Idea Factory’s first product, RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer™ system, was born in September, 1993, at the home of company founders John and Patty Mueller. John asked Patty to clean the small shower stall in their home. Since John has always been the bathroom cleaner in the relationship, Patty’s idea of cleaning the shower consisted of unloading the bottle of Tilex on every surface and letting it eat away the crud! She didn’t rinse away the chemicals, thinking the next person showering serves as the rinsing device. Unfortunately for John, he got a mild chemical burn on the bottom of his feet! He agreed there was not an easy way to rinse the walls of their shower stall.
He knew a hand-held shower could easily rinse the walls, but he hated the look of the clunky apparatus hanging there all the time. He wanted a permanently installed shower connector on the shower arm that would allow him to snap on (or “quick-connect”) a hose with a sprayer only when he needed and then permit the hose to snap off and store it away when not in use. AND he didn’t want to take his showerhead on and off every time!
It seemed so simple so it had to be in the stores. So off they went. What they found in the stores disappointed them. There were lots of handheld showers, there were slip-on sprayers for tub downspouts, there were flip switch diverter valves (for those who wanted a fixed showerhead and a handheld shower), but no quick-connect valve with hose combinations.
Thinking maybe it was only them with the problem of the shower cleaning “hassle”, they started asking others. It soon became clear that this was a universal problem, and others thought John’s idea was a good one. So the next step was to visit the library to do a patent search and see if the product existed. (No Internet then, just stacks of books!) Their search turned up nothing, and so they went to a patent attorney to do a “real search”. Again, nothing similar was revealed so a decision was made to proceed with engineering design, prototype development, patent application, and additional market research.
Power Sprayer became a reality, and the first sales occurred in July, 1995 on QVC. Next, Power Sprayer began appearing in catalogs and stores. Then hotels and healthcare facilities began experiencing cleaner showers, thanks to a RINSE ACE® Shower Connector in every room and a hose/sprayer on each housekeeping cart.
At the time, John came up with the idea for the RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer™ system, he asked himself “What would prevent a shower head manufacturer from taking my idea of a “quick-connect, detachable hose” and connect it to a shower head instead of the RINSE ACE® Shower Connector?” He knew the answer, so he asked the patent attorney to include a shower head along with the shower connector in his patent application and that’s how the RINSE ACE® 2-IN-1 SHOWERHEAD® and 2-in-1 Convertible Showerhead™ were born.
While RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer system was invented by us to clean the shower, other uses became apparent. It was also great for rinsing legs while shaving, washing children’s hair, rinsing mini blinds, and bathing family pets. As “parents” of “self-cleaning” cats, we were pleasantly surprised by all the dog owners, in particular, clamoring for the product. Most pet owners who bought RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer early on were completely satisfied with it because it outperformed the slip-on faucet sprayers or cups and buckets they were using. Their only suggestion was to make the hose longer and add a “groomer style” shower hose. RINSE ACE® Pet Shower Deluxe was introduced in 1998.
“So what else can we plug into the RINSE ACE® Shower Connector?” was John’s question to others. Parents of “little ones” who liked RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer system for washing their children’s hair suggested a kid’s shower that would be close to their heads so water wouldn’t get in their eyes. Perfect for children wanting to be a “big kid,” MY OWN SHOWER® Children’s Showerhead makes the transition from baths to showers more fun with a “just-their-size” shower head! MY OWN SHOWER® Showerhead has been on the market since 1999.
So there were people who didn’t want to wash their dogs in their bathtub or shower stall with the RINSE ACE® Pet Shower Deluxe. Smaller dogs could be washed in the laundry tub, larger dogs over the basement floor drain and any dog could be bathed outdoors with access to a spigot. RINSE ACE® Indoor/Outdoor Pet Sprayer, with a patented quick-connect faucet aerator, was introduced in 2000.
Product development at Idea Factory came “full circle” back to rinsing the tub & shower when the big cleaning chemical companies (Clorox, Procter & Gamble, 3M) introduced scrubbing wands with disposable cleaning pads. Great at scrubbing (and by the way, producing more suds that needed to be rinsed away), they had only half the problem solved. What was needed was a wand that scrubbed and rinsed! Idea Factory had the way to extract water with its RINSE ACE® Shower Connector and experience with other devices being attached to the end of their quick-connect hose, so why not a cleaning wand now? In 2007, RINSE ACE® SCRUB AND RINSE WAND® Cleaner debuted on the Internet and catalogs began featuring the item in 2008
In 2010, we introduced two new sprayers with variable flow and on/off toggle switch which made them easier to use. SNAP N SPRAY® System features a single, full coverage spray on a 6’ foot detachable hose and is found in the showerhead department at home centers. 3-Way Pet Shower Sprayer and 3-Way Pet Faucet Sprayer feature three setting sprayer on an 8’ foot detachable hose and are found in pet specialty stores near dog shampoos.
We made bath time easier and more enjoyable for our four legged babies, so it seemed a logical progression to bring our patented rinsing technology to infants and toddlers “officially”. We knew parents, grandparents and child care providers were using our RINSE ACE® Power Sprayer (or even Pet Shower Deluxe) to easily bathe small children, but with the recently introduced variable flow, on/off sprayers we knew we could offer a better alternative. In 2011, we introduced RINSE ACE® Deluxe Sink Baby Rinser and Deluxe Tub & Shower Baby & Toddler Rinser.
Bath safety in the past has focused on geriatric needs but other members of the family can benefit from items that make bathing easier and safer. And as the style conscious baby boomers age, they will look for innovation and better solutions. In 2011, met the challenge and introduced RINSE ACE® Assisted Bather™ system.