Product: Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner Company: SC Johnson Country: United States

Devices of one kind or another seem to be taking the household cleaning market by storm. The proliferation of sweepers, hand-held dusters, lavatory cleaners, disposable toilet cleaning pads and more means consumers soon may not have to touch any of the surfaces around the home that need cleaning.

Now, as shower cleaning becomes the latest target for a major household goods supplier, a product that can do the cleaning by itself - without the user even being in the room - has hit the United States market.

SC Johnson has introduced an automatic shower cleaner under its well known Scrubbing Bubbles brand. It is not quite an automatic robot, but it can do its work while the consumer is out of the bathroom. The device, which is mounted on the shower head and operated by battery, has a 360-degree spray. This means it can remove soap scum, mould and mildew from the walls and base of the shower unit. All the user has to do is press the 'on' button after showering and remember to close the shower door or draw the curtain.

Each activation sets off a continuous 12-second spray, reaching up to nearly 2.5 metres. SC Johnson claims that it works equally well in showers with curtains or doors, and is said to fit all standard shower heads. The pack states: "We thought of everything, so you don't have to." The device comes with batteries and a refill bottle of fresh scented cleaning solution, priced at about US$13 - a reasonable premium to pay, given the convenience.

This is an interesting development moving on from the daily shower sprays that are now fairly widespread and reduce the need for scrubbing, but it also has the advantage of push-button technology, which saves valuable seconds. And, as more homes are fitted with two or more showers, effectively doubling this household chore, surely this will be a winner with busy consumers who have little or no interest in cleaning regimes.

Critics may cite environmental issues with the product due to the use of batteries. However, it is likely to save water, as there is no need for rinsing.