According to the "Experts"
November 15, 2019 7:18 AM   Subscribe

The Best Way to Wipe Your Butt. (SFW but, you know, butts)
posted by bondcliff (79 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
And just to get this out of the way:

There’s also something to be said for sitting while wiping, since ergonomically, it may keep your perianal area open. But if you’re uncomfortable reaching into the toilet to wipe, standing should suffice.

I'm sure that will end the debate once and for all.
posted by bondcliff at 7:21 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


This article is trash because it does not vehemently condemn stand wipers.
posted by robotmachine at 7:23 AM on November 15, 2019 [16 favorites]


Surgeons has given a name to the resulting tenderness: Polished Anus Syndrome, or PAS.

I've learned something new today. I can start my weekend now.
posted by COD at 7:23 AM on November 15, 2019 [19 favorites]


*sigh*
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:26 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've done the thing where you throw out your used toilet paper in a little trash can rather than flushing it while working in the field, and let me just say: there is no wiping method, no matter how soft and luxurious, that would have me happily do that thing anywhere where the plumbing and sewage system can handle flushed toilet paper. No thank you. I'd rather learn to use a bidet 1000%.

(I'm scared of bidets, not going to lie. It just seems very cold and uncomfortable. Blrh.)
posted by sciatrix at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


I love visiting my brother in Spain - he has a bidet. The only problem is when my mother and father are visiting they leave their underwear soaking in the bidet. They're quite old school and I haven't the heart to tell them it's for cleaning your butt.
posted by DZ-015 at 7:40 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm scared of bidets, not going to lie. It just seems very cold and uncomfortable. Blrh.

To my understanding, modern bidets have warm water jets.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:42 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


Best Way to Wipe Your Butt

That's great but how do I use this beaker again?
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:44 AM on November 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


oh no not the squash beaker, not again
posted by sciatrix at 7:44 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


To my understanding, modern bidets have warm water jets.

Even the ones that don't are fine. Yes, even in the wintertime.

And friends, I'm here to tell you right now: once you start using one there's no going back.

Ever.
posted by jquinby at 7:55 AM on November 15, 2019 [19 favorites]


Rabelais, back in the 16th century in his book about Gargantua, recounts Gargantua’s childhood search for the best bum wipe. His discovery? The neck of a live goose.
posted by njohnson23 at 7:57 AM on November 15, 2019 [13 favorites]


One word: Bumgun.
posted by emf at 8:11 AM on November 15, 2019


Of course, some ancient cultures also wiped with pebbles and clam shells...

I'm not sure that the city of San Angeles in the Year of Our Lord 2032 qualifies as an 'ancient culture'.
posted by hanov3r at 8:20 AM on November 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


His discovery? The neck of a live goose.

The drawback, of course, is when the goose discovers the most painful dangling flesh to bite.
posted by jaduncan at 8:27 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


One thing that irritates me about these You're Doing Something Basic Wrong articles is that they never give a sense of how likely and severe the bad outcome of doing the thing the way most people have been doing it for years actually is. If I don't get a bidet and continue to use dry paper, what's my risk of experiencing PAS in my lifetime? 100%? 1% .000001%? How bad is PAS if I am unlucky enough to get it? If you're going to tell me that the only way to avoid the horrible scourge of [thing I've never heard of] is to buy and install new hardware into my bathroom, continue to buy specialized products for the rest of my life, and add multiple steps to a daily process that, up until this moment seemed to be producing perfectly adequate results, I'd like at least a little backup on what I'm getting out of all this.
posted by Copronymus at 8:28 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


Their interchangeable use of "rectum" for "anus" is the same damn weird anatomy problem as people who talk about women that shave their vaginas.

And no, you don't wipe your rectum. That's on the inside. Heck of a way to undermine your article containing a conversation with an actual doctor, mentalfloss.
posted by tclark at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2019 [14 favorites]


TP sturdy enough to moisten without having it fall apart in your hands:

Premium 3-Ply - 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper
posted by hank at 8:40 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


If I don't get a bidet and continue to use dry paper, what's my risk of experiencing PAS in my lifetime?

There's no way to measure risk, because it depends on a lot of factors: How healthy your skin is, local humidity levels, how scratchy the paper you use is, etc. Think of it this way: if you used those scratchy restroom paper towels to "dry" your hands when they're not wet, several times a day, how long would it take to develop a troublesome rash? For some people: A few days. For others: Never.

If you're not having problems now, they're not going to develop overnight. And for most people who do get it, it's a matter of "ouch this is sore how do I make it stop?" rather than anything that needs serious intervention. (Immunocompromised people may be different - small rashes can lead to dangerous infections.) If you start noticing irritation, it may be time to try something new.

There are people who stand to wipe? WTF?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:42 AM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


Surgeons has given a name to the resulting tenderness: Polished Anus Syndrome, or PAS.

aka going hard in the taint.

I apologize and you're welcome.
posted by ODiV at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2019 [28 favorites]


What wipes are they talking about? I just buy unscented baby wipes. I'm thinking the ones they mentioned were some other product, otherwise, wouldn't you be advised to also not use them on babies?! Either way, glad to finally have an article to point to next time I get suckered into an asswiping debate, which I should know better than to do, but I am not better.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Those in-toilet bidets, the little spray wands (like Toto). Is the intent those clean your anus themselves just with the spray of water? Or are you expected to use your fingers to help get clean? I've tried the spray-only method and it was not sufficient, but maybe I'm just too ticklish to give it enough time. (I'm aware that a standalone bidet with a faucet generally involves using hands as well. But then there's also a bar of soap right there, and plenty of room to work.)
posted by Nelson at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, 'sparkling cavity' is my new sockpuppet name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


A few days after we installed an add-on bidet (we got this model) my husband texted me "I suddenly feel like I've been living a profoundly filthy existence up until now."

Team Bidet forever.
posted by Lexica at 9:48 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


And no, you don't wipe your rectum. That's on the inside.

I got in touch with my inner self this morning...that's the last time I use single-ply TP.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:56 AM on November 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


And no, you don't wipe your rectum. That's on the inside.

Speak for yourself.
posted by asnider at 10:39 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


One of the great luxuries of retirement is being able to delay showering until after the morning poop in completed. That, and waiting until you are dry before you dress yourself.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:41 AM on November 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


Polished Anus Syndrome

'tain't a thing
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:45 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


SPONGE ON A STICK! SPONGE ON A STICK! SPONGE ON A STICK!
posted by poffin boffin at 11:03 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


What wipes are they talking about? I just buy unscented baby wipes. I'm thinking the ones they mentioned were some other product, otherwise, wouldn't you be advised to also not use them on babies?!

You'd think that, right? But no that's exactly the product they are talking about in the article.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:05 AM on November 15, 2019


Oh we are doing this again. OK.

Does that mean you should reach for dry toilet paper instead? Not quite. “It’s healthier, certainly, to clean your body with water," Asbury says. "Nobody takes a dry piece of paper, rubs it over their skin, and thinks they’re clean.”

Exactly. You clean with water. All you need is a cup, or bottle, or scoop, whatever. You use your hand, your left hand, after the first splash to clear away the main poop and you twiddle twiddle twiddle wash your asshole. Yes, with your hand.

Ew! Poo on my hand!

Dude. You keep dumping water back there until there is no more poop. Then you are clean. You can wash your hands with soap afterwards. No paper, nothing to buy or dispose of, no products. Well yeah soap, but you have that anyways.

It is a strange cultural thing, because I learned to do this in Afghanistan, there was no toilet paper. And now, looking back on the first 30 or so years of my life, ew gross what a stinky barbarian I was. Now I always have a comfy clean asshole! It is so nice!

There are some things that Westerners think are normal that are categorically and unarguably dead wrong.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:17 AM on November 15, 2019 [15 favorites]


That, and waiting until you are dry before you dress yourself.

Um... what?
posted by Automocar at 11:21 AM on November 15, 2019


You use your hand

After babysitting a 2 year old and also taking care of several dogs, I decided that washing your hands after touching poop is just fine, so I do indeed soap up my hands with some water to do the initial post-poop cleaning of myself.

Why the left hand though? This is Arabic etiquette but it's not particularly rational. My right hand is more effective (also that way I don't have to take my wedding ring off).
posted by dis_integration at 11:22 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


One of the great luxuries of retirement is being able to delay showering until after the morning poop in completed.

As opposed to pooping in the shower? Was this in the "how to adult" manual I never read? Is this why people hate their jobs?

(or wait do people have those bathrooms that's just one big shower stall, and sit down on the toilet to poop while showering themselves? because I will admit I kind of want a bathroom like that but never considered toilet showering as a perk of the arrangement)
posted by chrominance at 11:33 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


As opposed to getting up, showering, getting dressed, and running out the door to get to work on time. Then pooping later at work.
posted by ODiV at 11:42 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


There are people who stand to wipe? WTF?

ErisLordFreedom, my sweet summer child, metafilter was rocked by this question in 2006 and I don't believe the site ever fully recovered.
posted by nikaspark at 11:43 AM on November 15, 2019 [17 favorites]


Why the left hand though? This is Arabic etiquette but it's not particularly rational.

My understanding is that this is from a culture where food is eaten in a shared manner, and one uses one's right hand to eat. Using the same hand to eat that you have used to wipe one's nethers is quite insulting (and, before modern sanitation, quite likely to spread disease).
posted by hanov3r at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


metafilter was rocked by this question in 2006 and I don't believe the site ever fully recovered.

In fact, there was a much larger discussion of this.

The YouWHAT entry in the Metafilter Wiki has other "I did not know people did that" hilarity.
posted by hanov3r at 11:54 AM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


My understanding is that this is from a culture where food...

I get the cultural history of the left hand being considered unclean in Muslim cultures. But when it comes to how we should wipe our bums today, I'm saying we should be ambidextrous!
posted by dis_integration at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2019


Why the left hand though? This is Arabic etiquette but it's not particularly rational.

It is like playing the guitar... your brain thinks pouring the water is the main job and that's what the dominant hand should be doing. I think? Just seems natural but I guess either way can work.

But yeah I guess also symbolic stuff, shaking hands, etc etc plays into it as well.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:07 PM on November 15, 2019


Syndrome has such a negative connotation. I prefer to think of it as Polished Anus Display.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 12:21 PM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


This is MeFi - the handbook stipulates using Kirkland Personal Wipes from Costco. Read your handbook peaople!
posted by Ber at 12:32 PM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


What What?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:43 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sponge on a stick? Hence the expression “he got the wrong end of the stick.”
posted by njohnson23 at 12:49 PM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Definitely team bidet. And avoid the soap. Soap and mucous membranes rarely go together. At least that was the gist of the but doctor's advice after having my anus poked at by some cauterizing instrument while being observed by a bunch of medical students. Fun times (not). Just water or at most something soft. Nothing you wouldn't do to your lips or nose or eyes or other mucousal like entryways into your body.

And yeah, not much beats just running around naked after a shower until you are dry. Just hit the cracks and creases and let the rest absorb or evaporate.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:13 PM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis: *sigh*

I had nothing to do with this.


I heartily approve, however
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:49 PM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


Team bidet indeed! My current apartment came with a washlet and heated seat and I definitely don't ever want to go back.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 3:49 PM on November 15, 2019


Can someone on the pro-bidet team please explain the process AFTER your butt is rinsed? Do you sit there and wait to air dry? Do you need to dab at yourself with toilet paper?

Inquiring minds need to know!
posted by hydra77 at 4:11 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


This article is trash because it does not vehemently condemn stand wipers

This is an ableist stance.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:18 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Do you need to dab at yourself with toilet paper?

? I thought toilet paper is only for drying yourself after you use water to clean yourself. I mean, sometimes conditions are such that you need to wipe stickier material with the paper, buttt...

y'all, washlets are like $40 on the internet. Or, if you are at work, you can use a used plastic bottle with a hole in the top, fill that up with water in the sink, and wash yourself that way, no hands required.

or look, it's 2019, you can pick different colors to match the wallpaper
posted by eustatic at 5:00 PM on November 15, 2019


Inquiring minds need to know!

This bit does vary. Some washlets have an option for a small fan to come on to dry your bum (very useful). The cultures that use water tend to also not offer toilet paper so how comfortable with how damp you are immediately is up to the person. I've been to places that's well-stocked with toilet paper so I've used them to dab dry. At home maybe I'll come out and just dab with my towel but really for the most part I think most ppl know enough to not leave immediately soaking wet so you're just a bit damp by the time you slip the undies back on. And it's just water. It'll dry.

Malaysia is one of those countries where a bumgun/nozzle is standard, so it does take a moment for foreigners to adjust because inevitably it does leak a bit of clean water around the tap and bowl so the sight of a wet toilet I understand is quite unnerving because the usual connotations in a drier set up.

I've mentioned before I've never recovered after discovering what all those jokes about skidmarks meant in the western pop culture I've consumed.
posted by cendawanita at 5:02 PM on November 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Or, if you are at work, you can use a used plastic bottle with a hole in the top,

Or buy a portable bidet! I have one. Very convenient for travel. I did think I was spoiling myself but the angled nozzle made it worth it.
posted by cendawanita at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Answering my own question from above, it looks like the spray nozzle-style bidets (whether built into the toilet seat or a portable contraption) are intended to be hands-free cleaning. Does that really work? Looking for near-shower-level clean here. My one or two experiments with hotel bidet seats suggested no, the spray really was not thorough enough. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, or maybe I just have really sticky shit?
posted by Nelson at 5:48 PM on November 15, 2019


Do you sit there and wait to air dry? Do you need to dab at yourself with toilet paper?

i stand in front of a huge wind machine while 1986's academy award winning song take my breath away plays swellingly in the background
posted by poffin boffin at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2019 [17 favorites]


Why the left hand though?

If you use your left hand, it feels like someone else is playing with your asshole.

I'm so sorry
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:23 PM on November 15, 2019 [10 favorites]


Nothing you wouldn't do to your lips or nose or eyes or other mucousal like entryways into your body.

I scrub the dead skin off my lips with the rough dry skin on the edge of my thumb, and then smear them with menthol lip balm. So...
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


are intended to be hands-free cleaning. Does that really work?

Ok, this is really interesting thought but I've always been raised to always wash yourself (no. 1 or 2) with your fingers and water, so I personally never feel clean enough esp for no. 2 if I don't always use my fingers. But the jets are strong enough to remove anything noticeable in my experience. The hand is to like... act as squeegee... (???). Even when it's not, that's what your hand is for, and you keep going with the water for a rinse. And you're washing it afterwards anyways.

When there's no bidet and I have no bottled water I would moisten the toilet paper. And have another go with a clean wet one at the end.
posted by cendawanita at 9:23 PM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


You know, I'll always look at an article like this to see if I could pick up a few new tricks - because - hey, the kids are disrupting our poops... but...

ultimately, when I read this, I think - you could have posted this about 2 hours earlier and it would have been really relevant then.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:04 PM on November 15, 2019


Don't use baby wipes. Even on babies. They are made of plastic and absolutely terrible for the environment. Definitely, never flush them.
posted by yaxu at 11:16 PM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


So, my cheapo bidet is strong enough to power wash my anus. If you're not careful, it's enema time. So say as powerful as your shower head on that massage setting or that spray nozzle by your kitchen sink. Since I am not a barbarian, a simple couple of sheets of toilet paper to just blot things dry. Totally unnecessary, but still nice.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:32 PM on November 15, 2019


baby oil dissolves condoms but is fine to use on babies so babies are clearly indestructible. and god knows they need constant wiping, the vile little creatures.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:51 AM on November 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


The decision to Go Aquatic over here was largely driven by two things: we have a large family and we're on a septic system. After having to get the tank pumped and cleared out awhile back, I wanted to try to reduce, as much as possible, the amount of stuff going into the tank. So while we're not 100% paper free, it's a certainty that we're only using a fraction of before. Basically to pat dry.

Hilariously, one of our daughters was initially resistant. When I told her I was installing one in the their bathroom, she wanted to know WHAT ARE WE ALL GOING TO HAVE DESIGNATED BUTT TOWELS TO USE, and hang them on hooks in a little row. Heck no, I said. You'll all share one.

Seriously, though, for the $35 you really can't go wrong and it's a pretty straightforward installation. I've converted several visiting family members.
posted by jquinby at 6:18 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh and as regards shower-level clean: yes.
posted by jquinby at 6:22 AM on November 16, 2019


> cendawanita:a portable bidet! I have one. Very convenient for travel. I did think I was spoiling myself but the angled nozzle made it worth it."
It's the perfect Quonsmas gift.
posted by theora55 at 7:29 AM on November 16, 2019


I lightly wet the regular toilet paper, works fine.

You do risk looking like a weirdo if you try to do it in a public restroom though!
posted by atoxyl at 8:25 AM on November 16, 2019


WHAT ARE WE ALL GOING TO HAVE DESIGNATED BUTT TOWELS TO USE

The term you're looking for is "family cloth."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Traditionally hung just to the right of the poop knife.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


bum guns, everywhere
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 5:34 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a bidet spraying on a human butt - forever.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:39 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Personally I just use the three seashells
posted by babelfish at 7:09 PM on November 16, 2019


I love my bidet. Took 10 minutes to install.

A roll of toilet paper lasts forever now.
posted by MissySedai at 10:42 PM on November 16, 2019


We have two toilets and only one with the bidet and curse the family member who hotboxes that room rendering it unusable for half an hour. Truly, for $35 we should just get another but haven’t gotten around.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:48 PM on November 16, 2019


My question is about using the unattached bidet. Do you take your pants off entirely, or just shuffle on over with your pants around your ankles? Also, there's no seat! I have never figured out the logistics on one of these. Now an attached bum gun I could go for!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:55 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have the sprayer on a hose that you can aim directly at wherever you want to be clean. Not only useful for scouring the poop hole, it keeps the peeper area pee free. Paper alone can't get er done.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:23 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was reading it as bum gum and was so confused...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:52 AM on November 17, 2019


look i keep stumbling across accounts of women trying to get their SO to wipe their ass so they don't leave shit trails on the bed....

BIDETS FOR ALL
posted by lineofsight at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


why not just hunch down over old faithful and brace oneself while doing robert plant's epic scream from immigrant song
posted by poffin boffin at 12:21 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Because I fear causing a prolapse...not to mention the lapsing of whatever goodwill I currently have with my neighbors in adjoining apartments.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


The tragedy of a post-bidet world is that moment of loss and sorrow when, while seated elsewhere, you reach for the controls, only to find nothing there and come to the chilling realization that you are alone in a realm of savagery.
posted by sonascope at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Amen to that sonascope. Need to scout for an empty water bottle or similar before using public facilities in most locations. Malaysia always had the attached sprayer, so civilized.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:37 PM on November 18, 2019


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