Why Don’t Americans Use Bidets?

To Americans, bidets are a bit of a curiosity. People from the United States might encounter bidets when traveling in Europe or Asia, but these solutions are rarely seen here at home. Why is that?

There are many different answers to the question, “Why aren’t bidets common in the U.S.?” They first appeared in France in the 1700s, but they failed to make their way across the Atlantic as the 13 colonies became a country and transformed into the world’s largest superpower. So why don’t Americans use bidets? Here’s a look at different theories on why bidets are not popular in the U.S.

Various Historical Theories

As with most questions about historical trends and their origination, there are several theories on why Americans don’t typically use bidets. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent theories:

  • French origin: Because the French first invented and used bidets, it’s thought that the English and their American brethren eschewed the tools because of the traditional rivalry with France. France and England have a longstanding relationship that has at many times in history been antagonistic. It would not be surprising that the English would pass on a new innovation simply because it came from France. The people of the United States, largely founded by English colonists, may have avoided bidets for lack of familiarity since their ancestors did not use them.
  • World War II: Some people suppose that Americans don’t use bidets because of their experience in World War II. During World War II, American soldiers would have visited brothels while stationed in France. Upon return home, they would have associated bidets with brothels, creating an association with immorality. This idea would have made returning soldiers who flocked to newly constructed suburbs less likely to want bidets installed in their homes.
  • Size: Here’s the simplest theory: American bathrooms simply aren’t large enough for another appliance. This theory considers that European homes of the 18th and 19th centuries would have had bathrooms far larger than their American counterparts. As a results, European homes traditionally had room for bidets, while American homes did not.

Of course, the answer to the question of why bidets aren’t popular in the U.S. likely falls somewhere in the middle of these three theories. Perhaps each one contributed in some way to the lack of bidets in the United States — or perhaps the real reason has never been thought up as a theory.

Lack of Information

We lack the information needed to answer with certainty. Europeans think it’s unsanitary to use a restroom without a bidet. Conversely, many Americans think of bidets as unsanitary. There’s a lack of information and knowledge around bidets and their use — and it’s likely to remain that way for many years to come.

Create Great Public Bathrooms

Do you own or manage a workplace that includes public bathrooms? If so, the team at One Point Partitions can help you make the most of your bathrooms. We offer high-quality, American-made products, as well as free samples and free quotes. You might not have any bidets in your place of work, but that doesn’t mean your bathrooms shouldn’t be clean and attractive.

Contact us today to learn more about our commercial bathroom solutions.