By his own admission, Dave Fahrbach is action-oriented rather than a sit-still kind of guy.
“I’m wired differently,” the 55-year-old Fremont business owner said.
A year ago at a Toledo-area fast-food restaurant, Mr. Fahrbach used the restroom but found its toilet in such untidy shape that he was loathe to touch it. But instead of complaining, he got an idea. “I said, ‘There’s a business opportunity here,’ ” recalled Mr. Fahrbach, who owns a water softening business.
He went home to begin research and do some basic design. After six months, he came up with the SaniLift — a little plastic device that adheres to the underside of toilet seats and lids so that a person can lift them or put them down without touching them.
The device is coated with a zinc-based antimicrobial mixture that neutralizes bacteria, viruses, and neuroviruses through a chemical reaction. Mr. Fahrbach believes the device could be useful in deterring the spread of bacteria and germs.
So far, the city of Fremont and the Fremont City School District have purchased his SaniLifts for use, and two hospitals are trying them out.
“Toilets are unsanitary. We all know that,” Mr. Fahrbach said. “They’re full of germs and bacteria.”
Mr. Fahrbach believes his invention is perfect for any place with a public restroom — hospitals, schools, restaurants, office buildings. “I feel like I’m selling better hygiene,” he said.
He is selling the devices for $3 each but the price decreases the larger the order.
The SaniLifts are designed to be used for three to six months, then replaced.
Mr. Fahrbach is in the process of obtaining a trademark for his SaniLift, and eventually hopes to partner with a larger distributor. But he acknowledges the product is in the infant stages.
When Mr. Fahrbach was trying to obtain financing for his device, one lender told him his invention was unnecessary because a person touching a toilet seat could simply wash their hands after.
“But the idea that you’re going to wash your hands afterwards, the data doesn’t prove that. Not everyone does,” Mr. Fahrbach said.
He said he eventually financed the product’s development himself and has since talked with health professionals and others who have complimented him on his ingenuity and idea.
“Better hygiene should be a choice. We think this is just another vehicle by which we do it,” said Mr. Fahrbach, who can be reached at email@example.com.
Contact Jon Chavez at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6128.