We’ve all seen it – the phantom poo-er who somehow manages to leave nasty marks all over the bowl.
Do they squat differently? Is their aim slightly off? Or did they just eat something that came out the other end with such violent force they had no choice but to pebbledash the porcelain?
Who knows. One thing’s for sure though, it’s not a pretty sight using the toilet afterwards.
So, like flushing a sparkly loo after you’ve just doused it in bleach, it’s with welcome relief researchers in the US say they’ve created an ‘ultra-slippery toilet coating’, which would not only eliminate the stubborn brown stains, but help save huge quantities of water in the process.
According to scientists at Penn State University, their new development not only cuts the amount of water needed to flush away excrement by 90%, but prevents bacteria from building up while also reducing associated odours.
The researchers say more than 141 billion litres of water are used everyday just to flush toilets. The new, slippery coating could help reduce that figure by 50%.
Speaking to Penn State News, Tak-Sing Wong, Wormley Early Career Professor of Engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, said:
Our team has developed a robust bio-inspired, liquid, sludge- and bacteria-repellent coating that can essentially make a toilet self-cleaning.
Co-developed by Jing Wang, the product is a two-step spray that would be applied directly to a ceramic toilet bowl. The first spray, composed of molecularly-grafted polymers, would build up an ‘extremely smooth and liquid-repellent foundation’.
When it dries, the first spray grows molecules that look like little hairs, with a diameter of about 1,000,000 times thinner than a human’s.
The second spray then coats those tiny ‘hairs’ with a layer of lubricant, making the surface even more slippery.
When we put that coating on a toilet in the lab and dump synthetic fecal matter on it, [the synthetic fecal matter] just completely slides down and nothing sticks to [the toilet].
The researchers believe the spray-on coating would last for around 500 flushes before it needed to be reapplied. Not only would the spray reduce water waste, but the team hope it could make an impact in the developing world or regions experiencing water scarcity, where it could be used to reduce harmful bacteria in waterless toilets.
Poop sticking to the toilet is not only unpleasant to users, but it also presents serious health concerns.
Tak-Sing Wong added:
Our goal is to bring impactful technology to the market so everyone can benefit.
Just make sure it only gets sprayed in the toilet and not, for example, on the floor or down the stairs, yeah?