There are many ways to prevent catching an illness, from washing your hands to avoiding close contact with others. However, most of the time, we don’t know when germs are in the air around us. This increases the chance of becoming ill, especially as more contact takes place inside during the colder months, rather than in the open air.
We've already looked at how to keep cold and flu out of the home with a winter cleaning checklist, but now let's consider the devices that also help to keep germs at bay. Each gadget on this list is designed with certain features to remove bacteria and viruses from the home, preventing future transmission and infection.
Keep reading to find out what they are, and what you can do to keep your safe space even safer.
1. Air Purifier
Air purifiers are a must-have in the home, especially during the winter months when the chances of catching a cold-related illness are much higher. The best air purifiers can do many things, from improving the air quality in your home to removing allergens, particles and pollution. If you’re sharing a space with a serial snuffler, you can reduce the chances of catching anything by investing in an air purifier that can eliminate colds and viruses from the air.
One air purifier to consider would be from Blueair’s HealthProtect range, especially as each model is equipped with GermShield technology. This proactively monitors the room using temperature and humidity sensors, automatically activating when conditions are optimal for germ growth. GermShield uses a low air draft to ensure no new growth of germs, and plasma charging to deactivate existing viruses and bacteria on the filters.
2. Robot vacuum cleaner
Robot vacuum cleaners are also a great way to avoid contamination and germs from entering the home. Not only are they designed to actively suction up the dust containing the bacteria, but a lot of models also have self-emptying features that mean you don't have to go anywhere near it. This is also great for allergy sufferers at any point of the year.
One model we'd recommend is the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, currently at the top spot in our best robot vacuum cleaner buying guide. It mops and vacuums at the same time before coming back to base and ejecting the dust and debris. It then cleans its own mop, meaning you barely have to lift a finger. Its docking station has two liquid containers – one for clean water and the other for dirty water – and a large bagged dustbin for the dust and debris.
3. Smart lock
Investing in one of the best smart locks not only means you can have keyless entry for anyone entering your home, it also reduces the risk of bacteria entering your home. Whilst some models still require contact, either through a keypad or fingerprint technology, a lot of them don't.
The Ultion Nuki Plus can be operated in multiple ways, including keycodes, voice commands, the Nuki app, key fob, fingerprint access and a police-approved key with Apple Find My technology. The Ultion Nuki Plus is also compatible with Ring, Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. This gives a variety of different ways to access the home, but using voice commands or the app takes away the need for physical contact and limit the transmission of germs.
4. Smart thermostat
A lot of bacteria, including Legionella, are active when temperatures are between 20-45°C. They become dormant below 20°C and do not survive above 60°C, meaning our home's environment can be a breeding ground for lots of nasties. As well as a thorough cleaning routine, smart thermostats are also a great way to control the presence of bacteria within our walls. When it comes to viruses, the best smart thermostats can also monitor and adjust the humidity in your home to discourage viral transmissions.
The 3rd-gen Google Nest Thermostat has a Bacteria Prevention feature, working with both On/Off hot water systems and OpenTherm hot water system boilers. To help prevent bacterial growth, the thermostat will heat your hot water tank if it hasn’t been heated for at least two consecutive hours in the last 48 hours. It also has a humidity sensor that can help regulate the humidity levels within the home.
5. Smart bulb
You might not expect this one, but smart light bulbs can also work efficiently at keeping bacteria and germs away from the home. UV light is incredibly fast and effective at wiping out bacteria and viruses, so investing in a smart bulb that has this feature could be a good move. However, some forms of UV light have the potential to do some pretty major damage to human bodies, so make sure you research before you buy.
As well as acting like 'regular' lightbulb, the LIFX smart bulb has LED diodes can emit light at a wavelength of 405nm, known as HEV (High Energy Visible) light. It's scientifically proven to eliminate bacteria through exposure at certain lengths of time, lettng you schedule a Clean Cycle during the hours you're not using a room. The HEV light will then kick in and clean your home as you sleep or shop. It's also a safe option as HEV can kill germs, but remains safe for your family, pets and plants.