Have you ever been in the kitchen, making dough or cookies or cutting raw chicken, and been stuck needing to wash your hands but not wanting to put your gross gross hands on your nice clean faucet? Especially with things like raw meat or eggs, you want to be careful not to contaminate the very fixtures you use to stay clean. That leaves you with two options: spend a lot of time and energy cleaning up the handles of your sink, or try to use your wrist or elbow to turn the water on. But now there’s a third option designed with just this problem in mind: Delta has pioneered touch technology to make these kitchen sink snafus a thing of the past.
You might have seen the commercials for them: Faucets like this Delta 980T-DST that turn on and off with nothing more than a little bump. So even if you’ve been breading chicken and your hands are covered in a nice coating of salmonella-y flour gunk, you can just tap your wrist, the back of your hand, an elbow, your forearm, or really any piece of bare skin against any part of the faucet to start the flow.
Sounds like a miracle, right? Even if you’ve heard of these before, though, you might not know how they work. Outwardly, any of Delta’s ToucH2O faucets are exactly the same as any other regular kitchen faucet. The difference is the secondary hardware. This Delta 9178 faucet comes with a small control box that attaches to your hot and cold supply lines, and to the faucet itself.
You see, the human body has a slightly higher electric charge than, say, an ambient room. So when you bump your skin against the metal of this Delta 9992 faucet, you send a minuscule jolt down into it, which triggers the control box to start the flow of water.
In practice, this is a little more complicated. You see, the faucet handle on the sink still controls the temperature and pressure of the water, so if it’s turned off, tapping the faucet won’t do anything at all. If you know your hands are about to get messy, what you need to do is manually adjust the handle on your Delta 1980T to the temperature and pressure you want, then tap it to activate touch mode. This will stop the flow of water and turn on a small blue light at the base of the faucet.
As long as the blue light is on, you can tap the faucet on and off to your heart’s content. To take it back out of touch mode, simply grab onto the regular faucet handle (or any other part of the faucet), and turn it off like a normal sink. Because the Delta 9192 is designed to detect the difference between a quick touch and a prolonged grab, it won’t go all wonky on you every time you try to turn your faucet on or off normally. If it DOES accidentally get turned on – by a grabby kid or a curious pet, say – the water will automatically shut off after four minutes.
The other great thing about these Delta faucets is that many of them, like this Delta 980T-SS-DST come with a built in spray nozzle. Instead of a separate spray attachment, the actual main aerator of the sink is connected to a long flexible metal line that can be pulled out of the neck of the sink and used to spray down your sink, or fill containers too large to fit under your faucet, like a pot filler.
A small magnet holds the nozzle in place when you want it to behave like an ordinary faucet, but it pulls out easily when you want to use it as a sprayer. As well, at the touch of a button, the spray can change from a regular sink flow to a wider, shower like-spray like you can see on this Delta 978 – either of which can be used in spray or faucet form.
That said, if you’ve just bought a new faucet and don’t want to replace it again already, or have one that you just simply love, Toto makes a Wireless Faucet Controller, which is basically a simplified and scaled back version of the mechanism that controls the Delta faucets. But instead of touching the faucet to turn it on or off, you press the silver bar-shaped button, which can be mounted anywhere within three feet of your water supply lines, allowing you to turn the water on or off with a quick elbow or hip bump – though, like the delta ones, the faucet itself needs to be turned on first.
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking from scratch, finger painting with kids, or even just getting your hands dirty in the garden, a touch faucet is a great way to simplify your life and keep your hands, and your kitchen, cleaner with a little more ease and a lot less work. How do you deal with dirty hands mid dinner prep? Does this strike you as a great solution or just another gadget? Only Delta and really high end designers have picked up on the technology, but I’d love to hear whether you think it’ll take off.