Everyone is grossed out by airplane bathrooms — but Boeing wants to change that.
The aircraft manufacturer says it’s developed a self-cleaning restroom for planes. The bathrooms are designed so that they can be bathed in an ultraviolet (UV) light for just three seconds, killing 99.99% of germs.
The lights are “positioned throughout the lavatory to flood the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and countertops with the UV light once a person exits the lavatory. This sanitizing even helps eliminate odors,” said Jeanne Yu, Boeing’s director of environmental performance.
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The company said in a press release that the process uses “Far UV” light, which is distinct from the UV lights that can cause skin cancer and not harmful to people.
“It’s for use while you’re in the air, to disinfect between those deeper cleanings,” company spokesperson Bret Jensen said.
He added that the technology is still in the testing phases, but it can potentially be installed in lavatories on existing planes.
Boeing’s new bathroom design also features a toilet seat that opens and closes automatically to expose all surfaces during the cleaning cycle, as well as a hands-free faucet, soap dispenser, trash can, hand dryer, toilet lid and seat.
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A “hands-free door latch and a vacuum vent system for the floor are also under study, all to keep the lavatory as hygienic as possible,” Boeing ( said. The company added that prototype testing has shown that “these innovations can minimize the growth and potential transmission of disease-causing microorganisms.” )
The company says it has applied to patent for the concept.
–CNN’s Aaron Cooper contributed to this report