Nov 6, 2006

The growing germophobe market

New products range from a portable subway strap to a device that sprays restroom doors with disinfectant.
At the grass roots, antigerm innovation is furious:

• Sandra Barbor, 60, of Sandwich, Ill., was always bothered by having to grasp the handles of shopping carts, and when her husband was found to have myelodysplastic syndrome, which compromised his immune system, she was driven to invent the Sani-Shopping Cover, a $3.49 strip of protective vinyl that adheres to cart handles. Ms. Barbor, a retired marketer, has sold about 1,000 covers online.

• Hotel guests, concerned that bedspreads are not washed as frequently as sheets, have taken to whisking them off the bed on arrival and throwing them, bottom side up, into a corner. Marriott hotels responded last year with a bedding concept called Revive. Comforters are encased in white cotton covers, which are washed with the bedsheets.

• On the Internet frequent travelers caution about the dirtiness of hotel television remotes (suggestions include carrying a plastic bag to sheathe these button-covered germ magnets) and room coffee mugs. (Maids, the discussion-board wisdom goes, do not replace them with properly washed ones but use the towels they used to clean the toilet to swab dirty cups.)

My supermarket has wipes next to the door so you can wipe off the handles of the shopping cart. I seldom remember to do this. And I'd never even thought about hotel bedspreads until I read this.

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