There are few things more unsettling about air travel than cramped, contaminated onboard bathrooms, but Boeing is easing travelers’ minds with their new self-cleaning lavatories. Using a frequency of far UV light that obliterates 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses after every use, the new bathrooms could revolutionize airplane comfort.
The prototype of every passenger’s dreams features touchless soap dispensers, faucets, trash flaps, and even toilet seats so there are less pathogens on surfaces to begin with. Far UV light fixtures then flood every surface after passenger use and kill harmful microbes. Teresa King, Boeing Engineering Project Manager, explains how far UV light is different than the harmful ultraviolet A and B lights used in tanning beds and makes for a cleaner space. “This sanitizing even eliminates odors from bacteria so that passengers can have a more pleasant experience,” she said.
The bathroom’s cleaning response is automatic, kicking into action once it senses someone has left the room. All surfaces are blasted with far UV light, including the toilet seat, which lifts on its own. The whole self-cleaning process takes about three seconds. Even more touch-free technology is being developed for the lavatories and the prototype is being considered as a Crystal Cabin Award finalist.