A new way of cleaning our toilets will help save the planet and revolutionise the way we do one of every household’s most unpleasant but necessary tasks.
Entrepreneur Kam Mistry has been granted a UK patent for his replacement to the toilet brush – the Shiffter – a hand-held jet wash which allows householders to clean their toilets using a jet of water rather than a brush.
“Toilet brushes have been around for decades and using them is universally regarded as an unpleasant experience,” said Kam, from Gloucestershire. “The Shiffter changes all of that as you simply jet wash the bowl clean after you get up from the seat and the flush hasn’t completely washed poo away – and it takes seconds. As it’s used straight after you go, it does away with need to put on the rubber gloves and scrub with a toilet brush for the weekly clean.”
Aside from helping to make toilet cleaning less unpleasant, the invention will also have huge benefits for the environment.
He added: “The Shiffter will reduce plastic waste from throwaway toilet brushes and lower bleach usage, but perhaps more significantly it will save tens of billions of litres of water a year in the UK alone.”
Most of us are familiar with repeat flushing, when the flush hasn’t cleaned the toilet bowl properly. Sometimes you have to do this more than once and often it’s in vain. But if you can clean it using a small jet of water rather than repeat flushing with several litres it all adds up. In the UK there are 27.8 million households1 made up of an average of 2.4 people. With the average person flushing five times a day and toilet cisterns containing six litres2 of water, that equates to 730 billion litres of drinking quality water used to flush UK toilets every year. For scale, England’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, contains 300 billion litres3 of water and it is 10.5 miles long, one mile wide and 220 feet deep!
If we all flushed once less a day it would reduce water use by around 146 billion litres a year and in the USA it would save close to a trillion litres.
Now, armed with the patent, Kam is confident that he’ll be able to raise investment to manufacture the product in the next few weeks, but how can he be so sure that there is a demand for the product?
He added: “Over the past twelve months there have been over 5,600 visits to the Shiffter website and 10 times as many searches from people putting terms such as ‘alternative to the toilet brush’ into Google4 – and that’s for a product that does not yet exist! With hundreds of millions of households out there, many with more than one toilet, and businesses, hotels and B&Bs to add to the mix, the product has the potential to sell well. I don’t need a solid gold house and am not looking to send billionaires into space. My aim is to give away a big chunk of the profits to help sanitation projects in developing countries and charities supporting people with issues we don’t talk about such as Crohns, Colitis and IBS.”