NAC: Bidet Toilets – Clean Machines

Bidet toilet in the corner of a bathroomIn Focus: Geoff shares his thoughts on different bidet toilets for anyone considering changing theirs

Geoff Spink - NAC member

Many of us, for many years, have been using bidet toilets. I got my first Clos-o-Mat when I was in my teens. It seems that our community is split between those who favour Clos-o-Mat, and those who prefer its more sleekly designed rival, Geberit. However, this is a developing market, and other models and manufacturers are becoming available.

Since I own both, I thought I’d share my thoughts in case you were thinking of replacing your existing Clos-o-Mat Samoa, which is shortly to become obsolete because the servicing agent in the UK will no longer be able to get the parts.

Views on Clos-o-Mat and Geberit

Closomat toilet in a modern bathroomClos-o-Mat has always been a more medical device – its principal market being care homes, hospitals, and so on. As such, the device is robust, but insufficient attention has been given to aesthetic appeal. One fellow thalidomider describes them as the Land Rover Defender of bidets – strong, reliable workhorses. The Clos-o-Mat gets serviced once a year and any adjustments to water pressure or temperature have to be done by an engineer. Although in recent years, the company has paid more attention to user appeal, the device remains largely unconfigurable by the end user.

Geberit on the other hand, was targeted at those who want one as a lifestyle choice, rather than an access requirement. There is no servicing, but you have to top up the cleaning fluid and change the carbon filter occasionally.

The device can be operated by a remote control, or it can be triggered by an infrared switch, which I have mounted at floor level. It has an impressive array of user configurations and even separate user profiles. You can alter the water and drying temperature, the pressure and spray pattern. There is even something called a ‘lady shower’ which, for obvious reasons, I don’t make use of! My friend with the Land Rover metaphor describes the Geberit, as a Ferrari: flashy, appealing, but less robust.

My Clos-o-Mat is a Samoa, so I’m now wondering which way to jump. I think ultimately, I am drawn to the Clos-o-Mat because of its reliability and durability. That said, and perhaps a bit TMI, when I had a rather painful haemorrhoid issue a year ago, the Clos-o-Mat was just too powerful for comfort. I had to stop using it until a surgeon intervened.

Experiences of an alternative brand

There are other devices out there: Toto is a popular choice in North America. My Canadian thalidomide friend, Susan Wagner-White recently had one installed and is extremely pleased with it. She says:

“I purchased the Toto toilet in 2015 as well as the washlet seat to go with it. It has a nightlight, the seat automatically goes up and down, five minutes after standing up, automatic bowl spray to disinfect and clean the bowl, with UV light, heated toilet seat with varying levels of warmth, heated water spray with many multiple levels and angles of spray from the wand, heated air to blow dry your bottom, again, with varying levels of warmth, there also is a fan that sucks in air and deodorises it with a filter.

"A remote control to program up to two users’ preferences that can be attached to the wall or held, also, this goes along with buttons on the side of the seat which I can’t reach- but that does not matter to me, as I have the remote close on the wall.”

Preliminary research here suggests that the Toto can be obtained in the UK and that the pricing seems to go from the sublime to the ridiculous: one model sells for around £3K while another can be yours for an eye watering £12K. I guess it depends just how important it is that you have the ultimate wash and blow dry.

Self-washing toilet options

Michelle Robinson from our Trust Health & Wellbeing team comments on models beneficiaries are buying: “Although the Clos-o-Mat and Geberit are still the main models beneficiaries are going for, a few folks are opting for different models. One which is creating a lot of interest, is the Japanese self-washing toilet, where the toilet seat converts any standard toilet into a self-washing toilet, at a fraction of the cost. These include the Comfort Cleanse system which has different options - a bidet toilet seat, a Japanese toilet seat and a combined system. Take a look at the Comfort Cleanse website for more information.

"There is also the Vovo system which is useful as the toilet lid automatically opens and closes. See details on the Vovo all in one toilet."

Further information can be found in the Making Life Easier area of our website.

If anyone would like to share their views about making life easier in the bathroom, we would love to hear from you at [email protected]

Read more from the NAC in the full Winter 2023 Newsletter (PDF)