I was scrolling through a Yahoo story and came upon an add for an ultraviolet light sanitizer. In March when the Covid-19 (SARS COV-2) pandemic was recognized in the U.S., I looked into potential ways to sanitize my environment. Ultraviolet (UV) light was one of the techniques that was listed as a proven virus killer. I hadn’t heard more about UV until a couple of days ago while I was scrolling through a Yahoo story and came upon an add for an ultraviolet light sanitizer product called Mobile Klean.

Before I go any farher, I’ll let you know that I am not endorsing any product or process and receive no compensation from any UV sanitizer manufacturer or seller (or anyone else as is par for all of my posts lol).

If UV sanitation is something you want to try there are many companies that sell these devices. At the end of the post is a link to an article ranking 20 highly rated UV products. Take a look at the various options there, and there is always Google if more info is needed.

UV Light Kills Germs and Bacteria. Here’s How It Works

UV light is electromagnetic radiation emitted at shorter wavelengths than visible light but longer wavelength than X-rays. Ultraviolet light is divided into three zones—UVA with wavelengths from 380 to 320 nanometres (billionth of a metre), UVB from 320 nm down to 290 nm and UVC from 290 nm down to one tenth of a nanometre. UVC and most of UVB are absorbed by the ozone layer in the earth’s stratosphere.

A July 8, 2020 article in Heath And Wellness explains the science:

UV-A and UV-B light cause sunburns and premature skin aging, and exposure to both is associated with the development of skin cancer. UV-C light, which has the most energy of all three types, is the most harmful, but it fortunately doesn’t reach the Earth’s surface because our atmosphere absorbs it. 

There’s man-made UV-C light, too: It’s what’s in the UV light sanitizers that companies claim kill the coronavirus. According to the National Academy of Sciences, it’s probable that this is true, because UV light has been used to disinfect surfaces and water for a long time, and it’s generally successful. 

It works because UV-C light is strong enough to destroy the genetic material — either DNA or RNA — of viruses and bacteria. There’s no evidence right now that typical sun exposure can kill SARS-CoV-2), so no, going outside on a sunny day won’t reduce your risk of catching it.

A 20-second exposure to UVC should kill any corona viruses.

Should Travelers Use UV To Kill SARS-CoV-2?

Airplane seats and hotel rooms have many surfaces and devices that seem like ideal candidates for sanitizing with UVC light.

Like just about everything, for using UVC there are pros and cons. While no scientific studies have been conducted to prove that UVC kills SARS-CoV-2, UVC has been proven to kill similar viruses such as MERS and SARS. There is a very strong likelihood that when studies are done, they will show UVC also kills SARS-CoV-2.


  • UVC sanitizers are small enough to carry on your person during travel.  Among other uses, they can be employed for sanitizing your personal space on airplanes and in hotels.
  • UVC sanitation does not involve harmful or smelly chemicals.
  • If you sanitize it yourself, you don’t have to wonder if the cleaners did their work.
  • It is dry process suitable for use with electronic equipment.
  • UVC light can get to places that a cloth might not reach.
  • You won’t run out (as long as you have batteries or a charger).
  • There is very little effort required.  
  • UVC can be used at home on dirty items like phones and keyboards.
  • Cons
  • UVC can be harmful to human cells so it should only be used on surfaces and objects.
  •  Note to Corona virus Commander in Chief:  UVC should not be used internally. 🤣 
  • It is unclear how effective UVC is for places where it is difficult for light to reach. 
  • It is more expensive than soap and other disinfectants.

For me the pros easily outweigh the cons.  After a bit of research I bought the Mobile Klean device.

Portable UV Sanitizers May Be A great Solution For Travelers


Contracting viruses and disease on airplanes seems to be primarily related to coming into contact with germs on surfaces.  Mainline commercial airliners are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA air filters that remove 99.97% of airborne germs and viruses.  The entire onboard air supply is filtered every two to three minutes.  Exposure to airborne virus in sufficient quantities to cause illness seems unlikely.

American Airlines recently revealed plans to use Surfacewis2, the first-ever, long-lasting product to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The substance physically breaks down and kills virus cells and will be used in electrostatic spraying on all American aircraft.  That sounds great; however, since this is a new product, there is always a chance that it may not work as advertised even if it is applied correctly.

Airlines, hotels, and other businesses advertise greatly enhanced cleaning routines to protect customers from SARS-CoV-2.  Unfortunately, in most situations customers have no way of knowing if cleaning was done or how well it was accomplished.  The old saying is: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

Using a portable sanitizer gives travelers confidence that their environment is clean.  These devices are a good idea for avoiding germs and viruses that cause colds, flu and other diseases after the Covid-19 pandemic is over.  It can be used on airplanes for tray tables, seat belt buckles, overhead light switches, etc. 

Hotels are notorious for sometimes inadequate and unhealthy cleaning practices.  Maids have been known to use the same wipes that they use on toilets to clean drinking glasses.  Remotes may get a cursory wipe down.  Hotels are asking maids to do more and better cleaning, but they aren’t paying them more and they may not be giving maids more time to clean rooms.  Using a portable UV sanitizer on remotes, drinking glasses, phones and other appliances in hotel rooms certainly can’t hurt, pandemic or no pandemic. 

I travel with many devices with surfaces that pick up germs easily and are ideal candidates for being sanitized with UVC light.

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The Mobile Klean device needs only 20 seconds to sanitize any device or area.

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There are many devices like Mobile Klean. I dselected it because of price and good reviews. The price ranges from $70 for one to $48 for four units. You can buy them here.

For your information, I’ve included a link to an article that reviews and ranks what it claims are the top 20 UVC sanitizers for 2020. I recommend reading it before deciding to buy a portable UVC sanitizer.

Final Thoughts

Anything that gives travelers assurance that their environment is free of viruses and germs helps people feel more secure about all phases of travel. Having faith that the risks of travel can be minimized will put more people on planes, in hotels, and in restaurants. I made an investment in a UVC device and will publish another report when it arrives in about two weeks.

We will see if the product gives me enough confidence to try a short tip by air. Do you think that a portable UVC sanitizer might change your attitude about traveling in the near future?

Photos not from airplanes or hotels are from Mobile Klean.