I would say that I am very aware of the possibility of coming in contact with unwanted germs when I travel. I'm not a germaphobe or overly obsessed with sanitizing every surface I come in contact with (Mrs. In The Loop usually takes care of that for me), but I realize that whenever we mingle with larger crowds, we are at a higher risk of catching something we don't want.
It's because of these situations that companies devise products aimed at limiting or eliminating germs and bacteria that we might encounter. HeadDEFENDER sent me one of its deluxe extended headrest covers to try out.
The cover slides over plane, train or a movie theater seats, for example, and claims to kill 99.9 percent of disease-causing microbes. The idea is that the cover keeps bacteria, hair, dander, flakes and any other ickiness that might be left behind on the seats from coming into contact with your head, neck or face.
Sounds great! So, how does it work?
The science stuff: A HeadDEFENDER cover has a non-toxic, hypoallegenic, antimicrobial barrier built into the fabric. Microbes, including MRSA and staph, have their thin cell walls punctured and ripped apart by the molecular barrier on the headrest cover. Sounds violent! Those damn disease-causing microbes deserve it.
I'm no scientist. I'll trust the technology works.
The practical stuff for a traveler: What I do know is that the headrest cover is light and folds into itself into a neat compact shape that can be zippered shut and easily carried along until you reach your seat. It's also soft, so your head is comfy. It felt fine when I rested my bald head against it.
I used it on a plane trip. What I decided to do was explain to my fellow passenger seated directly behind me that I was going to put the slipcover on my headrest. The Frontier jet has back-of-seat TV screens that the cover partially obscures (about half the screen, actually) when it is pulled on completely to a snug fit over the headrest. The TV screens were not being used on this particular two-hour flight. (By the way, that's two flights in a row with no in-flight entertainment on my TV screen Frontier. What's up with that?)
On planes when TV screens are in use, you would have to get permission from the person behind you to use your HeadDEFENDER and possibly tweak how your would place the cover over the seat so as not to block his or her screen.
In movie theaters, on trains, in barber chairs, etc., the HeadDEFENDER would work with no complications.
Company CEO Keely Watson says the HeadDEFENDER is long-lasting and is designed to stand up to regular cleaning.
"The HD can be washed more than 30 times. it's not until after the 30th wash when the integrated antimicrobial solution will begin to fade on the HD," he says.
I asked him how often it should be washed. "It's up to the user. For the most sanitary conditions, it should be washed after every trip or as often as the traveler needs it washed to feel like they have a sanitary zone of comfort. I've used mine on five trips before throwing it in the wash. For example, people wear jackets a number of times before having them cleaned or washing them, so every consumer is different."
The bottom line: I like the HeadDEFENDER. Like I said, I'm no germaphobe, but this is easy to use, simply to pack and gives a sense of added comfort and cleanliness. Available at headdefender.com and on Amazon.com, the price is $34.99 for the deluxe version, which might be a bit steep for a few dozen fully effective uses before the microbial barrier breaks down. You'll also likely face occasional scenarios on a plane in which a fellow plane passenger finds that the device is affecting the TV screen on the back of your headrest.
Thanks for reading,
Travel fit! Travel healthy!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Several readers expressed interest in this product after seeing my review, so I added a link to Amazon.com below for you to shop for your own. Thanks again for your support.