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CNN  — 

Editors Note: As we note below, it’s still unknown whether or not UV Sanitizers and UV-C can kill Covid-19, and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recently released an advisory confirming this. They also note that direct contact with UV-C or looking into the light can cause injury. The UV Sanitizers below feature lids with a locking mechanism or the light is only activated when the cover is confirmed to be closed. You can see the full advisory from the FDA here and further analysis from CNN Business here.

When was the last time you cleaned your TV remote? That may seem like a strange question, but we rarely, if ever, disinfect our household items and tech. The HomeSoap makes the process quick and easy by sanitizing anything you can fit inside it in just 10 minutes. It does so by neutralizing common harmful microorganisms with UV-C light.

At $199.95, the HomeSoap can keep large tablets, phones, keys, baby bottles and virtually any similarly sized item free of germs. And with the HomeSoap’s sizable sanitizing bay, you can disinfect several items at once.

Keep reading to find out more.

Design and features

At about the size of a small desktop computer, the HomeSoap gives you a lot of space for sanitation. To be exact, it’s 15 inches deep, 6 inches wide and about 11 inches tall. Its interior measurements are only about 2 inches less for each dimension. The outer shell of the HomeSoap is a matte plastic. Interestingly, there’s a slight bulbousness to the sides, making it look like the sides are thin pillows. On the door is a lightning symbol that glows while the HomeSoap is active. Above the door is a circular button that you can use to switch between manual and automatic mode. It’s also the pause/start button in manual mode, where you can choose the duration of your sanitation cycle.

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The HomeSoap comes in white or black, and it looks handsome in either. When you open the door on the front, you can see the sanitation bay, which is quite spacious. It’s coated in a somewhat reflective gray plastic and contains eight UV-C bulbs that run along the sides like thin pillars. Inside this space, just above the entrance, are USB-A and USB-C ports for charging your devices while they’re inside. Flip it around to the back and you’ll see the port for plugging in the device.

On the bottom of the HomeSoap are six microsuction feet that keep it firmly planted where you place it. It could get annoying to use if it slid around every time you opened the door or put items inside. And these feet don’t leave any residue, since they operate on the suction of many tiny air pockets rather than adhesives or rubber. To clean them, all you have to do is rub them with water and let them dry.

Is UV-C effective?

The HomeSoap sounds great in theory, but what’s behind the technology and the promise that UV-C light will be effective?

For starters, it’s been shown that mobile phones are about 18 times more bacteria-ridden than public restrooms. This is likely because they often rest in our warm, dark pockets all day, we constantly touch them and we may not clean them as well as we should. But even if you regularly clean your phone, think about other tech and items in your house. Have you given your TV remote or headphones a good scrub lately? How about the family tablet? Chances are they are not nearly as clean as they could be with the HomeSoap.

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UV-C light has been proven to be effective at killing or neutralizing bacteria and other pathogens. That is, even if it doesn’t kill them, it prevents them from reproducing. This occurs because it attacks their DNA, effectively destroying up to 99.99% of germs like MRSA and the flu virus. MRSA is an antibacterial-resistant strain, but it can’t stand up to UV-C light.

This incredible disinfecting power is why places like labs and hospitals have been employing it for a long time. However, our cells aren’t immune to UV-C light. It can cause eye damage when observed by the naked eye, and can damage skin if it’s exposed for some time. Fortunately the HomeSoap’s lights can only be on when the door is closed. If you want to see the benefit of UV-C light yourself, Discovery channel aired a video where it put one of the products to the test.

All in all, there’s good reason to believe the HomeSoap can do the job.

Using the HomeSoap

The HomeSoap couldn’t be simpler to use. Just plug it in and insert any item or items you want to sanitize. Then close the lid and wait 10 minutes for the sanitation cycle to complete. Closing the door automatically starts the process, and the lightning bolt on the door will glow until it’s complete. To switch to manual mode, just hold the circular button above the door for three seconds, at which point you can tap it to start and stop the cycle. After it’s finished, just remove your freshly sanitized items and go about your business.

The HomeSoap is a rather large device, so it may be hard to find space for it, at least on tables or higher surfaces. I ended up placing it in the corner of my kitchen counter, after some rearranging. Once those microsuction feet contacted the granite, the HomeSoap became a regular appliance, right next to my toaster. Naturally, it was often the talk of my family and visitors, some of whom had to be convinced it was safe to use, while others had to be convinced it worked at all.

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It’s hard to keep track of just how many different things that I and others put in the HomeSoap.

We’ve inserted tablets, headphones, earbuds, a multitude of mobile phones, landlines, TV remotes, a Nintendo Switch and many other items. Though the results aren’t visible, it’s reassuring to know that you’re taking a well-sanitized item out. And a major part of the convenience is being able to insert multiple items at the same time. As long as you give them enough exposure to the UV bulbs, you could pop in a handful of your favorite tech items all at once. But for some, 10 minutes may be too long to go without social media, which is where manual mode came in handy. I can’t be certain how effective the HomeSoap is when run for, say, four or five minutes, but I’m sure it’s at least enough time for decent sanitation.

I think the HomeSoap makes a great staple in the household. My family and I got a lot of use out of it, and even though I’m not a germaphobe, it feels good to keep things clean. And I believe that keeping so many commonly used items free of germs is likely to prevent at least some sickness. We touch our TV remotes every day, put our headphones near our face and put our mobile phones right on our faces. It could be especially beneficial to those who are more prone to illness.

Bottom line

It doesn’t get any easier to sanitize your hard-to-clean items than the HomeSoap. With its powerful UV-C bulbs, huge sanitizing bay and 10-minute sanitation cycle, you could disinfect all your handheld tech in less than half an hour. And with manual mode, you can cut down that time.

At $199.95, the HomeSoap can be the go-to disinfection station for your entire household. Check it out on Amazon, or directly from PhoneSoap’s website.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.