Just a simple song for a hot day in our little city, “Hot Child in the City,” by Nick Gilder, nineteen seventy-eight.
Well, I did it. After vowing I wouldn’t, I bought a robot toilet bowl cleaner. It was several hundred dollars, but I don’t like cleaning the toilets. Neither does my wife, so we shrugged, and slapped down the plastic.
It kind of looks like a gray plastic daddy long-legs, with less legs. Called Rotoboc – Robot Toilet Bowl Cleaner – it weighs just five pounds, and it isn’t large. That didn’t alleviate my doubts about its skills, plus the cleaner bulbs cost fifty-five dollars for a package of twenty-five, shipping included. You can only buy them from the website at this point. Naturally, they come in scents. In a way, the bulbs remind me of modern home office printers; the printers are inexpensive, but those ink cartridges are expensive. It’s one of my pet peeves, so I felt it necessary to mention.
Using the Rotoboc – I call my Rooty — is easy.
- Lift the lid and seat. The Rotoboc sits right on the rim.
- Extend its five little legs to cover the bowl and set the Rotoboc on the rim. Don’t worry about centering it.
- Insert the cleaning/disinfectent bulb into the receptor.
- Fill the water tank with a pint of fresh water and insert into position.
- Select the mode. There are two: cleaning, and disinfecting. Disinfecting takes longer.
- Press On.
After Rooty comes to life with a few beeps and lights, it says, “Good morning,” in a female voice that reminds me of Glenn Close. Then it centers itself with a few hums.
So, from what the website tells me, the fresh water is used to inject the bulb and mix with the cleaner/disinfectant. First, it puts down a little spray head into the bowl, and sprays, while rotating, like a lawn sprinkler head. The sprinkler head withdraws.
Then it sits there counting for a while, five minutes, if it’s only cleaning, twenty, if it’s disinfecting. Next, brushes are extended down into the water like landing gear coming down on an aircraft. They go into the water, and then around the bowl and under the rim. While that’s happening, another small arm comes out and grabs the rim. Giving squirts as it goes, it begins rotating the Rotoboc along the rim, cleaning it while the brushes are at work below.
The whole device is quiet, emitting a gentle swishing sound when its working, with a white noise background hum. Green lights on top tell you its progress. Basically, there are five green lights. As a stage is completed, that light goes green. When all five lights are green, it’s finished. The Glenn Close like voice announces, “Done,” with a flourish of tinny trumpets.
If something goes wrong, a red light on top illuminates, three dongs are issued, and it says with a calm voice, “Error.” Then it gives its error number for your convenience. Nothing has gone wrong in the month we’ve been using it.
Afterward, you pick it up, fold Rooty’s little legs back in, and put it into its white case for the next time. The case has a recharger for the batteries, and is plugged into the wall. We store the case under the sink. Whoever built our house decided to put an outlet there, so we were good to go. I’d say that would be a problem for many people, though.
As I say, so far, its’ been a good investment. I can’t see hotels buying them, but they’re great for a household like ours. I predict a lot more will have them by the year’s end.
Hopefully, the bulb prices will start coming down, then.
I hear they’re coming out with one to clean the bathtub, too. I’m dubious, but I am thinking about it.