Introduction: UV Shoe Sanitizer Box
[UPDATE: 2 years later...]
It actually worked, it's been 3 summers now (I've been moving from US to Brazil back and forth) and i actually got rid of my foot fungi! So now I can advise this with personal experience! =)
Hello, DIY community!
As a frequent traveller, something like two years ago I have acquired a foot fungus disease from some hotel shower (And after I noticed that I've got it from there, I've never taken a shower in public places without some slippers on!).
After trying medical talcum powders and many hygiene precautions, I've noticed that the fungi sometimes seemed to have been taken care of, but they promptly came back some months later, in some sort of cyclic behavior.
After visiting back my doctor, he told me to have a spare pair of shoes, and leave the unused ones on the sun every day. But I couldn't do that because I don't stay home while the sun is shining, and therefore nobody would be home to take the shoes back inside in case of a rain.
All this prelude is just because I've noticed that my doctor recommended that I left my shoes on the sun for two reasons: Heat and UV Radiation!
Heat would evaporate the leftover moisture on the shoes, while UV light would kill the leftover fungi.
Then I found this product, which you might already know about (link below). Unfortunately, in my country this kind of product is unavailable, and it would be pretty expensive to import it right now because of the current currency devaluation.
I've searched all around Instructables for instructions on doing something similar, but I've found nothing alike! So I've decided to make this project come to life, and also make instructions on it!
So, let's get it started!
Step 1: CAUTION! a Word of Warning About UV Lights
First of all, be aware when doing this instructable! Ultraviolet radiation is very dangerous, specially the one which is used here.
There are three types of UV radiation: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. The first is the least dangerous, being used on Black-Light lamps. It is pretty harmless to humans in light doses. UV-B is a more energectic radiation, and it is related to sunburns, skin cancer and cataracts. Finally, UV-C is even more energectic, and therefore even more dangerous.
UV-C radiation is referred to as "germicidal radiation" because it interacts with DNA molecules in simple organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses), rendering them harmless and non-reproducible. Also, it destroys human cells and this is the reason why it is related to skin cancer. If you're interested in doing this instructable, I recommend you to read this pdf, which has detailed procedures on how to deal with this kind of radiation:
We will be using UV-C lamps here (germicidal lamps). So, read the instructions and be safe!
Step 2: Make the Lamp Supports and Wire Them!
First of all, buy the lamps. Actually, I wanted to buy a 4-pin, single-ended, four-watt germicidal lamp like the one in the link below, but all I've found in the local stores were common 4-pin, double-ended lamps. I ended up buying the least power, which was actually 8W. (See the pictures).
For this reason, I had to build a wooden support for the lamp, which had to be thin enough to fit inside the shoes with the lamp mounted on it. This piece of square, 20x20mm wood was lying around and I decided to take it for this project, anyways.
After that, I've wired it to a ballast, rendering the configuration shown in the pictures.
Step 3: Make a Shoe-box!
The lamps are ready to go after the last step. Just stick them inside the shoe and light it up!
Unfortunately my lamps didn't fit inside the shoes totally, and a small portion of them has been left outside, lighting everything else but the shoe. Because the radiation is pretty harmful, I decided to enclose it inside a box. Since there were no shoeboxes available, I've used a milk carton box!
Step 4: Wrap It in Tinfoil!
Since a lot of light might escape through the carton walls of the container, I've decided to wrap it in aluminum foil, which has a 88% reflectance on the UV range that we're working at. Also, I've decided to add a caution sign (obviously in my language) to avoid somebody who might be passing around unadvised.
Step 5: Use It!
I think the images are pretty self-explanatory about how to set-up the machinery.
For what I've read, something around 40 minutes of exposure will suffice to kill the microorganisms. Maybe even less, since they are eight-watt lamps!
After some trials, I noticed that in about 20 minutes the shoes have become warm, which is good. the warmer it is, the drier they'll be. I've exposed them for more than an hour and they didn't catch on fire, which is also very good!!
I think this is all for right now, guys. If you've got any tips on how to make it work better or some technical details that maybe I've misexplained, let me know!
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