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Is Switzerland the most hostile country for bidets? :toilet:

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About 6 years ago, when I lived in the US, I got introduced to bidets. I can’t remember how anymore, but it changed my opinion of how one should use the bathroom. I became convinced that cleaning your rear with water is superior to TP.

The inferior method.

I would have bought a bidet for myself right then, but at that time I was not able to, because I was about to move to Switzerland, where I would be living in a shared apartment. Even though TP was the norm, I still did not try to install a bidet since my roommates might not have been 100% on board with the idea.

Bidets in Europe

If you go to Europe, depending on which country you go to, you probably won’t find a bidet. The closest you’ll probably come across is a wall mounted bidet like in the picture below in places like Italy.

Not what I'm used to, but hey, it's better than nothing

In any case, in places that speak German, including German speaking Switzerland where I am now, you’ll find a toilet with TP and that’s it.

Installing a bidet

For the first 5 years of me living in Switzerland, I lived in shared apartments. I didn’t really want to change anything in a place which wasn’t mine completely, so I held off on installing one.

However, we recently moved into our own apartment without roommates. Because we were not living with others anymore, it was time for me to look again at the practicalities of installing a bidet.

Note, however, that we are still renting, so we were limited on what options we had. In particular, we weren’t allowed to replace the entire toilet bowl or drill into the bathroom tiles or anything, since if we were to ever leave, we would have to leave it in the exact same state that we found our apartment, and repairing that would probablycitation needed cost more than our deposit.

But why is it so hard to install one in Switzerland?

Two reasons:

  • There are no water or power connections near the toilet.
  • The toilet seats are hostile to bidet installation.

I’ll come back to the second point in a bit. For the first point, this is especially the case in new constructions, where for the sake of everything looking tidy, the extensibility of installing your own things are gone, with all of the piping stuck wedged into the wall.

No water outlets here by the toilet or on the other side; everything is in the wall.

Actually, every apartment that I’ve lived in here so far has been like this. I lived in some older and newer buildings (built between around 1960-2023), and all of them have this setup where everything is in the wall. It’s annoying! So, you need to get your water (and possibly electricity) from elsewhere.

Most toilets in the US have the water pipe visible from the back of the toilet, making bidet installation easy (I know this isn't a US toilet, but you can imagine something like this).

Luckily in most places in Switzerland, the pipes from under the sink are still visible, so you could work with these. Also in some apartments, there should be a socket in the glass window, so you won’t have to run a wire from outside the door (if you do indeed go with this option).

Aside: Why didn’t you buy a condo or something?

Of course, I wouldn’t have this problem if I had my own condo, since I have more freedom on where the plumbing goes. But, in order to understand why I can’t do this, I invite you to take a look at the housing market in Zurich, and then I think your question will be answered for you.

Probably about 100k people live in this map insert here. There's almost nothing for sale here! Plus, these prices are outrageous, since a 3.5 room place (2 bedroom in the US) goes for 1.5 million CHF. Source: Homegate

This might also have to do with the fact that in Zurich, about 92 percent of all housing are rental units, while only 8 percent is owner occupied. Source.

For reference, look how much is available to buy in Queen Anne, a neighborhood in Seattle with only 28k people. Source: Zillow

I could honestly go on a 30 minute deep dive/rant about the housing market in Zurich, but I’ll save that for another time.

Back to installation

Back to the topic at hand. Since we now have a rental apartment, this basically left us with four options to install a bidet:

  1. Install a new toilet seat, similar to this.
  2. Install something small under the toilet seat, like this.
  3. Install a handheld bidet like this.
  4. Install a Washlet that has its own water tank, like this.

All of these have their problems in Switzerland which I’ll run through one by one.

New Toilet Seat: Doesn’t work (usually).

The Washlet, what most people in the US call a "bidet". Source: Wikipedia

The first option I looked into was to get a new toilet seat that has a bidet installed. There are two problems with this:

  1. This might not be allowed by rental agencies, since you are changing a part of your toilet which came with the apartment.
  2. You have to make sure that the toilet seat matches the toilet bowl.

Of course, there was an option that matched my toilet bowl, but it came out to be over 2000 CHF (compared with around 300 in the US). This is out of my budget, so I have to look at something else.

Something under the toilet seat (not even possible?)

This is popular in the US as it is cheap and you only have to flip a switch. Source

A lot of my friends in the US have something like this which they installed under the seat. Thinking that this would also work in Switzerland, I bought one a while ago at one of my previous places, only to find out that this is not possible to attach to the toilet because then the seat will not close.

Maybe I did something wrong last time, but when I tried to install this last time, the contraption did not fit under the toilet seat.

So while this method seems like it would be the cheapest and best way to install a bidet, this didn’t work at all, at least for me. I also could not find a toilet seat with a larger gap online. I think all of them have a very similar shape, meaning that there really is no hope for this option.

Handheld bidet: Probably possible

The next up in line is the handheld bidet, called the “bum gun” in some places.

The hot/cold water selection is a luxury. Source: Wikipedia

This works great if you have a water connection to link this up to. However, as I mentioned before, these things are deliberately hidden in the wall! The closest place we have for example is the bottom of the sink.

The only option?

I actually think prefer these over the Washlet option because it gives you more control. Sure, the water will probably be cold (unless you do some complicated plumbing), but you can command the water exactly where you want it to go. These things were all over the place when I was in Vietnam, and I loved them because of this reason exactly.

If I were to install one, it would probably be this one.

Of course, the plumbing-less option here is to have a plastic water bottle by the toilet at all times, but I don’t know how I feel about that…


Final option: Washlet with water tank

The final option you have is to install this water tank beside your toilet which then pipes a tube to where the bidet is supposed to be.

It's like a PET bottle, but more advanced. Source: Galaxus

However, there are two issues with this:

  1. You have to refill the water yourself. I don’t know how much of an issue this is, but because you have to think about it in the first place, it’s not ideal.
  2. You still need a power plug. Again, because Swiss new constructions seem to like hiding things for the sake of convenience, you’ll have to make sure that your bathroom has one before proceeding with this option.

I think that this method’s the best if you have an electrical socket and if you don’t want to deal with complicated plumbing. But again, the only place in my bathroom where an electrical socket exists is in the mirror, and I don’t know if I want a cable coming out of there permanently yet.

At least I have something :cry:


Here is a chart highlighting all of the possible options you have if you want to install a bidet in Switzerland in your apartment without losing your deposit. Note that the “source of water” and “source of power” cons are large enough to where you really have to plan out what you will do for them.

Method Pros Cons
New Toilet seat - Probably the most comfortable option. - Expensive.
- Should match the toilet bowl brand.
- Need a source of water.
Plastic Attachment Under Toilet seat - Probably the cheapest option. - Probably won’t fit under the toilet seat.
- Need a source of water.
Shower hose (aka “bum gun”) - Cheap.
- You can leave the toilet seat as is.
- Some people might not be comfortable using their hands for this.
- Need a source of water.
Water Tank - Don’t need to connect to water.
- Don’t need to change the toilet seat.
- Expensive.
- You have to refill the water yourself.
- Need a power source.

Final thoughts

I think that tidiness and order should not come at the expense of practicality. Especially for something like toilets, where some have different standards around the world. One thing that I do like about the US is that even if you do live in an apartment, you still have the freedom to install a bidet because the functionality is accessible (meaning that the water pipe is right by the toilet). I wish it were the same for Switzerland.

All I want to do is to practice hygiene, so let me have the right to install a bidet!