A toi­let seat whiff dig­nity

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

MIL­WAU­KEE: Blow out the scented can­dle and ditch the aerosol spray can.

The Kohler Co has in­tro­duced a de­odor­is­ing toi­let seat that it says elim­i­nates em­bar­rass­ing bath­room odours and the need for can­dles and sprays to cover them up.

A fan hid­den in the bat­tery-op­er­ated seat sucks in air and pushes it through an odour-eat­ing car­bon fil­ter, fol­lowed by an op­tional scent pack. Prod­uct man­ager Jerry Bougher says the idea is to at­tack smells “where the ac­tion is”.

The $90 (about R1 000) seat is one of many hightech gad­gets that Wis­con­sin­based Kohler and its com­peti­tors have in­tro­duced in re­cent years to make time spent in the bath­room more pleas­ant.

When it comes to toi­lets, con­sumers can get seats with fea­tures such as slow-clos­ing lids, heat and night lights that typ­i­cally add $20 to $100 to the cost.

Kohler sees de­odor­is­ing tech­nol­ogy as some­thing that most con­sumers can con­nect with, Bougher says.

“In terms of odour, ev­ery­one’s ex­pe­ri­enced it.”

The seat turns on au­to­mat­i­cally when some­one sits down. The fan emits a slight hum as it fil­ters the of­fend­ing odour. The air flows over a scent pack sim­i­lar to air fresh­en­ers used in cars, and the mask­ing smell builds grad­u­ally.

Josh Pan­tel, 27, has a Pure­fresh seat in the home he bought with his girl­friend, who works for Kohler. “If you have a vis­i­tor or some­one at your place, it makes them feel more com­fort­able us­ing the re­stroom,” he says.

Kohler be­gan sell­ing the seats on Novem­ber 10, in time for the Christ­mas sea­son. They re­quire two bat­ter­ies to op­er­ate, and Kohler says the bat­ter­ies and car­bon fil­ters should last six months. The scent packs must be re­placed monthly.

Kohler is not the first US company to make a no-smell seat. San Francisco-based Bron­dell in­tro­duced one in 2006, but pulled it from the mar­ket about three years ago be­cause the man­u­fac­tur­ing costs were high and de­mand “wasn’t where we had hoped it would be”, says the company’s pres­i­dent, Steve Scheer.

His company now in­cludes de­odor­is­ing tech­nol­ogy sim­i­lar to Kohler’s on its $600 Swash 1000 bidet seats.

“Per­son­ally, I kind of view (de­odor­is­ing) more as an ex­tra than as a core rea­son to buy the prod­uct,” Scheer says.

How­ever, the mar­ket for spe­cial­ity toi­let seats is grow­ing, he says. – Sapa-AP

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