Covid-19 has made the word "sanitize" nearly an everyday word. We're washing our hands, cleaning our home — and also our devices. Aside from running rubbing alcohol over our smartphones, there's a product that some are touting to help sanitize your mobile devices called PhoneSoap which uses UV-C light to sterilize — and specifically break apart and kill the DNA inside viruses.
Be aware that PhoneSoap does not claim that it can kill Covid-19. And right now, the best way to clean your mobile device (phone, watch, even headphones) is to use a wipe with at least 60 percent alcohol, or even a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe. But PhoneSoap does claim to remove common household bacteria, so we're talking Salmonella, Staph, E.Coli, common cold virus, Flu and even MRSA. And new research is showing that UV-C light may have an impact of killing airborne coronaviruses.
Inside, is an aluminum coating and two lights at the top, and two at the bottomGearBrain
We were sent a PhoneSoap, along with a recent phone from LG to play with, and tried it on a bunch of devices. Did it work? Here's the problem: We just can't tell. We know PhoneSoap touts a Discovery Channel test that showed, yes, the device did work to eliminate what it claims it does. But here's what we experienced personally.
UV-C light does have a track record for killing airborne coronaviruses, but also, according to research from Columbia University, potentially seasonal coronaviruses, that "are structurally similar to the SARS-CoV2-virus that causes Covid-19, " according to their study.
This light is used in a number of sterilization boxes, including those made by PhoneSoap, InvisibleShield and Mophie. They all work similarly. To activate the cleaning, you place your device (or frankly anything that you want cleaned) inside the device and just close the door.
That's exactly what we did with our PhoneSoap. Inside is a reflective aluminum casing, with two bulbs at the top, and two at the bottom. This is not a small item — which means you can put in very big smartphones, even earbuds. And it works with the case still on your device too.
An LG Velvet smartphone inside the PhoneSoapGearBrain
We put in our first phone, an iPhone X, let it sit for five minutes, and waited for the blue light at the top to go off. We could even hear text messages and phone calls come through, and this means you can also hear an alarm come through if you place your devices in there at night.
You can open the door at any time — which will just stop the clean. But the device is meant to work for the full five minutes to completely kill pathogens from the surface. We also tested this on an LG Velvet as well.
How do you know when it's done? The light just goes off. You don't get a ping, you don't get a chime. It's just done.
The problem with viruses and pathogens — you cannot see them. We have to trust that they're around us, and they can cause harm. Most people are wearing masks, washing their hands and keeping socially distant which has shown to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, for example, when done by a majority of people.
The bottom of the PhoneSoap has feet that help stabilize the unit on your desk or dresserGearBrain
With PhoneSoap, however, this means you never see the result of what it claims to accomplish either. The phones do not come out visibly cleaner. Smudges and fingerprints that were on them before going into the case, are still there. You don't get that satisfactory visible check you do when wiping a surface with an alcohol wipe — it doesn't look cleaner.
That doesn't mean, however, that it hasn't done what it says it can do. The ultimate decision, whether to buy one or not, has to reside with users who want to take every option they can to fight against viruses — Covid-19 or not.
PhoneSoap currently sells a variety of different sizes of their cleaner, with the smallest of them starting at $79.95. You can even buy a larger size that can clean bigger items, including tablets, which is on pre-order now.
PhoneSoap Pro UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger | Patented & Clinically Proven UV Light Disinfector | (Charcoal)