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Sanitize on a whole new level with these over-the-top germ -fighting gadgets

We’re all for getting rid of germs from our lives, especially during the pandemic. Many companies in the tech world are going to all-out war to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, which should come as no surprise given the precautions that people want to take. In the process, though, companies are quick to meet the demand by coming up with germ-killing devices that are, well, a bit over the top.

While there are certainly some that prove to be practical, like the UV light-emitting PhoneSoap, we’ve been pitched our fair share that have left us scratching our heads. Sure, they’re a bit excessive, but some people want to take all the precautions they can to remain virus-free. Here are some of the most extravagant smart home tech gadgets we’ve been pitched since the start of this pandemic.

A keyboard that cleans itself

Defender keyboard cleaning machine

The Defender bills itself as, “The first and only self-sanitizing ultraviolet (UV-C) keyboard and trackpad with FDA clearance.” The company that makes it, Vioguard, says on its website that the device can kill 99.99% of pathogens in 90 seconds when the bulbs are at full strength. A keyboard that can disinfect itself? Okay, that sounds fantastic, right? Well, not so much if you look at the price. The Defender costs $2,000. Umm, we’ll just use a disinfectant wipe or some cotton swabs dipped in alcohol, thanks.

Whole-body sanitizing doorway

Man walking through Cleanse Portal

Have you ever felt so dirty that you wished your front door would sanitize you before you walked into your home? Well, first we’d like to ask what the heck you were doing before you got home. Then, we’d introduce you to the Cleanse Portal, a UV sanitizing entry gate.

It claims that after a 360-degree turn in the doorway for 20 seconds, the Far-UVC radiation inactivates more than 90% of bacteria and viruses. While this seems smart at first glance, it doesn’t sanitize the bottoms of your shoes, which average 421,000 units of bacteria each, including fecal matter. That just feels like a swing and a miss.

Shoe disinfecting slip-ons

Sharper Image shoe cleaners
Sharper Image

These cleaners by Sharper Image goes after shoe yuckiness, but only the ones inside of the shoe. You slip them in and the UV light goes to work killing bacteria and drying up wetness. We can see how it would be helpful to prevent stinky footwear and possibly killing germs, but at $100 we’ll pass on this one.

Air scrubbing light

Cleanse Downlight shining on a female doctor

The Cleanse Downlight is made to basically shower germ-killing Far-UVC light down on you and all the surfaces in its reach. We know what you’re thinking, because we’re thinking it too. Is this really that effective? The company admits that just how well the light works at killing germs depends on the type of contaminant, distance from the light to whatever is contaminated, and how long the contaminate is exposed to the light. You’d still need to sanitize surfaces and your body, just to make sure the germs were dead we would assume, so this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us.

Toilet bowl purger

Female holding Good Papa toilet brush
Good Papa

Okay Goodpapa, this one is just too much. Do we really need a motorized, USB powered, $36 UV-light toilet brush? Even if you think it’s cool, who really wants to have to charge their toilet brush’s battery? Although, its 2,000 mAh battery is rated for up to three months on a single charge.

Giving your old brush a rinse and spraying it with disinfectant before you store it seems like a better, more practical option. Still, Good Papa will bath the brush in germ-killing UV light when it’s stowed away — ensuring that you’re getting a clean brush each time you’re ready to clean the toilet bowl.

Knife de-germer


Think of the thing in your kitchen that sanitizes your dishes. You probably thought of your dishwasher, not your knife block, right? Well, a company named Hookee thinks that you need a knife block that can clean your knives anyway, for some reason. The Knife Guard both heats and shines UV rays on your knives to make sure they are bacteria-free. That doesn’t mean you can use your knife and stick it back in the block, though. That’s just gross! You still need to wash it first.

Write bacteria-free


Okay, we can maybe understand this pen sanitizer called Steri-Write for schools, but we really doubt teachers are going to have time to send all of their students’ pens through this machine. Besides, most kids are only allowed to use pencils and this device is solely for cleaning pens. Doctor’s offices and hospitals may find it useful, but still, disinfectant spray seems like a much easier and cost-effective alternative.

Keep sanitizing

While we think these products are a bit much, we still think sanitizing is important, especially during the pandemic. There are, however, several practical gadgets that will help mitigate the spread of germs. From air purifiers that clean the air, to robot vacuums that pick up crumbs and debris, you won’t be spending a fortune on protecting your home.

Furthermore, it has been proven that washing your hands can effectively stop individuals from spreading germs to one another — as well as surfaces. For resources on how to keep you and your home safe during the pandemic, please read the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford has been a tech, lifestyle and science writer for more than 20 years. Her work is read by millions each month…
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