One of the most amazing Asian inventions is the toilet hose or ‘bum gun’. This is a small hose with a spray nozzle on the end that’s attached to the wall in practically every toilet in Thailand and is used after you’ve been to the loo, to spray your nether regions to get them clean. It’s a wonderful invention as, unlike in the US and England, where we tend to just wipe around with some toilet paper, smearing urine and feces all over our delicate private area, in Thailand Thai men and women use the bum gun.
They use the toilet hose or ‘bum gun’ to spray water on themselves, use soap that they bring with them to make sure they’re completely clean, and then use the toilet hose again to rinse off. A quick dry with some toilet paper, and they’re just as clean as when they left the house that morning.
The toilet hose or bum gun in Thailand really is a wonderful invention but, if you haven’t been faced with one before, how do you use it?
Testing the Toilet Hose or Bum Gun – First things first, test the water pressure before you use it. The British call the toilet hose the ‘bum gun’ and for good reason. The nozzle on the end of the hose is shaped a bit like a gun, with a trigger that you press to release the water.
The secret to using the bum gun or toilet hose correctly is this – every one of them has a different pressure so, before you start spraying around your nether regions, make sure you test the pressure first by spraying some water into the toilet. Some bum guns have very high pressure and you could, literally, just about shoot yourself off the toilet seat if you use it with too much force.
Using the Toilet Hose or Bum Gun – Now that you’ve tested the toilet hose, you’re ready to use it. If you’re a guy, spray yourself around your anal region and then, when satisfied you’re clean enough, wipe off with some toilet paper as you don’t want to put your pants back on while your bottom is still wet. In a humid climate like Thailand, you’ll soon end up with a rash, or worse, so make sure you’re dry first.
For women, spray yourself from front to back, making sure you rinse properly. Like I said, many Thai men and women (and me now!) carry a soap box with a small piece of soap with them. So if you do the same, wet first, use your soap to make sure you are completely clean, then use the toilet hose to rinse the soap away. Dry off with toilet paper and use some baby powder if you really want to feel dry and fresh.
Be Careful With the Toilet Hose If Wearing Pants and Using a Squat Toilet in Thailand – For women, wearing a dress or skirt, and using the bum gun is easy. Your dress or skirt is hoisted around your waist, so has no chance of getting wet. For men, or for women wearing pants though, it’s a different matter, particuarly if you’re using a squat toilet.
Squat toilets are all over Thailand, and are actually cleaner and healthier than the typical western toilet. However, if you’re using a squat toilet while wearing pants and want to use the toilet hose, you’ve a lot more chance of soaking yourself through. There is an art to it though, so just follow these tips.
Before you squat, roll up your pant legs, so they don’t droop down and hit the floor, which is likely to be wet. Now pull down your pants, but just to your mid-thigh region. Now squat. Do your business and then, when finished, reach behind you, take the toilet hose and spray the water gently around your anal area or, for women, spray gently from front to back making sure not to wet your pants.
Dry off as usual with toilet paper. Many tourists haven’t gotten the knack of using the bum gun while wearing pants, which you can tell as they come out of the bathrooms in Thailand with a suspicious wet patch on their backside. A little care before squatting will make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Take Toilet Paper to the Bathroom for Use With the Toilet Hose – In Bangkok now, most toilets have toilet paper and, if they don’t, there’s a machine outside the bathroom where you can buy it for 1-2 baht (around 3-5 cents) for a box.
If you’re going to use the toilet hose, you are going to need toilet paper to dry yourself off. So make sure you buy some before you go in, just in case it’s not provided inside. You don’t want to end up sitting there with a wet butt and no way to dry it off. Thailand is humid, so things can take a long time to dry!
The toilet hose or bum gun really is the cleanest thing to ever sit in any bathroom. When I leave Thailand, the whole time I’m gone I really miss the bum gun and find myself always in possession of some handy wipes so I can try to recreate that completely fresh feeling.
If you’ve struggled with the toilet hose in the past on trips to Thailand, the next time you’re here, and faced with a bum gun, just follow these few easy tips and you too will leave the bathroom feeling clean and refreshed and ready to face the world again.