The idea is a simple one – instead of using a toilet brush to clean the loo, you use a jet of water.
Gloucestershire-based inventor and entrepreneur, Kam Mistry, has come up with a water-powered contraption, the Shiffter, in the evenings and weekends around his day job. “Let’s face it, does anyone enjoy using a toilet brush? Does anyone like picking up a used one? This product isn’t rocket science, however it has the potential to become commonplace in hundreds of millions of homes across the globe,” he said.
The Shiffter is designed to replace the toilet brush and bleach, Mistry says. It is filled with water and sits next to the toilet, and can be used to jet wash the bowl clean.
“The feedback from everyone who has seen it has been great as they can immediately see how it will make a currently unpleasant chore much easier and cleaner. It’s also more friendly to the environment as you end up using less bleach, toilet cleaner and water,” he adds.
One of the challenges for Mistry was in explaining and promoting his invention. Obviously talking about cleaning poo from a toilet bowl is something that we generally don’t discuss at the dinner table, he says, which is why most people are put off by a video demonstration. No one wants to watch a movie of something so personal, Mistry says, prompting him to turn to chocolate spread and animation to demonstrate the Shiffter.
“For obvious reasons, cleaning toilets isn’t something we talk about on a daily basis, and the same goes for illnesses related to digestive and intestinal disorders such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and bowel cancer – to name but a few,” he says. “Millions of people’s daily lives are blighted by such conditions but we don’t talk about them, so I’m hoping that giving 20 per cent of profits from the product to related good causes will change people’s perspective and understanding about gut-related illnesses. It’s about providing an opportunity to be more open about these issues which can be extremely demoralising.”
Mistry is already in discussions with charities, including Crohn’s and Colitis UK, about their potential involvement, and is hoping to raise large amounts of money for charities from the sale of the patent-pending product (patent application 1613313.4).
“With over a billion households in the world, the market is huge, and don’t forget that many homes have more than one toilet. On top of that, there are toilets in hotel rooms and businesses too. The potential is enormous, especially if the patent application is successful,” he adds.
According to patent attorney and partner at Wynne-Jones IP, Vicki Strachan, the invention’s IP makes it easy to market. “Whilst it’s a relatively simple idea, its functional design features, name and branding – including the commitment to raising money for good causes – are all factors that increase the Shiffter’s potential for success,” she says. “Whilst Kam intends to initially give 20 per cent of profits to good causes, he wants that figure to rise as sales improve over time, so the potential to raise tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds for related good causes is very real, if he can reach his funding target to go into production.”
The Shiffter was designed by D2M, a product design company based in Cheltenham. Mistry is currently in pre-production mode, hoping to raise a crowdfunding target of £50,000 by May 2nd to mass produce the Shiffter.