. It also includes appliances that are not connected to a water supply (e.g. composting toilet) or drain (e.g. waterless urinal).’
These appliances collect and remove water and other waste matter. They are generally grouped into two categories: soil appliances and wastewater appliances. A bidet (either pedestal or wall hung) is categorised as a soil appliance and is used for hygienic matters.
The word bidet comes from the French term for "little horse" - a reference to the position of a person who is using the device. It originated in 16th century France, although the specifics of its introduction are unknown.
It may have been used along with a chamber pot, both as a device for washing and a contraception aid. Until the 1900s, bidets were most often found in bedrooms, but when modern plumbing was introduced to the bathroom, bidets and chamber pots moved out of the bedroom.
 Types of bidets
 Cultural preferences
Bidets are commonly used in some parts of the world and are legally required in certain countries, including Portugal and Italy. They are also frequently found in other parts of the world, including Islamic countries, Africa, South America and Japan.
Japanese bidets sometimes include features such as seat warmers, dryers and so on, making them popular in other parts of the world (including Asia and the US). However, bidets are not commonly found in the UK or the US.
There is some debate over whether bidets are more hygienic than toilet paper alone. The sole use of a bidet can save a significant amount of paper. However, it is believed that a combination of the two provides the greatest hygienic benefit.
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