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Why UK bidets are making a comeback

Bidets are one of those elements of bathroom design that experts freely admit they thought were a thing of the past (at least where British bathrooms are concerned).

After experiencing a brief peak in popularity, they fell out of favour in the 1980s and 1990s, but there’s growing evidence that the bidet is returning to UK bathrooms. So, what are bidets used for, and why are they popular?  

Classic bidet design

Who invented the bidet? 

Before we start talking about the bidet comeback, it’s worth going right back to the beginning and looking at the history of bidets first. The bidet is thought to have originated in France in the late 17th century, although they’re first referenced in a written text in Italy in 1726. Seen as a luxury item, they were something of a symbol for royalty and other wealthy people who could afford them.

Although still rare in the UK, bidets are common in other parts of the world. Most Italian and Portuguese properties contain bidets, while bidet shower attachments are prevalent in Asia and the Middle East.

Toto bidet Japan

A combination toilet and bidet launched by Japanese company Toto in 1980 billed itself as a ‘paperless toilet’. If you’ve travelled to Asia, you’ll likely be familiar with the bidet, even if you’re unfamiliar with its benefits.

Why are bidets for bathrooms so popular in other countries?

For many countries, bidets are part of their tradition, and it would seem strange if they weren’t included in properties as standard.

Cultural differences account for much of the gap between countries which embrace bidets and those that don’t, even if the design of the bidet can vary across the world.

Bidet showers, for example, use the principle of the traditional standalone bidet but don’t require the space a bidet would if it was installed separately. By having a faucet installed beside the toilet, you get the benefit of a bidet without taking up extra room. 

If you speak to someone from countries where bidets are popular, you’ll find they highlight how hygienic they are and their eco-friendly status too. Brits may be sceptical of bidets in the UK, but there are plenty of people ready to argue for a comeback.


Toilet and bidet in bathroom

Reasons to have a bidet in your bathroom

hygienic icon

More Hygienic

One of the reasons people rave about bidets is how much more hygienic they’re perceived to be.

In countries where they’re not as prevalent, the idea of cleaning yourself with water instead of using toilet paper feels less hygienic, but water removes debris more effectively than dry toilet paper.

health heart icon

Health Concerns

Health concerns are one of the many reasons for the resurgence of the UK bidet.

For sufferers of bowel conditions like IBS, using toilet paper can be painful and exacerbate associated conditions like haemorrhoids. Plus, cleaning effectively can reduce instances of UTIs, helping women live healthier lives.

eco friendly icon


A major criticism of the bidet, which might be seen to prevent a bidet comeback, is the accusation that it wastes water, but bidets are eco-friendly because they reduce the need for toilet paper.

With forests being cut down to make toilet roll and tonnes of water being used in the manufacturing process, it’s more eco-friendly to use less water straight away. Plus, there isn’t the ongoing carbon footprint associated with manufacturing toilet paper.

The resurgence of bidets

So are bidets for bathrooms back in fashion in the UK? Most bidets were ripped out at the same time as avocado bathroom suites fell out of favour, but more Brits are returning to the idea. Bidets are eco-friendly, and a growing number of people are considering including them in their bathroom design.

Even homes which don’t have space for a traditional bidet could benefit from the principle by installing a bidet shower or combination toilet and bidet (bidet toilet). These hybrids are part of the reason for a global bidet comeback, but bidets in the UK are also in vogue again.  

Bidet with taps on wall

Shop bidets from Old Fashioned Bathrooms

Old Fashioned Bathrooms has many types of bidets (UK) to suit any bathroom design. Why not match your bathroom style with one of our favourites?

Burlington bidet

1. Burlington Bidet

The Burlington collection is influenced by classic Edwardian sanitaryware, and the simple style is a favourite of our customers. This bidet is a wonderful addition to any classically styled bathroom.

Wall-hung bidet

2. Fino Wall-Hung Bidet

If you’d prefer a more discreet wall-hung bidet, the Fino is a versatile and modern ceramic option. It fits neatly alongside a classical bathroom design or a more contemporary style.

Retro bidet

3. Retro Bidet

Experience the continental-style bidet direct from Italy. It draws inspiration from the gentle curves of previous incarnations of bidet design and sits perfectly alongside similarly elegant bathroom furniture.

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