GOLETA, Calif. - As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed this week, COVID-19 can spread via droplets that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. The CDC says this airborne transmission can even infect people who are more than six feet away from an infected person.
Several businesses are now investing in new technology to clean their indoor spaces.
One of them, E Salon in Goleta, has invested in a bi-polar ionization device that is installed within the salon's air system.
“I just think this is a good path to the future," E Salon owner Eleni Tziouvaras said.
According to manufacturer iWave, the device emits ions that kill passing bacteria, mold or viruses by removing their hydrogen molecules.
The devices can not guarantee a completely coronavirus-free environment, but iWave says in a test environment, its technology removes 99.4 percent of COVID-19 within a chamber after 30 minutes.
iWave also says its devices' ions also attach to allergens such as pollen or smoke, causing them to band together and be more easily caught by air filters.
“People come in and they notice it right away,” Tziouvaras said. “They’re just like ‘Oh wow, this is really nice in here. It’s like really, it just smells clean.’
Tziouvaras also looked into using ultraviolet light to clean the inside of her salon, but eventually opted to invest in the bipolar ionization device.
She says that while the device is not a substitute for wearing masks or cleaning surfaces inside, it has made the air feel crisper and given her more peace of mind.
“It makes me feel really good because I feel like there’s more safety inside,” she said. “So people don’t feel nervous about coming inside.”
A local contractor who installed the salon's device says the technology is becoming more popular with business owners looking to keep their air as clean as possible.
The contractor says he has installed a dozen of the devices in the Santa Barbara area and that they currently represent the best technology available for removing viruses from the air.
Some hospitals and airports around the country have begun installing bi-polar ionization devices to combat COVID-19 and other viruses.