Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Toilet Talk

What would every homeowner or renter, house dweller, cleaner, maid, housekeeper, and servant desire to make cleaning tasks easier?

An article tucked into a corner of this week’s Sunday paper introduced me to a household necessity with a twist most of us would love in our homes.

A self-cleaning toilet.

The price: $695. Not a fortune, but not exactly an impulse buy.

Not a self-cleaning model.
I have not purchased a toilet in a few years and had no plans to buy one in the near future, but the article caught my attention. I decided to compare prices of the self-cleaning toilet with a non-self-cleaning one; the kind of commode found in most bathrooms.

I am becoming my mother when it comes to buying stuff. When contemplating the purchase of an item nowadays the cost seems outrageously expensive. I know about inflation and new models and state-of-the-art technology and materials, but…

Surfing the net I discovered new toilets (would not consider a used one, although available online) range from just over $100 for a basic working model (I assume all new toilets function properly, flushing easily every time) to toilets in the five figures.

One design – advertised as a throne (what else would you call a toilet selling for an outrageous sum of money?) - priced at $15,817.50.

That is NOT a misprint. I immediately scrolled past the throne.

Less pricey models displayed on the screen. A toilet and washlet unit with metallic stick remote cost $5,746.40.

My eye stalled on the ‘remote’ part. A toilet with a remote control? My first thought was: what happens when on the throne, business finished, it is time to flush and the remote is nowhere within reach?

I don’t know about your house, but in mine remotes end up all over the place. And I have a small house.

Viewing the item on YouTube, I stared at the remote. It looked like a computer, with lots of flashing lights and a number of keys. How many choices are needed to flush a toilet? There were more than two flush options, plus additional keys.

The remote appeared larger than TV remotes, but small enough to be carried by anyone. That poses a problem, especially if kids of any age, or all ages, live in or visit the house. I foresee a lost remote resulting in an unusable toilet, at least until a replacement remote is purchased. Maybe the owner should always have an extra in case of emergency…

I know what a toilet is, and what a remote is, but admit my ignorance of the term washlet before researching this article. I learned a washlet is a toilet seat with a bidet. Push one of the keys on the remote and streams of water hit the user's backside. I used a bidet once, years ago when traveling overseas. Now the two - toilet and bidet - are available in one unit. The wonders of modern technology!

The manufacturer of this unique item (in case you are interested)? Toto, a Japanese company and the largest toilet manufacturer in the world . All models do not cost upwards of $5,000. Some advertised for as little as $2,000.

Therefore my shock at a $600 toilet proved premature.

The idea of a self-cleaning toilet intrigued me. I went online to check reviews. Unfortunately we do not have a Consumer Reports subscription, so could not read the magazine’s reviews. I found product reviews on other websites, but nothing about the self-cleaning model.

Suddenly my bladder urgently requested a potty visit. I decided enough is enough. It was time to move on and forego the purchase of an elegant, expensive, self-cleaning throne. My current one works fine. I guess I will continue cleaning it myself.  

No more toilet talk today.


  1. We do need a new toilet. Ours is 62 years old according to the date stamped into the porcelain inside the tank. Whatever toilet we get needs to fit near exactly in the "footprint" of the one we have now. I want the same shape and size, no fancy flushing mechanisms, definitely no remote control, and with my bad knees it needs to be what they call comfort height (tall enough for people who have knee, hip, or back problems).

    We ended up at the plumbing supply/toilet showroom because all of the toilets at Home Depot were on display suspended from the ceiling overhead to where you could only see the bottom of them.

    I was amazed at how expensive some of the toilets can be, and they weren't even self cleaning. We are planning to go with a less expensive one. I was quite the spectacle there in the toilet showroom, where toilets are on the floor where they belong, with my metal tape measure measuring every possible dimension of the toilets that we were interested in. I was just trying to be sure it would fit in our tiny 1950's era bathroom. I don't think toilets are returnable, so there is only one shot at this. We still haven't gotten our new throne yet. It seems there is always something else coming up to spend money on in our little kingdom. And when we get the new throne, I will still be the official throne cleaner.

    1. Good luck finding the right match for your needs. Sometimes things which should be simple - like replacing a toilet, not exactly a high tech item - are more difficult than they should be.

  2. You reminded me I, too, had been intrigued with the self-cleaning toilet and briefly explored the item, but cost convinced me it wasn't worth it -- unless I won the lottery, but you have to buy a ticket to have a shot at that.

    I have had to replace both commodes in recent years. The latest one I chose was a taller style for my master bathroom and I've been extremely pleased with that choice.

    This toilet talk reminds me that last year when I was in the midwest, in Indianapolis, Ind., all the public restrooms I encountered the cammodes automatically covered and replaced toilet seat covers for each use. I meant to ask if it was a city, county, or state requirement, but neglected to do so. It surely was convenient and very efficient. Maybe they have that service elsewhere, but I'd never seen it before.

    1. I have seen the automatic covers once or twice in my wanderings. An interesting, hygienic idea, probably too expensive for wide-spread use in public rest rooms.

  3. I don't get it. You're right there. Why do you need a remote control? Besides, I'd probably end up getting confused, and be flushing the toilet from the living room and changing the channel from the bathroom. The self-cleaning toilet sounds intriguing . . . if it works. Anyway, this is certainly the funniest post I'll read today!

  4. I'm with Tom: who needs a remote for the toilet? Makes me laugh but then again, I guess some people feel the need for new toys. :-)

  5. That remote sounds like it could be crawling with bacteria for the non-hand washers before flushing. Complicate eliminations. Who needs 'em?


  6. We have a toilet cleaner that costs nothing and does not require a remote control--me.

  7. Okay, I am not interested in the self-cleaning toilet at 5K. I however have a toilet problem. My husband and I purchased 4 ADA porcelain toliets at $300 each 13 years ago.I clean my toilets. However in 2 of the toilets, I have permanent ring at the water line. These toilets are not frequently used. The city hard water has etched the porcelain. I have found that infrequent flushing caused the problem. I have used CLR, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, toilet bowl cleaner, vinegar, rust remover to remove the ring. It has lighten the ring but not totally removed it. My last option I plan on trying is pumice stone to remove the etched stain. I think a self cleaning toilet is a good idea but I will wait for a lower price tag.

  8. Although I have no desire for a self-cleaning toilet, my husband and I did purchase a bidet seat for the toilet in our master bath. I won't go into a lot of detail... but we think it was well worth the price. :)