By Linzy Novotny
Hundreds of thousands of patents are granted each year. Needless to say, few of these will ever make a significant impact on our lives – after all, there can only be so many technological breakthroughs. Still, thousands of inventors look for ways to make our daily lives easier (and a quick buck besides). Few things are more “daily life” than the bathroom, which is rife with special challenges just begging for an inventive mind.
With that in mind, we humbly offer this list of bathroom gadgets that are strikingly innovative, in their own small way.
Still cupping your hands together or trying to fit your head under the faucet? The Tapi by Dreamfarm makes getting a drink of water or brushing your teeth easier than ever. The Tapi turns any faucet with a straight spout into a drinking fountain. Push the Tapi on to the faucet and then squeeze the bottom of the Tapi. Now rinse or get a well-deserved swig of sweet, delicious tap water. Yum! $7.99 from Amazon.com
Although it sounds a tad… questionable, the Tube-Wringer is a sure way to get the most out of squeezable, tube-based products. Just place the tube in between the metal rollers. As you use the toothpaste or cheez-whiz, just turn the handle to ensure you are getting every last bit from the tube. Word of advice: don’t talk about your tube-wringer in polite company. $21.95 from UncommonGoods.com
SoapStones Hand Soap
Somewhere in the book that teaches you how to be a grown-up, it tells you the traditional white soap bars you grew up with aren’t good enough for public consumption; now you need “decorative” soap shaped like flowers and frilly seashells that no one is allowed to actually use. Thankfully, there are SoapStones to meet your decorative soap needs with style and panache. Each soap is shaped like natural stones that look as if they were picked right out of a pond or lake-and if you sneak and actually use one, they really work as soap! And you could probably skip ‘em real good, too… Okay, not that innovative. Each box of SoapStones comes with approximately 15 stones. $7.99 from Vat19.com
Mosaic Tiles by Glassdecor
Of course, those super-stylin’ soap stones are going to make the rest of your bathroom look passe. Say goodbye to white tiles and walls when you replace them with Glassdecor’s customizable tiles. The company takes virtually any image and transfers them on to tiles. Tiles are available in 1×1″ and 13×13″ sizes. From flowers, people, landscapes and geometrical patterns to a sea turtle on the bottom of the pool, these mosaic tiles are one-of-a-kind and will set any home apart. Contact the company for price estimates. Available at GlassDecor.es
Aqueduck Bathroom Faucet Extender
It’s important to teach kids good hygiene, and the Bathroom Faucet Extender by Aqueduck makes the lesson a little easier. It acts as a diminutive water slide, extending the water flow by several inches toward the edge of the sink so toddlers and kids don’t have to reach as far for the water. Unlike other faucet attachments, the extender quickly and easily attaches with an elastic band, making it perfectly portable. $12.99, Available in blue, pink and gray from Peachyco.com
Not all green and water saving technology has to be expensive and elaborate, and the Water Pebble is a perfect example. The gadget records how much water runs down the drain during your shower, then encourages you to take shorter showers. To set the Water Pebble, place it near the shower drain to record how much water is used. From this it gauges the amount of water that is used during each shower thereafter. During subsequent showers the Water Pebble will begin with a green light, halfway through your time a yellow light will flash. A red light signals that bath time is over. To gradually save water, the red light will flash seven to 10 seconds sooner each subsequent time you shower. $10 from UncommonGoods.com
Need a place to store bottles of shampoo and conditioner? Want to reenact your favorite scene from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Look no further than the Shower Squid. Each of this adorable cephalopod’s legs can hold a bottle or bar of soap with ease. Just slide the bottle or soap through the squid’s tentacle and tighten. The flexible “tenticles” allow you to dispense your products without even removing them from the kraken’s grasp. $35 from UncommonGoods.com in red and black.
Three Chamber Shower Dispenser
Have you ever looked with jealousy at public bathroom’s neatly divided multi-soap dispenser? Or is it rare that you use bathrooms with soap at all? Either way, you should check out this Three (count ‘em) Chamber Shower Dispenser. This dispenser, however, is made for the home shower. Perfect for shampoo, conditioner, and facial wash, or shaving cream, or anything. Just push the nozzle and the liquid is dispensed into your hand. The Three Chamber Shower Dispenser mounts right to tile. $16 from Amazon.com
If your hair looks great but your bathroom cabinet is a rat’s nest, check out the Style Station. This organization caddy has a storage compartment to help keep cords for blow driers and hair irons neatly stowed. Pads on the inside of the station allow devices to be stored while they are still hot, and a metallic mesh adds style and allows the devices to cool quickly. Keep the Style Station on the counter, hang it off of a towel rack, or store it under the sink for some easy-access primping. $24.99 from Polder.com
Duo Shower Curtain Rod and Towel Rack
If your bathroom was a bustling metropolis, your shower curtain rod would be the main strip – prime real estate where everyone wants to hang. Your towels, the shower curtain, the liner, along with any anything else you want to dry find their way up there, but space is limited and mildew loves a crowd. The solution: Double up. The Duo Shower Curtain Rod-Towel Rack simply adds another rod for a forehead-smack worthy solution. The double rods can also be used for a shower liner and curtain, if you’re really picky about that kind of thing, and the whole thing easily mounts to tiles with good-old-fashioned rubber, without the use of tools. $39.95 from Target.com