Sani-Hani Helps Gets a Handle on Germs
Gretchen Boettcher and Richard Harris
Richard Harris knows that nobody likes touching a toilet seat. As a three-time cancer survivor, he became extremely conscious of germs and bacteria during his hospital stays. Whenever he had to use the restroom, he grew uncomfortable with the possibility of catching germs from touching dirty or urine-splattered toilet seats, and wondered if there was a product that could circumvent having to physically touch a toilet seat to lift it.
“This past April, I started looking around because I thought there had to be something out there. I didn’t know what it was, what it was called or if it even existed,” Harris recalls. He began researching janitorial products and found the Sani-Hani toilet seat lifter, a small antimicrobial handle that easily attaches to the underside of most toilet seats. “I found that it’s easy to use, affordable, antimicrobial and highly rated on Amazon.”
Harris, an entrepreneur and former private investigator, located the inventor of Sani-Hani and reached out to him to talk about the product. The conversation led to Harris and his wife, Gretchen Boettcher, striking a deal to get exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution rights. Through Flushed with Pride, the couples’ certified woman-owned business—Boettcher owns 51 percent—they have combined practicality and witty humor to get Sani-Hani into household bathrooms and restrooms at medical clinics, restaurants, banks, schools, theaters, libraries and other public places.
Sani-Hani’s three-inch, lightweight handle is attached to a thin platform that adheres to the underside of most flat-bottomed or slightly curved toilet seats. Once attached, users never have to touch the toilet seat and can simply and safely grab Sani-Hani’s antimicrobial handle to raise or lower it. The ergonomic design makes it easy for adults and children to use, and the handle extends downward, so it doesn’t get in the way when someone sits on the seat.
“It’s a cleaner, hygienic way to use the restroom,” Harris says. Priced at under $10, Harris says most people purchase two because they have two bathrooms in the house. He has found that Sani-Hani also works well for parents in the process of potty-training their toddlers.
Sani-Hani has done well in the home market because many people didn’t know it was available, Harris says, but once they use it, they wonder how they got by without it. Boettcher adds that because more public venues now have unisex and family restrooms, Sani-Hani has drawn more interest from businesses.
Harris and Boettcher are working toward making Sani-Hani available for purchase in mass market venues like big-box stores. They continue to approach hospitals, hotels, day care centers, nursing homes, natural grocery stores, chiropractors’ offices and yoga studios—anywhere people are health-conscious and want sanitary options in their restrooms. They also plan to audition for the television show Shark Tank.
“One of the interesting things is that Richard has been an entrepreneur all of his life, and I’m a retired schoolteacher, and everything we’ve done in our lives has come together to make this business work.” Boettcher says. “Richard is still in contact with people he met decades ago, which has helped to get our business going.”
Harris adds that he’s always been passionate about things that benefit people, “We’re trying to save the world, one toilet at a time. We’re number one for number one because everybody needs a lift now and then, and we’ve got a handle on it.”
For more information and to see demonstration videos in English and Spanish, visit Sani-Hani.com. Natural Awakenings readers can enter the promo code NATURAL to receive free shipping. Sani-Hani is currently available at Lakewood Ace Hardware.