With the coronavirus looming large in every headline, you’re no doubt looking to reduce your risk and stop the spread of germs. You should start by washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face, and avoiding crowds. If you want a more hi-tech approach, however, some smart home gadgets can help. Some devices can stop the spread of germs, including air purifiers, smart locks, and more.
None of these devices are guarantee to stop the spread of illness. However, they can help, either by killing bacteria and viruses directly, or minimizing the chance you’ll touch a contaminated surface.
Smart Lock and Juno Door Knob by Kwikset
However, many types of bacteria live on doorknobs, so you can pick up something nasty just by opening the door. Kwikset provides a solution with Microban technology, a special type of coating that kills bacteria. The coating is said to last for the lifetime of the doorknob. Kwikset sells these doorknobs in a wide variety of shapes and styles, so you can find one that matches your home – no need to settle for a less-than-pleasing aesthetic for the sake of safety.
Here’s an important note; Microban can kill bacteria, but not a virus. Covid-19, better known as the coronavirus, is a virus. Still, you can use this smart lock to unlock a door hands-free, which means you won’t have to touch the doorknob as often.
A home steam cleaner/dry cleaner might not be the first thought in stopping germs, but think about it: how many of your clothes go a week or two at a time without a wash because you have to dry clean them? The Samsung AirDresser is a closet-shaped device that can hold several shirts, jackets, and other clothes. Once you’ve put the items into the AirDresser, it then cleans or steams the clothes.
This will dry and straighten your clothes, eliminates smells, and kill some germs. The heat is even enough kill a virus. Samsung’s own press release explicitly mentions the AirDresser can get rid of 99.9% of four types of viruses — adenovirus, influenza, herpesvirus, and coronavirus. It’s not perfect sanitation, but it’s a big step over nothing at all.
Of course, you can wash most your clothes in warm water, or run them through the dryer, to kill most germs. Still, if you have clothing that requires special care, a device like the Samsung AirDresser is the way to go. It will be available for purchase in April.
U by Moen Smart Faucet
Washing your hands in a bathroom has always been a strange concept. Even after washing with soap and water, you have to touch the (probably) dirty handle to turn off the faucet. U by Moen solves that by providing users with a smart faucet that can be activated with a wave of the hand. You can also use both Amazon Alexa and Google Home to reach precise water temperatures, run specific amounts of water, and more. The faucets have an elegant design, as well as a manual handle on the side for when you don’t want to use voice commands.
U by Moen can’t kill a virus, but it does minimize the contact you make while washing your hands, reducing the possibility of picking up a virus from a contaminated surface. This will be most helpful in large households that see a lot of traffic as family members come and go.
HoMedics UV-Clean Phone Santizer
Your phone is gross. A 2017 study from Time Magazine found the average smartphone is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat. However, sanitizing your phone can be a hassle, particularly if your phone isn’t water resistant. Proper sanitation also requires attention to detail. Missing a corner can spoil your efforts, as your hands will quickly spread the remaining germs across the phone.
So, what’s the alternative? UV light.
The HoMedics UV-Clean Phone Sanitzer claims to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses with UV light alone. It takes thirty seconds per side. Best of all, it’s portable—you can take it with you on the go. The UV-Clean Phone Sanitizer has 70 uses per charge, so power it up the night before, and you’ll have it ready to sanitize all day long.
BlueAir Classic 480i Air Purifier
Digital Trends recently took an in-depth look at whether air purifiers are can protect you from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, an air purifier is an imperfect solution. It purifies the air, but not surfaces, so a purifier alone can never serve as the sole solution. Also, most home air purifiers use filters that can’t catch a virus.
The BlueAir Classic 480i is the rare example of a purifier that can catch a virus. The company’s DualProtection Filter claims to block 99.99% of the 12 most common airborne viruses and bacteria, including E.Coli and H1N1. If you suffer from asthma, an air purifier can help you breathe easier. The Classic 480i is quiet, even on its highest speed. You will be able to sleep soundly at night without interruption, even while the purifier runs.
An air purifier alone is never going to protect you, but if you do want a purifier that can scrub a virus from the air, BlueAir’s Classic 480i is among the few options that makes sense for home use.
iRobot Braava Jet m6
Everyone knows the floor is dirty. Germs and bacteria can thrive on wooden and laminate surfaces, especially those that might not see cleaning too often. And most people don’t clean frequently because, well, who wants the hassle?
The iRobot Braava Jet m6 is a robotic mop that can clean your floors for you. It works in conjunction with the iRobot Roomba i7, and can follow in the path of the robot vacuum, mopping the floor after it has pulled up any debris that may be left lying around. Although the Braava Jet m6 recommends against using cleaning solutions besides the ones it comes with, its solutions have chemicals designed to remove stains and eliminate odors, both of which can kill bacteria.
Shine Bathroom Assistant
If you had to name the dirtiest job in the house, it would likely be cleaning the toilet. The job is dirty, takes a long time, and wastes a lot of water. The Shine Bathroom Assistant is an automated toilet cleaner that sprays the cleaning solution directly into the bowl. It promises a squeaky-clean toilet without any scrubbing involved. The solution automatically deodorizes and decontaminates the inside of the toilet bowl without using harsh chemicals, while also diagnosing leaks based on water usage.
The product is currently available on Shine’s website for $100.
Ecovacs Winbot X
The Ecovacs Winbot X is a robot vacuum for your windows, an automated device that travels across the glass of your windows and cleans as it goes. In the fight against germs, windows are often overlooked — but the often-moist environment around windowsills is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which can then move onto the glass itself.
The Winbot X uses a four-stage cleaning system that squeegees and wipes the window clean. You can also choose to activate a “Deep Clean” mode. The device uses suction and a tether system to ensure it stays attached to the window without falling and without putting your window at risk.
Remember to wash your hands
You should always wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and protect others by staying at home if you feel ill.
Want the latest on how coronavirus is impacting tech worldwide? Check out our full coronavirus coverage. We also recommend reading the CDC’s official advice on how to prepare for, and avoid, the coronavirus.
Watch out for scams
The products in this article can help protect you by keeping surfaces clean and reducing exposure, but they’re not miracles. There’s reason for that. Viruses and bacteria can be extremely hard to avoid and tend to linger on surfaces long after an infected individual has passed by. That’s why no gadget can promise perfect protection. In fact, we recommend a healthy dose of skepticism. Be wary of any gadget that promises full protection against illness with no caveats.