With COVID, there are a few obvious best practices, the 3 Ws. They are the triumvirate that gives you protection if you have to out.
- Wear a mask.
- Wash your hands.
- Watch your distance, i.e. social distancing.
Early on, there was a recommendation to wipe down groceries with disinfecting wipes and surfaces to prevent transmission via surfaces. I think at this point, this is less of a concern since the new information shows that it is transmitted via droplets from person-to-person.
If you're like me, I'm a bit extra paranoid. I did a fair amount of research on how to disinfect smaller items, like a phone, or keys, or other things and one of the things I preferred was to find a UV-C based solution.
UV-C is a wavelength of light in the 250-280 nm range that doesn't make it through the atmosphere. For good reason! It is bad for you. Really bad actually. But it's also really bad for viruses.
A little more background. Munchkin is a company that makes kid products, and they make a small version made for sanitizing baby stuff, like a pacifier. This is what it looks like. Not bad but pretty darn small.
After some digging, I found that 59S is the company they partnered with that specializes in UV-C LEDs for sanitization.
This is what I ended up picking: 59S UV-C Mini Sterilizer X1.
Why did I pick this? A friend said, if 59S is good enough for Munchkin, which is a pretty well known brand, then it's pretty trustworthy.
Here's what I like:
- Micro-USB - easy to recharge, ubiquitous cable
- Rechargeable Li-ion battery - IIRC, this one can run 10 minutes before needing a recharge
- Highly portable - you can keep it at home, but I like that you can bring it
- Flexible - with this version, I wasn't purely limited to the "box" included like the Munchkin pictured above.
- Gyroscope to detect if it is upside down (i.e. facing you) that makes it shut off. I haven't tested this though.
- One button for 59 second disinfection.
- One button for 180 second disinfection.
One drawback: if you want longer than 180 seconds, you're going to have to press it each time. Holding the 180 second button just makes the unit power off completely.
Aluminum foil has nearly 100% reflectivity of the UVC spectrum so I took a small shoebox and lined it with aluminum foil so that I could use it for more than just a phone like the above picture.
Here's how it turned out.
For most of it, I cut cardboard and wrapped the foil around it, then taped the foil as tight as possible and inserted inside the box. For the lid, you can see it's taped directly. I wasn't as careful about the lid because any reflection off the lid is at least the second bounce of light and the intensity drops rapidly with distance.
Now with the UV light placed on top.
And now from the inside.
And there you have it. A portable UV-C cleaning box. I think it's probably not wise to go much bigger than this because there simply aren't enough diodes and exposure.
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