Attractive UV-C LED Generating pen, with a convenient carry case but questionable cleansing power.
2020 has certainly been a crazy year, and I suspect that most hope for a less stressful 2021. With a lack of toilet paper, food/cleaning product scarcities, and limited deliveries, we have made several adjustments. To reduce the risks of infection, I have followed the CDC’s recommendations to socially distance, not gather, wear masks, and increase the frequency of hand/surface cleansing. One technology that I have explored has been UV-C sanitizers. With the power of the germicidal, DNA-damaging 254nm-280nm wavelength light, I hoped to reduce the contaminants/growths on those surfaces that I touch most frequently.
The CASEWASH UV-C Sanitizing pen arrived in a sterile-white 3 1/8 inches wide by 6 3/4 inches tall by 1 1/2 inches thick retail package. The product title was clearly visible along the top, printed in an attractive grey and shimmering-silver font. Along the left side of the panel, you will find a grey icon detailing the 99.9% germ-killing “in as little as 10 seconds” and a secondary icon detailing the built-in battery (4 hours before recharging). The cover’s main focal point was the 4 3/8 inches tall by 2 inches wide front/rear view of the sanitizing pen. I loved how they presented the case, demonstrated the light cleansing properties, and the overall layout of the screen. Both informational and attractive, they did a great job of not overpowering the panel. The right side panel listed the CASEWASH name and Facebook/Instagram logos. The left side panel provided three icons: 1. 99.9% Germ UV-C Light Rapid killing properties. 2. Quick Clean: With as little as 10 seconds of UV-C light can rid items of germs. 3. Portable: Pocket-Sized and convenient travel pouch included. The rear panel provided a useful image of the UV-C pen and several devices with a purple glowing halo representing the cleansing properties of the device. The same shimmering UV-C Sanitizing pen was placed below the image. Along the middle of the panel, you will find information about the touch panel button, the auto-off feature, the product contents (UV_C pen, USB-C cable 1MORE/3.3 foot, carrying pouch, instruction manual), and product specifications: CWUVCPENWHT model number, 5V/1A input, 15-18mW output, 800mAh battery, 10-30 sec sanitizing time, 40 min charging time, 4 hour operation time, 10,000-hour bulb lifespan, 1-2 inch distance, 128x31x10.3mm dimensions, 2.12 oz weight. For more information about the product, you can scan the QR code along the bottom of the panel (www.casewash.com), and you can read the UV-C cautionary warning.
Removing the product from the packaging proved to be a little more challenging than it initially appeared. I tried grabbing the plastic hanging tab to pull upward, but the inner tray would not slide out. I tried pushing downward and met the same resistance. I looked to the cover and found two small slits with plastic wings jutting outward. I tried pressing them in, I tried cutting them off, and I still could not easily remove the pen/contents. Using the edge of a pair of scissors, I sliced the cardboard along one of the edges and then removed the inner tray. I slid the 2 3/4 inches wide by 6 1/4 inches by 9/16 inches wide accessory box and plastic-wrapped pen UV-C Pen out of the tray. Within the tray, I found a 1 3/4 inches wide by 5 3/8 inches tall leather carry case, 40 1/4 inches wide USB-A to USB-C cable, and 12-page instruction manual. The manual was well written, well layer out, and easy to peruse. The second page detailed the instruction for use (Tap on/off button twice to turn on the device, tap and hold the on/off button to turn off the device). The third panel showed a front/back image of the UV-C pen, and the fourth page showed a hovering device 1-2 inches above the surface of a computer. There was a panel about charging and other cautionary statements: 1. avoid looking into the light. 2. Do not use it on your skin. The posterior panels showed other important safety information, disposal information and relisted the UV-C pen specs.
Excited about the product, I removed the 2.12-ounce, 5 inches tall by 1 1/4 inches wide, UV-C pen. The grey main panel had the CASEWASH name along the bottom, the UV-C LED Kills 99.9% of GERMS along the top, and a single 1/4 inch diameter touch-button. The back panel had a 1 1/8 inches tall by 11/32 inches wide bank of three LEDs along the top, a red “Warning UV Light Don’t expose eyes or skin along the middle, and product specifications along the bottom. Along the lower rim of the UV-C pen, you will find the USB-C charging port. To test the product’s cleansing nature, I reached out to my local lab director and obtained four sterile swabs and four blood agar plates. I swabbed my iPhone 12 Pro Max’s surface with one sterile swab and then swabbed the touchpad of my work laptop with another. For the second step, I tapped the power button twice and activated the UV-C pen. I visually divided my phone into fourths and bathed each section’s surface with UV-C for thirty seconds. I made sure to sweep slightly over each of the four segments and kept the light closer than two inches. I then re-swabbed the same sanitized surfaces with new swabs, labeled the agar plates pre/post, and incubated them at 98 degrees for forty-eight hours.
I wish that I could say that the device lived up to the promised germ-killing expectations, but alas, it did not. Both the phone and laptop surfaces showed a good amount of cleansing but nowhere near 99.9%. This one test cannot disprove their assertion, but it was not as strong of a cleansing as I would have hoped, especially since the Homesoap and ADONIT NOTE-UVC showed nearly universal growth suppression. I think the 10-30 second claim may be a bit below the needed threshold to eliminate the 99.9% of growth. I made sure to follow the instructions, I made sure to use the UV-C filter at 1-2 inches from the surface, and I made sure to cleanse for at least 30 seconds. I liked the auto-off safety feature, whereby the light turned off if flipped upward. This feature protected the eyes/face of the user and was greatly appreciated. It was easy to charge, the button combinations were well designed, easy to carry, and the accessory case was a nice bonus. I hated that I had to destroy the box to remove the pen and felt it might have been a bit of a design flaw. Despite the attractiveness of the device, I cannot recommend it as a safety/cleaning device. For now, I will continue to spray my microfiber and WOOSH cloths with 70% alcohol and will continue to wipe the surfaces. Twice daily, I have been cleaning my phone with the HomeSoap device. I had hoped to use this device to sterilize my phone screen and trackpad quickly. However, at this time, I cannot trust the device to cleanse the surfaces thoroughly.