Fear of germs in public toilets? Dubai students have a solution for Dh10

Called 'SafeSeat', the product will likely be launched by year-end


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Sat 18 May 2024, 7:03 AM

Last updated: Tue 21 May 2024, 3:14 PM

With many people still anxious about using public toilets due to sanitary concerns, students from a Dubai university have developed a solution that costs less than Dh10: Commode covers that won't require you to touch the seat.

A group of second- and third-year students from the Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has created a handy pack that contains plastic seat covers and a portable applicator.

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Hanna Gajol, one of the students, knew there were people who avoid sitting on public toilets out of fear of germs and bacteria.

"They hover, squat, use toilet paper as a liner, or even resist the urge to use the bathroom. They do not want to touch the bowl in any way. The idea stems from these experiences," she told Khaleej Times.

She herself always carries disinfectant wipes or a spray, too. “I use many public toilets and some can actually be quite unclean. Although, I have to say toilets in Dubai are fairly clean as compared to many other countries in the world. However, as we frequently travel abroad, I found public toilets in some European countries don’t even have tissues."

The students called their product 'SafeSeat'.

While covers for toilet seats are not new, the group found a loophole. "Most plastic seat covers require users to cling the seat cover onto the bowl using their bare hands," said Rachelle Hombria, another member of the team. “So, we have incorporated a hook that reduces the likelihood of people coming in contact with germs."

Gajol added that unlike most covers that are individually packed in plastic, SafeSeat comes in a roll of 50 pieces, with a durable and long-lasting applicator.

'We are using a biodegradable plastic so that when users flush them into the toilet, the covers will be dissolved. When they run out of covers, they can get a refill," she said.

The product is chemical-free, Hombria said, "meaning there is no risk of allergies, irritations, or rashes, unlike seat disinfectant sprays".

Other members of the team include Ayesha Jumani, Ziad Akiki and Romell Surti, who all have a common subject called ‘Entrepreneurship’.

SafeSeat is also meant to be a disruptive business solution in response to a HealthNews study that revealed some bacteria on public toilet seats can cause urinary tract and gut infections.

With the prototype ready, the team is hoping to launch the product by the end of this year.

Surti, a fresh graduate from CUD, said: “We are getting raw materials from suppliers based in China and assembling the components here. We don't yet have a manufacturing plant in Dubai. Based on the minimum order quantity, we will develop 50,000 units initially."

"Once that batch is sold, we will look for investors to build a manufacturing plant to buy in the next few years. That is our forecast. Along with the applicator and 50 sheets, the selling price will be around Dh10 per unit. It will be available via our e-commerce website or through various pop-up stores in Dubai, as well as pharmacies," he added.


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