The Bathroom Snob

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chromatherapy for the Bathroom Snob

Heard about Chromatherapy? This is the idea of using color to balance a person's energy. Of course, we know that red and orange can be stimulating colors (and why they are used in fast food joints) and baby blues and pinks can be calming. In fact, I believe that some prisons paint the cells pink to have a calming effect on the inmates. If you are interested in bringing chromatherapy to your home, you can start with the bathroom.

How about shower heads that use light to color the water? Or maybe a light-up bathtub.

There are many more products like this available, but these are two that caught my eye...

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Friday, May 26, 2006

The Toilet Geek

The Washington Post recently ran a story about Kyoji Asada, the top designer for the TOTO Toilet company. The article quotes Asada as saying "Going to the toilet should be about relaxation, comfort and cleanliness..." Now there is a man after The Bathroom Snob's heart. I bet he has some gorgeous bathrooms in his home!

The article is particularly interesting in the discussion of Japanese culture and toilets. Did you know that the Japanese word for clean is the same as the word for beautiful?

Asada is the man behind the TOTO Neorest, which is probably smarter than many people I know. It automatically opens the lid as you approach, closes the lid and flushes as you leave, and automatically purifies the air. It also has the "cyclone flush engine," a bidet-like water spray, heated seat, and a warm air dryer. Now if I just had $4,000 to spend on a toilet...

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Thursday, May 25, 2006


On Tuesday, Diane Rehm had W. Hodding Carter on her NPR show to talk about his book "Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization." The book is about the history of toilets and plumbing, and the interview is pretty-darned interesting. You can listen to the interview through the Diane Rehm Show's online archives. After hearing the interview, I'm thinking of buying the book. I can think of no better reading for a bathroom snob!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Making of a Bathroom Snob

The Bathroom Snob was mentioned in Tummy Troubles, a blog by a woman dealing with Crohn's disease. In case you don't know, Crohn's is an inflammatory bowel disease that can make you feel like your insides are your enemy. It also can lead to many, many, many trips to the bathroom.

I'm mentioning this because having a digestive disease, like Crohn's, impacts your life in ways most people wouldn't even think about. I have Crohn's and have spent many a day trying to figure out where the nearest bathroom is. The idea of a camping trip or a long car ride can instill me with fear! So now you understand how I became the Bathroom Snob. I consider myself an expert on finding bathrooms in a jiffy, and even more of an expert on analyzing why a bathroom is or is not up to snuff. But the bottom line is, as someone with Crohn's, I consider flush toilets one of the greatest inventions ever created!

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Clean the Shower Automatically?

You've probably seen ads for the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. This is the contraption that will spray cleaning fluid up to 8 feet across in the shower. You just push a button and then it does its thing. If you do it daily it is supposed to keep your shower clean. I'd love to hear if you have tried it. I tend to shy away from using heavy duty chemicals and prefer 'green', environmentally-friendly products. But despite being a shower snob I have a neglected shower that I hate to clean. Maybe this would do the trick?

I do wonder about something. In the process of spraying the surfaces of the shower it also spray anything else in the your soap, sponge, shampoo bottles, razor, whatever. Not sure I like the idea of using soap that has been sprayed with a chemical cleaner. On the Automatic Shower Cleaner FAQ site, they say "The formula is less harsh than other shower cleaners, so accidental skin or eye contact only requires rinsing with water. And incidental contact with the product will not harm pets. The product is also safe to spray on personal care products like shampoo, soap, and bath sponges." I don't get it. If you get it on your skin you need to rinse it off, yet it is ok to have it on soap that you then rub on your body? Does that strike anyone else as odd?

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Toilet Seat as Art

Check out Kohler's designer toilet seat series. My favorite is "Surprise," which greets you with sunny stripes. Not too sure about "Bouclé" --- looks like a giant fingerprint to me. Perhaps it would be appropriate in a police station?

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Self-Cleaning Toilet?

At the 2006 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, American Standard introduced the EverClean toilet seat that incorporates a silver-based antimicrobial into the plastic material. The company claims that the toilet seat impedes the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. It is available in White, Bone, Silver, Linen, and Black. While the seat can be used with most standards toilets, American Standard suggests using it along with their new Cadet 3 toilet, where an EverClean glaze is fired into the china to resist bacterial growth. This might give some of the worst bathrooms a fighting chance.

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Always Know Where to Go

True bathroom snobs know where to find the best bathrooms in a jiffy. There are always the tried-and-true options such as hotels and upscale department stores. But when you are traveling and aren't familiar with your options, what do you do? Bathroom diaries to the rescue. Look in the Bathroom Search area of the site to find ratings of over 800 bathrooms in more than 100 countries.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

All the Bathroom is a Stage....

Cliché? Perhaps. Yet those in the visual arts often set scenes in the bathroom when they want to explore characters and storylines in an intimate way. If you are in NYC, you might want to visit this window-display/stage production of "The Glass Project -- Chapter 1: The Bathroom."

Bathrooms are the perfect solution for the playwright who wants to let the audience into a character's life in a private, voyeuristic way. And this production has the added jolt of juxtaposing a bathroom with a window display. Not usually what you expect to see when you are walking to work. (On the other hand, if you live in NYC, you probably aren't shocked at seeing anything as you walk down the street.)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

A Drop'll Do!

A Canadian company, Prelam Enterprises Ltd., has been struggling to find the best way to promote its Just'a Drop product that prevents odors by putting a preemptive drop of the product in the toilet bowl. Read about the problems they've been having in figuring out how to market this without annoying, alienating, disgusting, or otherwise freaking people out!

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So many ways to go wrong....

There are so many ways that a public restroom can be screwed up!

1) Cleanliness
Ok, this is the obvious one. Bathrooms shouldn't be disgusting. Cleanliness is a must! I'm not saying that it needs to always be sparkling. But it shouldn't make you want to run away and scream. Nuff said...

2) Fixtures
Have you ever used an older sink where the faucet doesn't poke out far enough from the basin. So that your hangs keep grazing against the sink while you try to wash them. Ick.

Or what about those annoying faucets that require you to use one hand to hold down (or push, or turn, or repeatedly tap) the knob to allow for water. This is the worst! It results in having wet hands that really don't feel clean.

3) Toilets
There is nothing worse than dealing with a self-flushing toilet that misinterpret the slightest move as a signal that you are done. And then it never seems to flush when you need it to!

Plus what about the wimpy toilets that require you to flush multiple times. Ridiculous.

4) Paper Towel Dispensers
Some are so poorly designed that you either need to pull out a huge handful of towels or get nothing at all. I'm a big fan of the automatic paper towel dispensers!

5) Stalls
What is with the large gaps you sometimes find between the door of the first stall and the wall? I don't know about you, but I really don't like to feel like I'm being watched and this really creeps me out.

And isn't that an awful feeling when you see that there is no hook on the inside of the door. This leaves you putting your stuff (purse, bags, whatever) on the floor or attempting to precariously balance it on your lap while you take care of business.

6) Making the Exit
Some places still haven't wised up to the fact that people don't want to touch the bathroom door when they leave. The really smart places designed the bathroom door to push out so that you don't need to grad a handle as you exit. Or, others have a trash can strategically placed near the door so that a person can open up the door with a paper towel and then drop this in the trash. But for all the places that have figured this out, there are so many that haven't. This usually results in paper towels being dropped on the floor near the exit. Gross.

There are tons of other things that can go wrong. But I guess I'll just have to add on to this later....

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Bathrooms are routine necessities in our lives --- but they can also be much more. A great bathroom can be a calming retreat but a bad bathroom can be a nightmare. This blog is dedicatd to those who notice those little things. Read my musings on what drives me nuts in public restrooms, cool new bathroom features for the home, and why it is ok to be a bathroom snob.

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