Have you ever been on an international flight and needed to use the bathrooms? You know that they’ve been used multiple times and you’ve seen how dirty they get. Well, this hasn’t escaped the engineers at Boeing either. According to the Boeing website, engineers have built a prototype lavatory that uses
far UV light, which is different from the ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B light used in tanning beds or grow lights, so it’s not harmful to humans. It is harmful to bacteria and pathogens and kills those organisms that are left on the surfaces of the lavatory… We believe that using the far UV is the key to making those surfaces cleaner… We position the lights throughout the lavatory so that it floods the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink, countertops, etc. with the UV light. This sanitizing even eliminates odors from bacteria so that passengers can have a more pleasant experience.
The UV light would only be activated once the lavatory is empty and the door has closed. The cleaning cycle would be completed in less than three seconds after each use. While building the prototype the engineers also incorporated many hands-free devices like “faucets, a soap dispenser, trash flap, the toilet lid and seat, door latch and a vacuum-vent system for the floor”. I’ve been on those long international flights and I truly hope they incorporate these changes into their fleet of planes – the sooner the better.
The following video illustrates the working prototype: