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.

  • Are these located next to the western toilet seats? Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 6:09
  • Yes even next to western toilets. I haven't tried to see if they are also next to squat toilets. Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 6:24
  • Maybe related to this older question? How to use Turkish toilet tap? Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 18:16
  • I have since learned that one expat slang term for these things is "bum gun"! Google, feel free to index that (-; Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 14:36
  • @hippietrail, Hmm, they seem to exist in New York too.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 8:33

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 2
    Does this also explain the wet floors? In which case they are also unhygienic floors? Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 6:25
  • 1
    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. Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 6:46
  • 7
    @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
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 13:36
  • 3
    @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
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 8:08
  • In other words, it is a "kind of alternative to a bidet"! Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 0:36

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.
  • 1
    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. Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 12:16

Well just when I thought this had all been settled years ago, along comes a curveball!

These are not very common in Taiwan. I have a feeling I might have seen one before this one but I'm not sure.

But this one in Kaohsiung is clearly labelled "just for cleaning"!
Hand bidet in Kaohsiung, Taiwan - just for cleaning

Well I guess the English could be a little ambiguous but if they mean "just for cleaning yourself afterwards" why would they post a sign. Maybe somebody can see if the Chinese is clearer?

Anyway the moral of the story is if you're used to these being hand-bidets in other countries and your travels bring you to Taiwan, if you chance upon one it might not be best to use it in the manner to which you are accustomed.

  • 13
    It may mean its not water meant for drinking? Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 5:53
  • 3
    I'm more concerned about that metal tongues. I wonder what those are for...
    – drat
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 5:59
  • 1
    @drat: Metal tongues are what robots taste their delicious meals with. Or maybe you mean the poo tongs? Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:14
  • 3
    Best I can manage with the Chinese is 僅供清潔使用 "Use is only for cleaning" so no better than the English. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:21
  • @drat They're just for cleaning!
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 16:25

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