The Bum Gun – Beginners’ Guide to the World’s Best Butt Cleaner!


Also called the butt-blaster, butt bomber, bum shower and ass hose, this hand-held bidet faithfully sits beside the toilets of Asia, freaking out Westerners and causing them to stockpile tissue like the world is ending!

Also read: 9 Toilet Paper Alternatives Inspired by Asia!

The bum gun is looked upon fondly by long-term travellers and with horror by the newer ones – especially when they learn it’s not a showerhead… Yet the bum gun is a rite of passage for travellers to Southeast Asia and it’s guaranteed you’ll never forget the first time that you use one!

Introducing the World’s Best Butt Washer!

6 Benefits of the Butt Gun

  • Bum Guns clean your butt much more thoroughly – Asians have known it for years. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that cleaning something with water (and sometimes soap) gets your ass much cleaner than dry toilet paper will! 
  • Bum guns are more hygienic – If you put your hand in poo would you simply wipe it off with a bit of paper? No didn’t think so. I rest my case!
  • Bum guns are more environmentally friendly – Did you know that the average household (2.6 people) uses an average of 409 toilet rolls each per year? Think how many trees could be saved if everyone switched to using the bum gun!
  • Bum guns avoid sewage blockages – In Asia, where sewage pipes are thinner than in Western countries, using the bum gun avoids clogged up toilet paper blocking up the pipe.
  • Bum guns make water treatment an easier task! – When you don’t have to filter out soggy toilet paper from the water, it takes less work to get the water back in a safe state.
  • Bum guns save money – Never spend money on toilet roll again!
Asian Travel Inspired Toilet Paper Alternatives
What a waste!

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5 Tips to Become an Expert at the Bum Gun!

Now that you’re a wizened wizard of the Bum Gun, there are a couple of extra things to note to help you adjust to Asian toilet etiquette.

1. Always do a water pressure test.

We’ve all experienced that zero to 60 jet spray at one time or another. Each hose has a different velocity and spray and must be treated with respect. Spray into the shower drain before you spray into your bottom and avoid giving yourself a colon cleanse.

2. For the love of god, aim.

You’ll soon find that certain angles are better than others to get both your bits clean and keep your pants dry. Practice makes perfect and by the end of your trip, you’ll be a Bum Gun master.

3. Keep back up toilet paper.

Don’t think earning the status of a Bum Gun Initiate means you can stop stockpiling toilet paper. You’ll need it to dry yourself off afterwards if you happen to go really wild with the spray. Or when the Bum Gun looks especially dodgy, it’s always nice to have a fallback.

Asian Travel Inspired Toilet Paper Alternatives
Don’t throw away that loo roll just yet!

4. Put the toilet paper in the bin!

In Asia, it’s important not to flush that toilet paper or tissue down the toilet where it could block the drain, but drop it in the bin at the side of the lavatory. It’s something that many backpackers just can’t get used to again when they get back home and end up dropping their tissue on the floor!

5. Wash your hands thoroughly after usage.

Of course we don’t need to tell you this one. Your Mum taught you that one ages ago! And if you can’t soap it up, hand sanitiser will do the trick until you can get back to your hostel and scrub a dub dub.

A Backpacker’s First Encounter with the Bum Gun…

You walk, unassumingly into a toilet stall, regretting the beers you finished off the night before. Or was it this morning? You can’t really remember. As you latch the door shut with a rusty nail, you turn and see the dismal site of a leaky, smelly hole in the ground, the uninviting squat toilet…

Squat toilet in Asia with a bum gun.

It’s the standard rest stop toilet. So you hitch your pants down around your ankles and hold onto them for dear life as you go about your business. You’re regretting those 4 am noodles now. Squatting down, hangover screaming, stomach-churning, you contemplate if you can hold it for a couple more hours. Nope. Definitely not. You do your thing, which is already an ordeal in the 40+ degree weather, and come to the terrifying realisation that you’ve run out of your carefully curated store of toilet paper.

Who needs toilet paper anyway?

As you break out in cold sweats amidst your regular sweats, you look frantically around for anything that could be used to wipe your derriere. Your eyes light upon the bucket of stagnant water used to manually flush the toilet. “Absolutely not!” Your civilised voice screams. Finally. you settle upon the bum gun. Even as your mind runs through the list of every possible alternative, your hand reaches out to grasp the handle. You stare at it, thinking about what your friends would say, then sigh as you pluck up your courage and take the plunge.

The bum gun next to a Western toilet
The Bum Gun. Oh what a marvellous sight!

A Bum Shower – That First Blast!

You make the mistake every first-time blaster makes. Instead of the gradual drip that you expected, a full-strength jet of water shoots out of the limescale crusted hose, sending you three feet off the toilet. Was that an audible yelp? Not only are you clean, your pants are soaked, the wall is saturated and you’ve probably given yourself an enema. As you stumble out of the stall still dripping slightly, you stand a little taller. Congratulations, you’ve passed the initiation and earned the right to consider yourself a proper South East Asian Backpacker!

Once You Spray You’ll Never Go Back!

It may take some getting used to and a bit of cultural realignment, but once you embrace the Gun, you’ll never go back! It’ll be one of those fond memories of Asia you’ll recall at family events or when you’re out with your friends and they ask you about your trip. As their eyes narrow, in that way they do, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll never understand the satisfaction and ease that the Bum Gun brings to thousands of people every day!

Samantha Lego Bio Pic
Samantha Lego

An avid explorer, thrill-seeker, pen-wielder and coffee connoisseur, Samantha Lego wanders the globe, getting lost in interesting places and swapping stories with people much cooler than her.

Find her on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

11 thoughts on “The Bum Gun – Beginners’ Guide to the World’s Best Butt Cleaner!”

  1. Stephen Lane

    An opinion from retired travellers who spend winters in Thailand: although we’ve passed our backpacking days, we are huge bum gun fans! At home we now use a Toto Washlet electric toilet spray system, allowing seamless transitions between our SE Asian adventures and life where we live — best of both worlds!

  2. Happi travellers

    We found them so much better than paper. We put a bum gun in at home when we got back from our trip !

  3. Renting in Central Highlands Vietnam at the moment. When the landlord fills the household header tank from the well, sand gets drawn up from below.
    Got soaked the first time I took the bum gun apart to clear the sand in an urgent situation.
    It took a while figure out how to divert the captured sand in my supply past the bum gun plumbing link so it wouldn’t get blocked.

  4. Nycole Kelly

    This article made me laugh so hard, I actually cried. In public. Thank you for the ab workout, and the tips. – Malaysia traveler

    1. Haha! What a great comment, Nycole! We’re glad that you have as much appreciation for the bum gun as we do! Happy Travels 🙂

  5. Nikki Backpacker

    The question I always ask is how do you dry your bum afterwards? I’ve been travelling in Asia for almost 10 years and I still haven’t mastered it! Haha!

    1. The trick is only aiming for the part that needs washing. A slightly moist bumoley afterward aint gonna hurt anyone… hahah… Asians look upon water as a cleaner way to clean as compared to tissue as it usually leaves behind residue. =P

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