How to use a bum gun

February 12, 2011 · 84 comments

I remember one of the most scary things about coming to Asia when I was about to leave on my first trip was the thought that I would have to wipe my bum with my hand.

Squat Toilet

Your typical squat

This thought sent shivers down my spine and although I quickly became quite accustomed to using squat toilets I never actually tried using the self wipe method even though many of my friends promoted the practice.

During all this time I have still stuck to the toilet roll method of wiping making sure that wherever I was I would have some kind of loo roll or tissues to hand.

I suppose after I became a Dad and I was required to get in there when it came to nappies and poo my fear of getting my hands on human excrement dwindled somewhat.

At the same time we began to have plumbing issues at our house and Mrs O, a great promoter of the hand method, requested that the no paper down the loo rule was enforced.

Now I still am not comfortable with going in blind and giving myself a full manual wipe but this is where the superb Asian invention of the bum gun comes in.  After using this device I am now fully converted to its use and wonder why on earth I never adopted this method in the past.

What is a bum gun?

bum gun

A bum gun

A bum gun or toilet hose is a device which enables you to clean out your nether region after going to the loo without having to use toilet roll.

Why?

There are many reasons to use a bum gun:

  1. No need to use paper therefore environmentally friendly and cheaper.
  2. You’ll have less issues with your plumbing.
  3. Much more hygenic – if you put your hand in some dog poo you wouldn’t go get a paper towel but you’d run it under a tap. Also you’re not wiping poo around your region you’re just washing it off.
  4. You’re less likely to get rashes or other irritations.
  5. It’s way easier to clean a toddler’s bum with the bum gun.

A great friend of mine and seasoned expat champions the bum gun with the quote and possible tagline,

“With a bum gun you never need a re-wipe”.

Rather than to get all graphic and explain how to use one with words I have made this simple tutorial video on how to use it.

If you are convinced, don’t live in Asia and want to make the move to this method then there is a company based in the UK who sell lots of varieties although they call them Bidet Showers. Take a look here, I was quite surprised to find them:

So, do you already love the bum gun?

Will you now look into this method as a result of this post or will you absolutely never ever not on your dear old grandmother’s life use such a thing and stick to loo roll?

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  • http://calzohoudini.com Calzo Houdini

    I see those all the time around Thailand. Very effective for getting rid of a blocked toilet as the toilets aren’t designed for a mass amount of loo paper! I’ve never used it on my bum though….

    • Simon

      Next time you’re there you should give it a go – very liberating :)

  • Ali Reed

    Can’t believe you recorded that, or indeed that I just watched it.
    Surely these things need no explanation?

    • http://vincesamios.com Vince Samios

      Or indeed that you put it on youtube… lol

      I’m confused… are you wiping your bum with your hand? and then wiping your hand with the paper? seems a little backwards to me ;-)

      • Simon

        No, no. Squirt with the hose, sometimes you may need a bit of a wipe with your hand, then wash hands (or use bum gun) and then use one piece of paper to dry off your bum.

        I am told by ‘experts’ that the when your directional abilities become skilled the need for paper diminishes.

        @Ali – I would say most people (who hadn’t lived abroad) if you asked them would have no clue.

        Anyway how was my technique guys?

        • http://vincesamios.com Vince Samios

          reasonably similar to my own…. but I figured it out one handed.

          • Simon

            The one handed approach – impressive.

      • Cassian

        Or indeed that I have just watched this three times in a row and then read this hilarious comment PMSL every time.

        All credit to the bum gun tho’, no really!

        C

        • Cassian

          Vincent Samios comment I mean

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  • http://www.acceleratedstall.com Maria

    Bum gun is great, I used to call them the poor man’s bidet – they exist in Greece and the Middle East as well. I was delighted to see them in Cambodia – couldn’t convince my travel partner to use it though.

    • Simon

      I think it takes a bit of time to get used to the idea.

  • gavinmac

    No, no, no. No wiping with your hand. Spray bum area, wipe with toilet paper until dry. What is wrong with you people?

    • Simon

      Yes it seems many folk follow many techniques. A friend promotes your way too. I like to be thorough.

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  • http://kampotboat.com Cédric

    What a tutorial !!! i woke up Max by watching you washing you !!!
    i have to say a negative thing about the bum-gun : you always have your “bum” wet for a while. It’s not always pleasant to fell wet in your pant, specialy in tropical countries.
    But i globaly love the bum-gun ! no more paper and more hygienic, enough.
    By the way, i love your serious post

    • Simon

      But as you live in a hot country your bum will dry very quickly. Anyway that’s what a little tissue is for.

  • http://www.djradioactiveanne.blogspot.com Devi Vanhon

    Thanks for your informative post. Before I give you my take on bum guns, I want to diverge into the topic of public toilets. I hate public toilets in general and I do all I can to avoid using a toilet other than my own, especially to defecate. One of the main reasons I avoid using public restrooms is the germ factor. Sure, I do realize that one can contract more germs and bacteria sitting in an open restaurant, than actually visiting a public restroom, but it just seems “icky”. I will not sit on a toilet seat on which hundreds of other people have sat and relieved themselves of various waste materials. So I try to make sure I go to the loo before leaving home.

    Another reason I hate public toilets is the close proximity of stalls. I have never understood the brazenness of the concept of the male urinal. How men can practically stand hip-to-hip while removing their private parts for the sake of a little relief, has always been rather puzzling to me. In my opinion, there is nothing more unnerving than going to the loo while seated/squatting only inches away from two other individuals who are doing the same thing on either side. What is especially uncomfortable is sitting/squatting there while a stall neighbour attempts to do “Number Two.” In the silence of an empty public bathroom, the inherent sounds of someone attending to her business is more than I care to experience.

    Now on to the topic proper of bum guns. I have been using them since 1995. I need them. I cannot live without them – BUT – a bum gun is NOT enough. When I go to the loo, I need:

    1. bum gun
    2. liquid soap; and
    3. lots of toilet paper

    I always use the bum gun from the front. I always have water running while I am defecating to reduce odour and avoid splashing my bum with water from the toilet bowl when my faeces drop into it.
    Once I am finished, I put the bum gun back in the holder, pour lots of liquid soap into my left hand, pick the bum gun again with my right hand, scrub* my bum with soapy left hand and rinse off the soap with the bum gun. I repeat if needed. Then i use toilet paper to dry myself. Then, I wash my hands very thoroughly with lots of soap.

    I actually use this method every time, even when I just need to urinate. I just have to wash with soap. I don’t think I could stand any kind of bad odours from my derrière or genitalia. I find being unclean disrespectful to my self. That’s the kind of hygiene I was taught by both my parents when I was little.

    By the way, in Switzerland we had no bum guns, but at home, the toilet was just next to the bathtub. So, every time I used the loo, I would climb into the bathtub and wash myself afterward.
    Or, if I didn’t want to get entirely wet I would keep one foot and leg outside the bathtub, resting my thigh on the edge, put my other foot on the egde on the opposite side of the bathtub and bend my knee enough so that my bum would be mid air over the bathtub. Then I’d use the shower as I would a bum gun.

    I think everyone would benefit from using a bum gun. If you’ve never used it, try it.

    *Note on how to scrub
    With some practice you too can master the art of cleaning your stool hall. Have the bum gun nozzle shooting directly in your ass crack and let the water do its magic. The object is to really clean out the crevices of your brown eye, wedged up about a 1/4 inch of the anus is some faecal matter that masks itself like a bat in a cave. This will allow the water to loosen it up for the soap lathering.
    Lather your left hand with some soap or bodywash. Reach around and scrub it good, go ahead and take your finger of choice and put that finger up your asshole and move it around in a circular motion. Go ahead and scrub nice and good up the butt crack to make sure you get all the grease. After you are done, rinse very very well. Don’t forget to wash your hands (especially that finger) very well too.

    • Simon

      That is a great and thorough tutorial.

      Anybody need any more advice they should come to you.

      • Victor

        You can’t be serious. That woman is dangerously maniac.

    • Cassian

      OMFG!!!!!

    • http://www.salescopywriter.net/ Alan

      I love how that diverged from Swiss finishing school to Californian porn and ended up in London’s East End.

  • http://www.jawarakampung.blogspot.com Jawara kampung

    ha.ha. unik

  • http://www.thephnompen.asia thephnompen

    Bum guns are for peasants….and the French who are famously dirty.

    I will only use them if there is no other option .

    Now your next video should be for those REALLY rustic Khmer dunnies that have a squatter and only a bucket of water with a small dipper in it. Show me how to use that without saturating my sorts and dropping them in a pool of piss and I’ll be impressed.

    • Simon

      Maybe I could start a whole e-series about toilet habits in SE Asia.

      I am sure you’d sign up eh J?

  • http://www.thephnompen.asia thephnompen

    oh……did you know Gavinmac uses his Las Vegas bumgun to wish his teeth with ?

    • Simon

      I wasn’t aware of that but I believe he is one of those rare breeds that after time in SE Asia has actually had own installed in his US home.

      • http://www.thephnompen.asia thephnompen

        Yes……so he could brush his teeth while he shits. He is a pagan.

        BTW…I am never shaking hands with you again.

        • Simon

          haha – you’ll have nothing to worry about as long as you don’t shake my left hand.

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  • Melinda

    Wow, how were you able to stay so serious?! Ha, love the video. Soon you’ll get offers to work for bum gun companies as a the sales manager!!

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  • Graham

    Devi, just my opinion but I think youve taken this a tad too seriously and consequently somewhere it really didn’t need to go.
    Simon, I sit on the toilet and I have no space behind my bum whatsoever. If I did move forward the old fella would make contact with the toilet seat and possibly even the bowl.. something I have spent my life avoiding. It seems much more likely that I could atempt the operation from the front. Although even then it would be one hand at a time. Possibly I missed something though. Is elevation required? Graham.

    • Simon

      You need to lean forward to get the initial spray directed.

      I now use right hand from the back for spraying and left hand from the front for giving it a quick wash.

      • Cassian

        Nice one Simon – I see you operate on a strictly ‘don’t need to know basis’.
        I’m luvin it.

  • http://jeffmcneill.com Jeff McNeill

    Easier to spread the legs, aim bum gun from the front and down, and reach between with left hand for directing water/wiping. This also works when there is a pail instead of pressured water. Poor water between legs in front and direct that water with left hand.

    • http://www.mikefook.com Mike Fook

      Jeff – are you advocating reaching from the front and spraying from the front? I am questioning how much room you have in the front. Please respond, I’d like take this dialogue further if we can….

      • Simon

        @ Jeff I am with Mike – are you suggesting going in from the front?

  • http://www.mikefook.com Mike Fook

    Long Live the BUM GUN.

    I have lived in Thailand for the past, almost 7 years. I had no problem touching myself down there – anything to squeegee that thing clean and get it proper. I fear that Thailand is going the way of the western Bum Gun-less toilets though. There are times I don’t see it – and a slight panic hits me. What if there is no TP (toilet paper)?

    Here’s my technique Sim – I bumgun myself silly, using my hand as a moldable squeegee and wipe it all clean as a whistle. Then, I use the TP to first dry my left hand and secondly to wipe the bum again – to dry it and ensure it’s fresh.

    Then I head to the sink where there will never be soap. I bring and use my own alcohol lotion that kills (hopefully) all of the nastiness on that left hand.

    Long Live the Bum Gun. I’ve had many less skid-marked undies as a result of these hoses for the undercarriage.

    Missing Cambodia – getting back there in about 6 weeks me thinks.

    Cheers, MF

    • Simon

      Cheers for the comments – It’s really an odd tool as those that haven’t tried it continue to ridicule the practice. Once you have sprayed with the BG there’s no going back!

  • http://www.mikefook.com Mike Fook

    Long Live The Bum Gun!

  • rich

    living in the UK and wondering where i can purchase one of these?? could u email me if ya know..cheers

    • Simon

      Follow the link in the post – the company is an British one

      Good luck. :-)

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  • S

    JFC! I am visiting my sister in the states soon and her gift will be a bamboo broom and bum gun, however when I went searching for info on it to forward her I certainly did NOT expect to see Simon from Osaka doing a live tutorial and sharing more info then I ever imagined. Could I consider you someone I went on a date with? So can i say I never expected to see like the one and only date I ever had in Bangkok demonstrating the bum gun! ( I still remember the awkward moment at the end when the check came with a condom!)

    You are ageless or this is just not you. I am still in Thailand and you are back in Cambodia?

    Best Wishes,
    Sy

    • Simon

      Haha! The web is a small place? Nice to hear from you after all this time.

      I am suer your sister would have been shocked and stunned to have received a bum gun as a gift.

      We have just bought one to install in our house in France.

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  • http://www.tastythailand.com Reeves

    I wrote an article about this a couple of years ago and just reposted it to our new website. Can’t believe how many people do a search for “bum gun”, LOL.

    Nice job on this. And I totally agree with you. Use a bum gun once and enjoy that nice clean feeling instead of “poo spread around your nether regions” (funny, I used the “nether regions” phrase too, LOL) and you’ll never go back to nasty, gross toilet paper.

    Love the video too! Only difference I think, for women, most of us spray front to back as we’ve a bit more ‘stuff’ to clean :) I also highly recommend carrying a tiny container of baby powder with you. Use the bum gun, dry off, quick dust of baby powder (which also helps you stop sweating in hot Asian countries) and Bob’s your uncle!

    • Simon

      Carrying a small container of baby powder is a top tip!

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts on this ‘important’ topic.

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  • Ratna Man

    After living in Asia for 30 years, the hardest part about visiting home, the US, is dealing with toilets that DON’T have a bum gun, or other water source for washing. TP alone is utterly disgusting after you’ve become used to actually washing yourself. Mineral water bottles will do in a pinch.

    • Simon

      Yes I agree using just paper feels totally weird now.

      We have just bought a bum gun to install in our house in Europe.

      Thanks for the comments.

  • Ben

    Howdy Simon, I’m a Singaporean and also one who isn’t too fond of the bum gun. The problem could be that here in Singapore we’ve had a number of food poisoning cases where the food preparers were found with unclean hands e.g. faecal matter lodged under finger nails or rings. Thinking about these stories really puts me off from using the bum gun and coming into direct contact with the orifice, although you could argue that the real issue was one of not washing one’s hands properly before preparing food. Furthermore, using a bum gun in public seems a little unhygienic to me. The guy before you probably handled the gun in various ways, alternating the bum-washing and gun-holding hands in the process i.e. you could be touching someone else’s faecal matter. Sure you could wash your hands after the bum-gunning process but ewww.

  • Ben

    Oh by the way, my own process for bum-cleaning is to do the standard toilet paper thingy and then follow up with a wet wipe or two, which actually leaves my bum feeling nice and clean.

    • Alan Marshall

      Ben, that “wet wipe” allows bacteria to pass right through the paper!  A bit pointless.  Use the left hand and wash well afterwards.  
      In India it is considered most disgusting to shake hands with someone using your left hand, and the tradition is to place the hands in the “prayer” position over the heart as a greeting, so you don’t pass infection via the hands.  Also of course, all eating is done with the RIGHT hand only.
      They do a lot of very sensible things in that country once we get to understand them.

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  • http://www.handheldbidet.co Handheld Bidet

    Im glad to see people are catching on to the idea of the “bum gun”. I was living in South East Asia for sometime until i decided to head out to South America, where many countries use toilet paper. I just couldn’t get my head around it and due to the poor sanitation in these countries, there were bins overflowing with shitty paper. Not a good look!. It seems such a primitive maneuver. The problem with the “bum-gun”, as others have already stated, is that it is still lacking a few important features. This is why i have taken it upon myself to develop “the ultimate Bum-Gun!”. Well i haven’t called it that, but that’s what it is. It’s a bum gun with a more intuitive shape, warm water, soap dispenser and a blow dryer. It doesn’t require any installation and is completely portable. Anyway, the prototype will be ready shortly at the address above. Cheers for the interesting read. Glen

    • Simon

      The ‘Ultimate Bum Gun’ – I like it

  • Anna

    I agree with Ben – unless you use soap I can’t see how this method is more hygeinic than using toilet paper, as the harmful bacteria in poo can’t be destroyed by cold water – they need soap and high temperatures. So if you’re touching poo with your hands too you must need to wash them very thoroughly.

    At least toilet paper keeps the poo in one place and doesn’t spread it to your hands or anywhere else. I’m going to India for the first time in a couple of days and concerned about what the people preparing my food have been doing with their hands! There must be a direct link between the high levels of food poisoning in places where this is used!

    I think wet wipes are the way forward! Or sinks in each toilet so you can wet the paper. Unless you can have a full shower after each poo!!

    • Alan Marshall

      Anna, you are implying that pooh is bound to be full of harmful bacteria.   The pooh has just left your body.  Are you suffering from an enteric disease?  If not, why would you expect to find harmful bacteria in the pooh?  
      It’s what is termed “fecophobia.”  An irrational fear of feces.   With sensible, disciplined cleaning of the hand you have nothing to fear.  
      By the way, the squat method of defaecation is much healthier on your body and its physiology than the western “sitting” position.   It’s good to get used to it and work out your own (in private) technique of doing things.

  • http://www.handheldbidet.co Handheld Bidet

    I agree its still not perfect but your not touching poo. At least Ive never needed to using the bum gun. Ideally you need one of those TOTO washlets only they’re very expensive. Although i can’t prove it as such, you only have to speak to westerners who live in South East Asia and they will all agree that it is more hygienic that toilet paper. I have also lived in India and i am very familiar with the “hands-on” approach and i even believe that this is more hygienic that using toilet paper. Erm…well…assuming people wash their hands with soap and warm water afterwards. But i can see you concern because the chances are…not everybody does.

  • Bum gun sceptic!

    I’m currently living in thailand and have yet to test the bum gun!! My problem is how earth you spray water about without getting your trousers/skirt/pants soaking wet??
    Although this has clarified the drying part which I have been wondering for months now!!
    Ach well… I’m still carrying tissues around everywhere with me! Damn farang!

    • Simon

      I was living in SE Asia for years until I realised its benefits.

      Check the video out and as long as your trousers are around your ankles you’ll be okay. It’s all about aiming it at the right place!

  • http://www.handheldbidet.co Handheld Bidet

    Hi. You don’t need to stand up, just place it between your legs and shoot. It’s sort of hard to explain but one you have got the technique down it is very easy and effective. I don’t think the people who designed the “bum gun” really gave it much thought, which is why i am currently manufacturing my own device. One which is not ambiguous in it’s usage.

    • Johnandpat7

      Hi  I would like to know what you are proposing as there are a lot of these on the market but not in AUS I have the same Idea there has to be a good market for these 

      • Simon Oliver

        Haha – that’s awesome. I find it really odd, as does my wife and daughter, when we go back to the West for a holiday and have to use regular paper.
        I suppose one could say that once you spray there’s no going back.

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  • Johnandpat7

    I found these while I was traveling around Turkey and other places and since arriving home have put one in my two toilets and now I hate going to the toilet anywhere else

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-wood/33/713/5aa Stephen Wood

    One of the first things I did once I returned to the states was install a bidet. 

    Really, what you need is a guide for using the water pots. You know, the jug of water next to the squat toilets. I knew somehow I had to use my left hand and a cup full of water to get the business done, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to do it in any elegant manner.

    Then I saw an old man use it: he pulled his trousers down and squatted, then lifted his shirt up his back up to his neck. After his lower back was bare, he poured water down his back while he did unspeakable-to-a-western-mind things with his left hand and the subsequently running water. Mystery solved.

    • Simon Oliver

      That’s a great description. Thanks for the comments.

  • guy

    So how do you clean your bum after you sprayed it with bum gun? I also use it but after I’m finished I use toilet paper to dry my bum crack clean – if you dont do this then youend up with a wet bum and your underwear. So how do you clean/dry of that water that you used with bum gun?

    Also about cleanliness: in theory it is but this is SE asia and water is dirty and full of bacteria. Also like someone mentioned – how many people really wash their hands with soap after they are done.

    So in theory it’s better but in practice – not so sure.

    • Simon Oliver

      You give your bum a quick pat and dry with loo paper (if you have some) or a tissue.

      Washing hands with soap afterwards is essential but a well directed squirt of the bum hose will mean that there shouldn’t be too much to wash off.

  • http://womenlearnthai.com/ Cathereine

    I’ve been in SE Asia since ’94 and have never used a bum gun on my bum. But I’ve been tempted to take a shower under one many times (another ‘not yet’ experience).

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  • Mickcreates

    Love the “Bum gun” name! We always called it the “Bum sprayer” but I think I’ll have to borrow this.

    When I first moved to Northern Thailand I was a bit uncomfortable about the whole no toilet paper in the toilet/bum gun thing, but three years later and it’s the reverse! The idea of only using toilet paper disgusts me and I never feel as clean as I would using the bum gun.

    Us Westerners really have no clue!!

  • sammond7

    Hi Simon,

    Am super keen to try a bum gun, heading to Cambodia today….but…

    I just sprayed a bum gun while it was still in its holster and it showered the whole cubical from a stream of water more powerful than the high pressure hose at a car wash….I’m a little fearful to be pointing that at my bits as it may do damage!

    What’s the secret to preventing the spray from deflecting and making a mess?

  • Jennie

    Can’t believe why some people think washing with water is not as clean as using toilet paper. Where’s the logic? And whichever way you choose, bumgun or TP, you must wash your hands with soap and water, right? After my Thai trip and bumgun education i thought i wouldn’t be
    able to find one back home, but after a search i found http://www.thebumgun.com and within a week I had my very own installed. TP should be banned! bumguns rock!

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