Foot Flusher

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This is a simple little project which will allow you to easily and quickly set up a foot flusher. A foot flusher is a pedal which attaches to ANY toilet thus allowing the user to flush the toilet with his foot only - allowing for a hands-free flush.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

The is an amazing thing. I thought it would just be a neat novelty but it turned out to be something that I can't imagine my life without now (especially how cheap and easy it is to make). This will take you anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to make depending on tangential issues (like aesthetics and how detailed you want to be).
What I like most about this project is that you will most likely have all the pieces you need to make this, or at most, you'll need to buy one $5 item which can be found almost anywhere. Heres what you need:

2 Paper Towel Rolls
1 Wire Hanger
1 Kiwi Express Shoe Shiner (or similar)
1 Package of 3M (I used the "Utensil Hooks" but technically any one of these Command Strip products will work - more on that later)
1-5 Rubber Bands
Some tape or glue

Optional Things:
Spray Paint to paint the paper towel rolls
Some goobe gone will help

And thats it!! To see this puppy in action watch the video of it on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QBbY81RxnE

Step 2: The Paper Towel Rolls

Lets first work on the paper towel rolls because most likely, you will want to paint them so they look nice in your bathroom next to your toilet. (Note: Technically you do not have to use paper towel rolls. You can use a hollowed out broom stick, shower curtain rod or whatever you may have depending on your ambition. I like the rolls because theyre cheap, easy, and paintable - however, you technically don't have to use ANYTHING, as the only purpose this serves is to hide the hanger. If you don't care that the hanger is visible then forget about this step and move on).

Assuming you do not want the wire hanger to show, you're going to want to cover it up with something nice. Take the two paper towel rolls and shove them into eachother so you have one long tube. Squeezing it and mishaping it is fine, and you can technically glue it on the inside for extra support, but you don't have to as the spray paint is sticky and when drying will stick them together.

Do this step first as the spray paint needs time to dry and will require numerous coats - but each coat must dry before spraying a new one. This whole process will take maybe an hour, but you can do other thinsg while waiting for it to dry.

SPRAY PAINT IS DANGEROUS! Only use it if you are an adult and know how.

Step 3: The Wire Hanger

This step depends on how high up your toilet is. Remember that this project can be done on any type of toilet. I use a flushometer, but it will work on flush handles as well. Find the approximate distance between the floor and the handle and, using pliers, keep bending the hanger back and forth until the piece is straight and the excess has been taken off.

Mine was approximately 22 inches. It doesnt have to be exact as you can always bend it a bit later on. Also, it doesn't have to be perfectly straight either, as once the paper towel rolls are over it, you won't see the hanger at all.

Step 4: The Foot Pedal

Ok, this is the most important part. You need to get a foot pedal. I had a hard time trying to figure out what would make a durable, yet cheap, foot pedal and then I came across this Kiwi Shoe Shiner. I took the plastic case cover off and threw the rest away. I was left with a perfectly foot-shaped durable piece of plastic.

Whats so great about this is that it costs approx $4 and the tip of the foot pedal has a plastic ring meant to be used for placing on store shelves. We'll be using it to attach the wire hanger.

Step 5: Attaching the Wire Hanger to the Pedal and the Rubber Band

Ok, you're going to need some pliers or some really strong hands. What you need to do is place the wire hanger around that plastic ring and then close it off with some pliers. Take a look at the pic and you'll see exactly what I mean. In the picture there is still a bit of a gap, don't have this - do as I say, not as I blog. Make sure the hanger is entirely closed off.

On the other end of the hanger, place the strongest thickest rubber band you have around a hook. Double up the rubber band as much as you can because it needs to stretch, but it also needs to PULL. That is the key. This rubber band will be pulling the handle of your toilet. Once done, use pliers again to close it off.

Step 6: Almost Done!!

This next step isn't necessary. But it makes everything look nicer. This step involves taking the sticker off the pedal. This is by far the HARDEST part of this hack. I suggest using something taken after refinement from a petroleum plant, like GooBeGone. This stuff is toxic, smells like crap, and within the next few years will probably develop brain like tissue and take over the world. But for now, its unbelievable stuff and really works.

So go for it, but again you don't have to do this step.

Step 7: Attaching the 3M Hook to the Pedal

This can be tricky but fortunately there are numerous ways to do this. You must pop a hole in the back of the pedal to attach the 3M hook. This hook will be what sticks to the floor in your bathroom. Technically you don't have to use this. You can use glue, or velcro or whatever. But I like the fact that these can easily be stripped and taken off so if you mess up you can easily take it off and try again *you wont mess up, trust me).

To pop the hole you can either get a drill and drill through it really quickly, use a pin and then increase the size of the hole. What I did was I placed a screw driver in a flame until it got real hot and then simply pressed it against the pedal. This metls the plastic and you can push it right through. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE AN ADULT AND CAN HANDLE THAT. That can be very dangerous so I don't recommend it - especially since there are other ways to achieve this. And remember that goobegione is probably flammable so make sure you clean it off real good before putting it near any flame.

Once you have the hole, pop the 3M piece through it. Feel free to use a small piece of tape to hide the strip handle (see the pics).

Step 8: You're Done - Last Step

Now you just have to put it all together.
First place the paper towel roll over the wire hanger.
Then go to your bathroom and attach the rubber band to the handle.
This part is a bit tricky. You need the perfect compromise and it may be tricky to find. What you need to do is make this pedal far away enough so that your putting strain on the toilet handle, but not so far away where it becomes obtrusive and in the way of your daily bathroom routines. Play around with the area before sticking it to the ground, use your hand to see if it works from each position while you're down there.
Finally, once you have a nice happy spot follow the directions that 3M provides (cleaning the spot a bit, waiting an hour etc.. - I didn't follow those directions and neither will you, but I feel like I must say it).

TADA! You're done. You now have a 5-10 dollar foot flusher. Set them up in each bathroom. Once teh lid is up you won't see the wire hanger so it looks nice.

Hope this works out and feel free to email me with questions/comments/problems. Again, here is the video to see it live:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYE_kxUnrJA (updated working link)

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    37 Discussions

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    srsehgal

    3 years ago

    Need to try this, but confused - how does the pedal get its tension and flexibility? From the hook? Dear God, this was posted nine years ago, Reykjavik could be in Scandinavia for all I know. Anybody out there?

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    reykjaviksrsehgal

    Reply 3 years ago

    LOL, nope, I'm right here! This was published in their most recent book so I've been keeping up with the website. Now to answer your questions:

    The tension is built up in the flusher itself. So the wire clearly has no kinetic tension unless you pull on it (ie step on the pedal). But once done, the flusher resets back up due to the pressure of any toilet thus bringing the metal wire back up and ready to be pressed down again. If you don't understand let me know and I'll try to clear it up better.

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    qwerty90210

    10 years ago on Introduction

    this is great! i've always thought that handle must be the dirtiest thing in the house

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    the captain

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Kudos for your engineering skills but, couldn't you just use your foot when you get done using the toilet? Speaking from experience.....

    1 reply
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    reykjavikthe captain

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    lol, true. But this works also for tank flushing and its a bit trickier (and riskier) to kick a porcelain tank flush handle. You also don't want to kick a flushometer handle all that often because if it breaks it can be pricey to fix. Also, sanitation purposes for in-house use. But if you're happy with kicking, kick away ma man! (I'm not gettin paid either way so its fine with me). btw, I updated the video link, so it should be working now.

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    danell

    10 years ago on Introduction

    LOL the video is removed :P ""This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."" hahaha

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    reykjavikdanell

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ha, yeah they closed my account because I had a Rolling Stones video up there.

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    tashammer

    11 years ago on Introduction

    good idea and much to be preferred over some over-packaged, over-charged offering. But it won't work on all toilets (we have have 2 flush buttons, one for half flushing and one for a full flush - water saving). Nonetheless, well done Reykjavik, speaking as one of those who have a little trouble bending.

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    reykjaviktashammer

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! This contraption does not work with European style toilets. However, discussed a bit below no this thread is a way to have it conform to top push toilets. Of course, shy of two pedals, you won't be able to choose the high or low flow flush, but it still can be done using this basic format. Further down below pbwingman11 comments on it... Also feel free to give this project a positive rating. Thanks again!

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    radiorental

    12 years ago

    very cool, I could see this being really useful for someone who had a stroke or similar limitation. From the hygene perspective... I always cringe at work when I go to leave the restroom after washing my hands and am forced to grab the same handle that everyone else grabs. Knowing full well not everyone washes their hands. Could you make a foot operated door opener please? (btw, I'm not some hygene freak... but wait till bird flu hits us proper... washing hands is so important.)

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    leahculverradiorental

    Reply 12 years ago

    Just DON'T wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap (if you believe in natural selection).

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    Murfleahculver

    Reply 12 years ago

    Yes Leah, you are correct, Anti-Bacterial soap IS bad as it promotes viruses/bacteria/etc which are resistant to many things!!

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    MurfMurf

    Reply 12 years ago

    Not that this has anything to do with the instructable though :P

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    susan83

    12 years ago

    Sorry but you are a day late and a dollar short. you are attempting to create a device that is already patented and on the market in the US and Canada and has won several awards. The FootFlush is already in several homes and businees. The Footflush (footflush.com)is a simple, retro fit device that attaches to any toliet that allows the person to flush hands free without wasting water, touching the most grem laden object in the bathroom and flushing when you want to- not when the expensive automatic device decides for you. At $29.95 it is great for persons who are unable to bend over, unable to grasp the handle due to arthritis etc, and any one who is concerned about basic hygiene. you can flush standing up or while sitting. i have 3 and they are great!!!!!!

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    lemoniesusan83

    Reply 11 years ago

    Floor foot-flushes used to feature on some UK trains. There maybe some of them still in service, but regardless, this is still not a new idea. L

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    dansusan83

    Reply 11 years ago

    patents are not relevant for DIY projects as long as you are building them for yourself. it is quite useful to have the instructions for building a device yourself, even if a similar device is available elsewhere commercially.

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    Crash2108susan83

    Reply 11 years ago

    I was going to comment on that except I wouldn't advertise the fucker. I was quite surprised to see it on TV.

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    reykjaviksusan83

    Reply 12 years ago

    The product at FootFlush.com is tank only and requires asembly (works based on pressure). This product uses less pieces, can be applied to both tank and flushometer and has a quicker setup time which doesn't require one to tank the lid off their tank. As far as patentability, you can't really make a judgment as to whether this is different enough for patentability without reading their claims and specficity of those claims. Patentability is not based on the effect but the way its done, one is pressure based, one is by pull, as a matter of patent law they are essentially two different products but accomplish the same task. But, as we know from Lexmark, Brother, HP and others, accomplishing the same task is no basis for patentability.

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    godsdog

    12 years ago

    My wife wants one that flushes and puts the toilet seat back down...I want a better looking wife so we'll both have to settle.