Space on commercial flights is always at a premium due to the limited size of the aircraft combined the airline companies being desperate to fit as many paying passengers on board as possible. This means facilities are also crammed in, and in the case of bathrooms, very limited. On long haul flights in particular, using the bathroom can be a less than pleasant experience.
Boeing realizes this, and is attempting to do something about it. The company’s solution is a new airplane bathroom that can clean itself in just 3 seconds using UV light. By clean, I mean it kills 99.99% of bacteria on all surfaces within the bathroom, and even goes so far as to automatically lift or lower the toilet seat to ensure complete cleanliness.
The UV light used will not harm humans unlike ultraviolet light A and B (tanning and growing lights), but it is highly effective against bacteria (making them explode). The bathroom has been designed so visitors don’t need to touch anything. The faucet is hands-free, as is the toilet seat, soap dispenser, and trash flap. There is also an automatic hand dryer removing the need for paper towels and the water is UV sanitized as it lows so it’s safe to use for hand washing and teeth brushing. You can even lock the door without touching it, and a vent system in the floor removes odors quickly.
Boeing is calling the idea its Clean Lavatory concept, and it’s short listed for the Crystal Cabin Award which honors innovative cabin designs and ideas. If it’s as good as it sounds, hopefully it will be added to new aircraft quickly and make for a pleasant bathroom experience regardless of how many people use it on a flight.