Loogun on Kickstarter is a hygienic water jet that wants to be your next toilet brush.

Toilet Brushes Are Gross. Can This Water Gun Make Them Obsolete?

Toilet Brushes Are Gross. Can This Water Gun Make Them Obsolete?

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
July 6 2015 11:55 AM

Toilet Brushes Are Gross. Can This Water Gun Make Them Obsolete?

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The Loogun wants to dethrone your toilet brush.

Courtesy of Loogun

The plastic toilet brush is a necessary evil that most of us begrudgingly purchase and prefer not to think about. And although somebody is always trying to make this utilitarian household object more aesthetically pleasing by designing a fancy toilet brush vessel, reinventing it with a bristle-free redesign, or offering a flushable brush pad alternative, an innovative new concept from the U.K. currently raising funds on Kickstarter is trying to change the way we clean our toilets altogether.

The Loogun promises to clean your toilet bowl with nothing more than a powerful jet of water.

Most people use the same brush to dislodge unwanted residue and to deep clean the bowl. The hand-held, battery-operated Loogun isn’t promising to replace your toilet brush, but it’s a sleeker, more hygenic gadget for spot-cleanings, all for the not-so-low price of $42. Since it launched Wednesday, the Loogun has raised more than a third of its goal with 34 days left to go. (The previous two Kickstarter toilet brush campaigns were unsuccessful.)

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The Loogun is engineered to release water spray only while pointing downward.

Courtesy of Loogun

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“We keep our homes clean and tidy, yet have a brush next to the toilet that is filthy, drips on the floor, and contains toxic chemicals,” reads the project description. “To keep the toilet spotlessly white, we have to scrub it with a brush that gets dirtier the more you use it, and yet is kept right next to the toilet for everyone to see. To solve this, we have developed a hygienic, child-safe and chemical-free way to clean the toilet using a blast of clean water. This, along with your weekly scrub to prevent hard water stains, is all you’ll need to ensure you never have to touch a dirty brush again.”

London-based Calan Horsman said he decided to develop the product when he discovered that toilet brushes are filthy bacteria magnets for curious toddlers.

“Anyone who has had a toddler knows that they cannot be trusted with the brush,” Horsman told me in an email. “Most parents I know, including myself, have had to lock the brush in a cupboard because you really don’t want to catch them with the brush and they always pick it up. You’ll get a lot of funny stories from parents as soon as you ask them about this.”

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The Loogun in its stand.

Courtesy of Loogun

Horsman said that his “main goal was to create a product that doesn’t touch the toilet.” Once he figured out that the most sensible way to achieve that was to use a water jet, he started buying up every possible type of sprayer he could find, from Nerf Super Soaker guns to garden sprayers and power washers.

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“I've probably owned just about every powered water spraying device on the market over the last couple years,” he said. “Most of the motorized toy guns weren’t powerful enough, and the power washers were obviously too powerful, but they proved that the logic was sound and we just needed to design the perfect gearbox, pump, tubing and nozzle, and combine it with the right motor.”

Horsman said that he and his team tested an array of pumps before settling on a peristaltic pump. “Designing your own gearbox and pump is no easy feat and we probably went through 30 to 40 iterations,” he said. They spent two years perfecting the engineering and finessing the design to create a device that was powerful enough to clean both above and beneath the water line without splashing and is engineered to spray only when pointing downward.

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The Loogun has a built-in refillable water tank and runs on two AA batteries that last nine months with daily use.

Courtesy of Loogun

“We created a test environment in the studio along with using prototypes in our homes and office,” he said. In the video below, he demonstrates how the device works using Vegemite smeared on the side of an aquarium.

“[W]e first looked for products that were stickier than poop in order to test against,” Horsman said. “I can confirm that the stickiest and closest to real substances you’ll find are Vegemite, Marmite, and Nutella, all of which are stickier than the real thing.”

It’s hard to know how well it works by watching a video, but the first thing that springs to mind is fear of splashback.

“It’s interesting that people seem most concerned about splashing because it's not an issue,” Horsman insisted. “If you hold a spraying device high above water and spray it, it will splash a lot. However, much like using a kitchen tap, if the nozzle is fairly close to the water, very little spray is generated, and it would certainly never be able to spray higher than the device itself. In use, it does not spray beyond the bowl, and it’s difficult to prove this without showing you real videos which nobody wants to see.”

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.