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Why Automatic Toilet Seats Are the Future of Public Restrooms

Three cutting-edge companies leading the change with their automatic toilet seats

In today’s world, where the emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness has never been greater, public restrooms are a focal point in the battle against germs and diseases. In many businesses, public restrooms are also an important part of their offerings to guests; modern influencer pages such as Teddy Siegel’s Got2goNYC focus exclusively on public bathrooms in different businesses. They have accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers and achieved fame on publications like Business Insider, DailyMail, and the New York Times.

However, maintaining cleanliness standards in such frequently used spaces poses a significant, and costly challenge. This is where the introduction of automatic toilet seats has come in, promising to revolutionize our public restroom experiences with a blend of technology and practicality

The Problem with Public Restrooms

The very essence of public restrooms makes them vulnerable breeding grounds for dirt and bacteria. High foot traffic, inconsistent cleaning routines, and the reluctance of users to clean after themselves contribute to this issue. The result is not just a physical problem but also a psychological one, where the mere thought of using public restrooms can cause discomfort and anxiety for many people.

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Many bathrooms suffer from a phenomenon coined by economics as the Free Rider Problem. Investopedia, a leading financial and economic information source, defines it as “The free rider problem is the burden on a shared resource created by its use or overuse by people who aren’t paying their fair share for it or aren’t paying anything at all.” In the case of public bathrooms, free riders almost never clean after themselves, leaving a mess that must be cleaned and dealt with. This effect is even parabolic at times, with certain users leaving enormous messes in restrooms due to the perceived lack of ownership and connection with themselves.

The Advent of Automatic Toilet Seats

Enter the innovators. Several companies, including Hygolet, CWS, and Cleana, are leading the way with new toilet seat technology designed to help companies improve toilet sanitation while reducing costs and overhead.

HYGOLET: A Swiss company, Hygolet, was founded in 1978 and provided the world with one of the first self-cleaning toilet seats. Their system, mainly found in airports, uses a motorized system that rotates a unique plastic wrapping around the toilet seat. Before each use, individuals can wave their hands over the seat’s sensors, and the seat will rotate a fresh plastic covering from rolls inside the mechanism. This system provides every user with a fresh surface to sit on and promises to lower costs caused by paper-seat covers clogging toilets. To function, the seat requires a dedicated power line with a GFCI outlet and needs to have its plastic wrap replaced and disposed of every 120 uses.

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CWS Hygiene: Specializing in commercial cleaning equipment, clothing, and tools, CWS Hygiene led the industry with one of the most creative and unique approaches to cleaning bathrooms: The CWS Paradise Cleanseat Universal. This product is a completely integrated, wall-mounted toilet with the distinctive feature of a self-cleaning toilet seat. 

As shown in the video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5WchlWg1j4) the seat is a complete ring that is spun around the bowl and cleaned by a water hose. It is further dried by a small piece of cloth located under the extendable arm. This seat offers each user a rinsed and wiped seat between each use, and is entirely touchless. To function, the bowl and seat must be integrated into the wall and connected with plumbing and electricity. As a specialty product, it is also priced at 1,558 euros, or $1,690, US.

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Cleana Inc: Founded by Boston University and MIT engineers, Cleana has produced the world’s first anti-bacterial, mess-preventing toilet seat. Their product, Cleana Commercial, takes a different approach to toilet cleanliness, seeking to prevent messes before they happen. The Cleana Seat features a self-lifting mechanism that detects users, automatically lifting the seat after they’re finished and holding it upright. This small change prevents common messes that occur when the seat is down, keeping it more than 90% cleaner than a standard seat. 

The simplicity of this mechanism means that, unlike other approaches, the Cleana Seat requires no batteries or electricity to function, does not need refills of plastic wrap or chemicals, and can be installed on any bowl in less than five minutes. To function, the seat must be lowered by the user with its anti-bacterial, blue handle. Once the seat has detected that the user has left, it will lift back to the vertical position.

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No matter which variety is chosen, the benefits of an automatic toilet seat in the bathroom are clear:

  • Unprecedented Hygiene and Cleanliness: The automation of toilet seats significantly minimizes the direct contact users must make with potentially dirty surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of germ transmission.
  • Elevated Public Restroom Standards: Automatic toilet seats help maintain a more hygienic environment and enhance the overall user experience, shifting perceptions of public restrooms from places of potential risk to zones of safety and comfort.
  • Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings: Beyond the user benefits, these automatic toilet seats offer practical advantages for facility managers. Reduced need for frequent cleaning and maintenance lowers operational costs and resource use, contributing to a more sustainable and efficient management of public restrooms.
  • Commitment to Environmental Sustainability: In an era where ecological impact is a significant concern, designs that reduce the consumption of non-recyclable paper and chemicals are a huge benefit; a single roll of toilet paper can take up to 37 gallons of water to produce. Paper toilet seat covers require a similar amount of water to produce and can additionally wreak havoc on plumbing systems due to their plastic coating. 

No matter which variety is chosen, the benefits of an automatic toilet seat in the bathroom are clear:

Unprecedented Hygiene and Cleanliness: The automation of toilet seats significantly minimizes the direct contact users must make with potentially dirty surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of germ transmission. 

Elevated Public Restroom Standards: Automatic toilet seats help maintain a more hygienic environment and enhance the overall user experience, shifting perceptions of public restrooms from places of potential risk to zones of safety and comfort.

Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings: Beyond the user benefits, these automatic toilet seats offer practical advantages for facility managers. Reduced need for frequent cleaning and maintenance lowers operational costs and resource use, contributing to a more sustainable and efficient management of public restrooms.

Commitment to Environmental Sustainability: In an era where ecological impact is a significant concern, designs that reduce the consumption of non-recyclable paper and chemicals are a huge benefit; a single roll of toilet paper can take up to 37 gallons of water to produce. Paper toilet seat covers require a similar amount of water to produce and can additionally wreak havoc on plumbing systems due to their plastic coating. 

The Future Is Now

As we navigate a world increasingly focused on hygiene, health, and sustainability, adopting innovative solutions like Cleana’s automatic toilet seats in public restrooms is not just a trend but a necessity. These advancements pave the way for a new era of public health and safety standards, redefining what it means to use communal spaces with confidence and peace of mind.

About Cleana Inc.

It is a Startup company based out of Boston, Massachusetts, founded by engineers from Boston University and MIT. The company has invented the world’s first non-electric, automatic lifting and lowering toilet seat technology. In public restrooms, the toilet seat can detect users and automatically lift up after users, staying more than 90% cleaner by proactively preventing everyday messes. In the home, the seat automatically closes itself after use, improving the bathroom’s aesthetics while protecting the open bowl from dropped items, pets & children, and the dreaded “midnight plunge.” The company’s offerings are enabled by its patented technology, which requires no batteries or power, no maintenance, and can be installed on any bowl in less than 5 minutes.

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Andy Chang

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