Gadgets that claim to stop you catching Covid

From a face shield to a phone sanitiser and a hook to open doors… Gadgets that claim to stop you catching Covid

  • Handwashing and social distancing are known to reduce the spread of infection
  • Could gadgets, such as a prong for flushing loos, covers for keyboards, help too?
  • ADRIAN MONTI asked experts to review selection; the Daily Mail then rated them

Frequent handwashing and social distancing are known to reduce the spread of infection. But could gadgets — such as a prong for flushing loos and covers for keyboards — help too? ADRIAN MONTI asked experts to review a selection; we then rated them.

Hygienehook, £14.99,


Hygienehook, £14.99,

CLAIM: This hook is J-shaped and slips around handles, providing a hands-free way to open and close doors.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Rob Lambkin-Williams, a virologist at Virus Consult, based in Brighton, says: ‘Doors, in particular, are full of germs because of the number of people’s hands touching them each day.

‘This is a good idea but it would only be useful if you cleaned it with soapy water or sanitising gel after each use, as it gathers germs, which isn’t always practical.

‘An easier option — something I do — is to open doors by using your shoulder or elbow.’ 5/10

Adjustable safety face shield, pack of ten, £10.99,


Adjustable safety face shield, pack of ten, £10.99,

CLAIM: This is a transparent plastic face shield attached to a soft headband, which can be adjusted to fit most sizes. Discard after use.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘Until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found, we’ll have to protect ourselves in other ways,’ says Dr Naomi Forrester-Soto, a reader in viruses at Keele University. ‘A face shield might protect you better than a face mask, as it covers your eyes as well and some people, such as the elderly or those with underlying lung problems, might choose to wear one when going to the shops, for instance.

‘But take care not to accidentally infect yourself with virus particles stuck to the outside when you’re disposing of it.’ 7/10

Kooty Key, £7.99,


Kooty Key, £7.99,

CLAIM: Describing itself as ‘the germaphobe’s pocket knife’, this attaches to a keyring or clips to a bag or belt. Its hook and rubber-tipped prong can be used to flush loos or type in PIN codes on cash machines (though so could many other objects).

EXPERT VERDICT: Val Edwards-Jones, an emeritus professor of medical microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University, says: ‘It does stop the user touching surfaces, such as the keypad at a cash machine, which will prevent them from potentially contaminating themselves by touching their face before they get the chance to wash their hands.

‘Wipe it down afterwards — at least it attaches to keys, so it doesn’t contaminate your pocket or hand in the meantime.’ 5/10

SteriType covers, £17.50,


SteriType covers, £17.50,

CLAIM: A reusable antibacterial sleeve with versions that fit most keyboards, hugging the keys so that typing isn’t affected. It’s made from plastic and said to have an antibacterial coating.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Lambkin-Williams says: ‘These are made of antibacterial material which seems to stop some microbes reproducing and spreading — although it hasn’t been shown to stop the spread of Covid-19 specifically.

‘They are handy if you share a keyboard at work, as you can simply slip the cover on when it’s your turn to use it. But remember to clean the cover before and after each use, either with soapy water or a wipe or spray with 70 per cent alcohol content.’ 7/10


Wavewash, £24.99,

CLAIM: A digital timer designed to ensure you wash your hands for 20 seconds — the period recommended by health officials. You activate it by waving your hand in front of it and five small lights flash as it counts down the seconds before bleeping once the time has elapsed.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘A device to remind you to wash your hands for 20 seconds is a positive thing,’ says Dr Lambkin-Williams.

‘At £25, some people might prefer to stick to singing ‘happy birthday’ twice or just counting in their heads.

‘But it may appeal to children, who often seem to like the timers that you find on electric toothbrushes.’ 6/10

Umbra Otto automatic soap pump, £40,


Umbra Otto automatic soap pump, £40,

CLAIM: This stylish-looking battery-powered device stands 25cm high and is made of stainless steel and plastic. It’s designed for your bathroom or kitchen and has a sensor that detects when your hands are below the spout, which then dispenses liquid soap. It can also be refilled with sanitiser gel.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘This automatic soap dispenser does look sleek but I’m not convinced it’s worth buying if you want it to stop the spread of infection,’ says Dr Forrester-Soto.

‘Although you’re not touching the soap dispenser, you’re probably still touching taps, the shared towel, sink and door handle, too, after washing — which are more likely to harbour harmful germs.

‘Cleaning these surfaces frequently avoids cross-contamination, which is the key to keeping everyday things germ-free. You can wash your hands with any soap to reduce contamination: they all break down the outer layer of viruses and destroy them.’ 3/10


Disinfectant Lance Pack, £175,

CLAIM: This pack contains a 1m-long trigger-operated ‘lance’ which squirts disinfectant from the 20-litre plastic container up to 1.5m away to clean office exteriors, home patios and back yards. The manufacturer, which normally makes equipment for window cleaners, says it kills 99.9 per cent of viruses.

EXPERT VERDICT: Professor Edwards-Jones says: ‘Even though this device is aimed at both domestic and non-domestic settings, it’s over the top to use it at home.

‘Hot soapy water is adequate for removing most viruses and bacteria from door handles, handrails and other frequently touched areas, and you can use diluted bleach if you’re worried that isn’t effective enough.

‘There’s no need to spray your patio with disinfectant — just wash your hands when you come back inside.’ 5/10


Casetify UV sanitiser, £100,

Casetify UV sanitiser, £100,

CLAIM: You place objects such as your phone or keys into a box the size of a pencil case with six ultraviolet (UV) bulbs inside. The maker says the UV rays kill 99.9 per cent of household germs in three minutes.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘There is strong research that UV light can kill viruses, although I’m not aware of published studies with this box,’ says Dr Naomi Forrester-Soto, a reader in viruses at Keele University. ‘UV light seems to destroy the protein structures of the virus so it can no longer replicate — we use it to disinfect things in our labs. We don’t know yet if it destroys Covid-19, but I’d expect it to.

‘Over time UV bulbs get weaker, but there is no way to know how efficient the bulbs are in the box. Putting your phone in the sun, which also emits UV light, should kill viruses too but we don’t know how long you’d have to do it for.’ 6/10

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