Photo: Courtesy of PhoneSoap

With the spread of COVID-19 reaching more than 118,000 cases in over 110 countries and territories around the world, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the disease to be a pandemic, more and more people all over the world are taking hygiene matters much more seriously.

Along with the increased sales of items like hand sanitisers and face masks, sales for items which help to sanitise everyday items like the device-cleaning machine called PhoneSoap are also soaring. According to PhoneSoap, a cell phone has a whopping 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom, and that our phones can cause us to be sick. However, PhoneSoap’s products, which kill germs on phones by bathing them in UV light, haven’t been tested against COVID-19.

In a study to test PhoneSoap’s effectiveness, Mia Lieberman, a clinical veterinarian at Harvard Medical School found that it can kill 99.99% of household germs, including E. coli and salmonella, but noted that eliminating COVID-19 would likely require a much larger UV-C dose than what PhoneSoap emits.

“I don’t think consumers should rely on a UV device that’s commercially available to eradicate coronavirus on their phone,” says Lieberman. “I don’t think we have the data to know how much it helps.”

PhoneSoap disagrees. “Only the CDC and those working to contain COVID-19 have access to this novel strain of coronavirus to test, so PhoneSoap can’t say with certainty that our products kill COVID-19. That being said, we do know that COVID-19 is an enveloped virus, similar to Influenza A (H1N1) which we have tested and know that PhoneSoap kills,” says the company. PhoneSoap co-founder Wes LaPorte acknowledged that PhoneSoap hadn’t been tested against COVID-19, though in his view it’s one of the measures people can take to contain the outbreak.

Whether it’s effective against COVID-19 or not, we know for sure that it gives a peace of mind, which in turn helps in the fight against the disease.

You can purchase PhoneSoap on their official website or try Amazon. Due to the popularity of the product, the company has sold out of its devices in early March, but it’s currently taking pre-orders that will ship between April 15 and May 30, according to its website.