PROVO – PhoneSoap is known for making UV sanitizers for phones and other electronics. Now, they have helped invent a mask sanitizing machine that is being used at local hospitals.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals were dealing with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
PhoneSoap co-founder Wesley LaPorte says several health care agencies around the state asked them to figure out a way to disinfect and extend the life of badly needed PPE.
“[Many masks] perform best when they’re used once and then thrown away. But there was a critical need where [hospital workers] were using them for multiple days,” LaPorte says.
Fellow co-founder Dan Barnes agrees.
“It was very important to find some solution to cover that gap between when they could get enough supplies in,” Barnes says.
LaPorte says Dr. Michael Osborn at Utah Valley Hospital helped the company develop the mask sanitizing machine so it wouldn’t damage masks.
“There were some studies that came out earlier in the year that showed the effectiveness of certain dosages of UV light on disinfecting masks,” Laporte says.
Once the company figured out the right amount of UV light to use, the machines were developed to hold multiple masks at a time without touching.
PhoneSoap has donated the mask sanitizer machines to Utah Valley Hospital and the Utah Health Department.
They plan on distributing them to other hospitals around the country soon.
They are also telling people not to put their masks in their personal PhoneSoap machines. It will damage the masks, and they will become unusable.