Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have noticed random bits of hose without proper fittings before I think for example in India and just assumed they are for use by the cleaners or for filling the water jug in squat toilets.

But Now I'm travelling in Malaysia and Singapore and there are more western toilets than squat toilets in the places I've been yet proper hoses with proper fittings are very common in toilets:
A hose in a toilet in Malaysia
(Hose next to a Western style toilet in my hostel in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur.)

At one place in Singapore there were even signs on each cubicle door stating whether it contained a western or squat toilet, but also whether there was a hose! (I didn't take a photo of the sign, unfortunately)

This makes me think there is a use for the hose for clients, not just cleaners. But for what purpose? Should I know how to use it as a tourist? Please tell me it's not a kind of alternative to a bidet!

Possibly related is the fact that many toilet floors are awash with water. This can be a big problem if you're not wearing waterproof shoes or have to lower your trousers and keep them dry. Other than this toilets are pretty clean and I've seen both the hoses and the wetness in what I would regard as somewhat "fancy" places.

share|improve this question
Are these located next to the western toilet seats? – Heidel Ber Gensis Aug 18 '13 at 6:09
Yes even next to western toilets. I haven't tried to see if they are also next to squat toilets. – hippietrail Aug 18 '13 at 6:24
Maybe related to this older question? How to use Turkish toilet tap? – hippietrail Mar 4 '14 at 18:16
I have since learned that one expat slang term for these things is "bum gun"! Google, feel free to index that (-; – hippietrail Jan 24 '15 at 14:36
@hippietrail, Hmm, they seem to exist in New York too. – Pacerier Jun 1 '15 at 8:33
up vote 20 down vote accepted

These are used to wash the private areas after using the toilet, it is the upgrade to the jug, so instead of filling a jug and use it to wash you use the hose directly.

To use it, hold it with one hand (the dominant) and press, water stream will wash away things, you also can use the other hand (non-dominant) to clean while aiming the stream to the private areas same way as you do when using the jug.

So, the jug was upgraded to the hose, the hose was upgraded to the bidet (not in Asia), the bidet was upgraded to the toilet seats with built-in water washers (washlet). Anyway, most countries in Asia still use the hose which gives more control over the washing process. It is also used to wash feet and the toilet itself.

share|improve this answer
Does this also explain the wet floors? In which case they are also unhygienic floors? – hippietrail Aug 18 '13 at 6:25
In my hostel there are good rubber drainage mats so your feet never get wet. But in a petrol station toilet in JB the other day the floor was like a swimming pool. – hippietrail Aug 18 '13 at 6:46
@hippietrail: Damp floors are normal in wet toilets (well, water + floor doesn't exactly make dry floor), but it should never be flooded. Still water is unhygienic and a breeding ground for mosquitos, so in wet toilets the drainage should always quickly clears out excess water and prevents water from collecting. Sometimes other users might spray on the toilet seat before taking a seat (and the toilet cleaner might do it regularly as well), this inevitably causes the floor to be damp, and shouldn't be taken as unhygienic. – Lie Ryan Aug 18 '13 at 13:36
@hippietrail, Find a better toilet, typically one in a library or in the shopping center (go to the upper levels, there are cockroaches in the basement ones). Petrol station toilets and coffee shop toilets are one of the worst, I've not pooped in one of those before, they're only for peeing. – Pacerier Jun 1 '15 at 8:08

You're convolving two independent Western traditions: toilet paper and sit-toilets. Even when using a sit-toilet, there are many ways to clean yourself.

So you can clean yourself with water (rather than toilet paper) no matter what toilet you're using, and indeed that's what these hoses are for.

As for the wet floor, the reason is twofold:

  1. It is hygienic: someone recently cleaned the bathroom, but didn't bother to completely dry it (I actually find the water rather comforting for that reason).
  2. In many cases, the room is an all-purpose wet-room: the shower is in the same room as the toilet, so the floor gets wet. It seems pretty efficient to me.
share|improve this answer
Yes I forgot to include in my question that I actually thought the hoses with these fittings were hand-held shower nozzles because I've found combination toilet / shower cubicles in several countries. The photo is an instance of a toilet only though. There is a shower cubicle next to it which is different. – hippietrail Aug 18 '13 at 12:16

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.