Enter the PhoneSoap 3, a relatively straightforward device that uses UV-C light that the company promises will kill 99.99% of the germs and bacteria on your iPhone in just 10 minutes, while charging your device at the same time. The unit itself is basically a large clamshell box, slightly larger than an old VHS cassette (yes, we’re dating ourselves here) that you place your iPhone in, where it’s bathed in UV-C light. The package also includes a power adapter, a quick start guide, and one of PhoneSoap’s microfibre cleaning pads to wipe down your screen. PhoneSoap 3 is available seven standard colors, along with a limited edition Cranberry Red for the holiday season.
PhoneSoap easily handles iPhones of all sizes, even with most cases, and provides a hole in one side to pass a charging cable through, which can conveniently plug into one of the USB ports on the back. Both USB-A and USB-C ports are provided, although the latter is for compatibility only; high-speed USB-C PD is not supported. You’ll need to supply your own cable, but the charging aspect is also completely optional and may not be useful for everyone — PhoneSoap only requires 10 minutes of your iPhone’s time to sanitize it, so there’s no need to worry about charging, but it’s a handy feature for those who would rather just leave their iPhone in the PhoneSoap overnight. It’s worth noting here that PhoneSoap also now sells a Qi wireless version for $40 more.
Using PhoneSoap is otherwise very straightforward. Put your iPhone inside, optionally plugging in a Lightning cable to charge it, and close the lid. PhoneSoap will bathe your iPhone in UV-C light for 10 minutes, after which the light automatically shuts off. The lightning bolt logo on top of PhoneSoap will illuminate while it’s in cleaning mode, but there’s also no need to wait for the cycle to complete if you suddenly need to use your iPhone — for example if it starts ringing while inside. Simply open PhoneSoap and the light will turn off and you can take out your iPhone and carry on.
Inside the unit are two UV-C bulbs — one on each side — along with reflective paint to make sure that the UV-C light reaches every nook and cranny of your iPhone. The bulbs themselves are rated for 4,000 hours, which equates to 24,000 uses of PhoneSoap before they burn out, but the company also backs them with a lifetime warranty and promises to replace them for free if they burn out before that. To those unfamiliar with the practice, the method itself of disinfecting with UV-C light may sound like a gimmick, but it’s actually a sound scientific method known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation that’s been in use for over 100 years, and is quite common in products like electric toothbruses. We’re obviously not equipped to actually test the effectiveness of PhoneSoap 3 at removing germs and bacteria, but we think it’s safe to defer to experts on this one.
PhoneSoap 3 solves a problem that many iPhone users probably don’t even know that they have, since of course germs and bacteria are basically invisible to the naked eye. If you’re anything like us you’ve never given much thought to what’s lurking on the surface of your iPhone, because of course Apple does a great job of making it always look shiny and clean. However, as soon as you stop to take a minute to actually think about the many ways and places in which you use your iPhone, and then consider how rarely you actually even wipe it off with any kind of cleaning solution, it’s probably safe to say that even the least diligent of us wash our hands significantly more often than we wash our iPhones, yet turn around and pull our iPhones out of our pockets again to check our messages and social media feeds before we’ve even made it ten feet away from the sink. It’s also important to keep in mind that PhoneSoap isn’t limited to just being used on your iPhone; anything that you can fit into the compartment can be disinfected with UV-C light, including keys, money, cards, and more, and with only 10 minutes requires for a complete cycle, you can easily use one PhoneSoap to handle the smartphones for your whole family. We think PhoneSoap is a great idea and an effective way to significantly reduce the amount of invisible bacteria you’re carrying around in your pocket.