Bidet ( bee-dáy) is a personal cleansing method utilizing a stream of water, which is more hygienic and beneficial to the use of toilet paper. The word bidet was first used in the 15th century to refer to the pet ponies kept by the French royalty. During the 19th century the Europeans developed a porcelain cleaning device for contraceptive and purgative (cathartic) uses, which was called a bidet for its shape resembled those ponies. Over time, its use has evolved more into a personal cleansing method, paralleling the improved sanitation and the heightened sense of personal hygiene in the modern world. For several decades now, bidet has been a welcome addition to the bathroom culture of Europeans and Asians.