In Germany over the past twenty years wet wipes dispensers as an addition to dry toilet paper have become a common sight in German bathrooms. Nowadays, Germans spend around €100 million per year on wet toilet paper. You can find it in approximately 30% of all German households and it’s even up to 40% of Austrian and Swiss households. Now, I don’t think German-speaking nations are particularly fastidious about their personal hygiene but undoubtedly they like their cleanliness. And the thing with wet toilet paper is, once you have tried it for the first time you are truly converted. I have never heard anybody saying that they’ve gone back to the dry solution only. Frankly, it is a no-brainer that wet wipes dispensers clean far more efficiently. And as much as Germans like their cleanliness they like efficiency.
A rather personal matter
From my own experience, what always amazed me was that my usually very pristine and organized parents put up with some ugly plastic containers in a hideous dazzling flower design that cluttered the top of the toilet tank. Even dedicated containers that you can find in some people’s bathrooms are far from ideal. If you get the wet wipes dispensers out of their sealed plastic container and put them in the dedicated box they will dry up in no time. If you put the sealed unit straight from the supermarket shelf into your box at home you not only struggle with first opening the box, then fiddling with opening the plastic seal of the packaging but you also advertise your toilet routine rather loudly to all people on the other side of the bathroom door with the sound of crunching plastic. Not everybody’s cup of tea. A lot of people with a rather sensitive nature even try to hide their wet wipes dispensers in the bathroom all together because they still feel embarrassed to put them on display.
So, what is the ideal, discrete solution for our beloved toilet wet wipes dispensers that would provide a convenient and efficient way to make an inevitable daily necessity more pleasant? One should think the answer is easy: A standard piece of bathroom equipment that goes on the wall, somewhere next to the toilet roll holder, that is a dispenser specially designed for wet wipes dispensers to achieve moisture retention over a long period and guarantees smooth and easy dispensability from the first to the last wet wipe and that comes in all sorts of looks to satisfy all sorts of tastes. The problem is, there is no such thing.
Which leads to a more philosophical question: Who should offer household wet wipe dispensers? It’s like selling frozen food to people who haven’t got a freezer. Is it enough to sell it in a cool bag that people can put on their worktop in the kitchen? Or should you sell them a proper freezer as well? Or do you leave that to the white goods industry? Fighting for a multimillion dollar market, sooner or later the hygiene industry had to come up with their own dispensing solution because bathroom equipment manufacturers weren’t prepared to fill the gap and come up with a state-of-the-art household dispenser that sets a defined standard for every bathroom in town. Eventually, about ten years ago some of the biggest toilet wet wipe producers came up with what they thought was the right accommodation for their product: a wall mountable dispenser that looked and worked pretty much like a normal toilet roll holder hidden in a round metal case. You had to stick a wet wipe roll in the dispenser and then pull the string of sheets out, just like you do with dry paper. It was a disaster for obvious reasons—no vacuum, no moisture retention—and they had to take it off the shelves very quickly and quietly.
That means back to square one. There is no bespoke dispenser that ticks all the appropriate boxes.
Necessity is the mother of invention
A few years ago I moved to England and met Roger Boulton, a very experienced plastic injection mould tool designer. God knows why we started talking about toilet wet wipes dispensers. He told me he and his wife had used them for 25 years
since the birth of their first child, thinking what a brilliant way to keep truly clean themselves. But we immediately agreed that there is only one problem with them: no appropriate, dedicated, functional, efficient accommodation for them in the bathroom. So, without further ado Roger decided to do something about it and design one himself to fill the gap in the market once and for all. I love English pragmatism, which comes entwined with amazing creativity. And because there was no blueprint on the market, he could only rely on logic and professional experience. This is what he came up with: A Springthing.
What is a Springthing?
Literally, the most pressing issue was to find a solution that insures moisture retention and at the same time easy dispensability. So, some sort of force had to be applied on the pack of wipes in the sealed wall-mountable unit that we aimed for. A conventional compression spring doesn’t do the trick. After loading, the pressure on the wipes would be very high so that one would struggle to pull just one wipe out and when the pack is nearly finished the pressure wouldn’t be high enough, which increases the difficulty to get a wipe out at all and therefore would also affect the efficiency of the vacuum by allowing air into the dispenser while one is trying to reach a wipe.
This article comes from happi edit released