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Last year, if you asked someone what face mask they use, they would have assumed you were talking about skin care — not a fabric mask with multiple layers of cotton. Toilet paper shortages and hand sanitizer stock piles also would not have been a thought on anyone's mind at around this time last year. So with all of the changes that 2020 has brought, it's not surprising that numerous inventions have been popping up over the course of the year to help us adapt to the new normal.
From a clever face mask hack to chic yet functional face mask accessories, we've been introduced to tons of items that make navigating this unprecedented time just a little bit easier. Yahoo! Life Contributing Editor Chassie Post stopped by Hoda and Jenna to share some of these unique tools and gadgets that have taken on new uses in 2020, from a seat cover to a cleaning robot.
Whether you could use some peace of mind for upcoming holiday travel or have been searching for a solution to make wearing a mask easier, there's something on Post's list for everyone. Read on for all of the items that make sense for anyone to use during 2020.
We all might be a little more germ-conscious now more than ever, so earlier this year Florida-based dentist Billy Kay created a cake shield to protect birthday cakes from the particles dispersed when the candles are blown out. It's designed to fit cakes of all shapes and sizes and protect them from all angles, whether you're enjoying an entire round cake or just a slice.
Even if we won't be flying again for some time, we'll be looking forward to doing it safely. So, when Broadway costume designer Angela Aaron lost her full-time job due to the pandemic she set out to devote her time to her company, NiceSeats. The company makes a variety of washable airplane seat covers that act as a barrier between the flyer and the seat, giving them peace of mind when they fly.
Under the Weather was making WeatherPods before the pandemic for outdoor activities, but in July the brand pivoted to introduce the ShieldPod, originally designed for healthcare workers. As protective equipment becomes part of our "new normal," the ShieldPod has been modified for use by the general public. It features padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to keep it in place, while the clear panels allow for a wide view of your surroundings.
To help reduce the amount of clunky hand sanitizer bottles he had to carry around when leaving the house, professional artist Benjamin Anderson designed a wristband that would help keep this travel essential at-hand at all times. Each HandiGuru kit includes a recyclable wristband, squeeze bottle and specially designed applicator tip to easily refill the wristband with hand sanitizer, sunscreen and more.
Similar in concept, Safe Hands Wristband comes in nine different colorways that can be adjusted to fit both adults and children.
Designed for peace of mind in hotel rooms, the Cleansebot removes bacteria from hotel sheets in minutes. It uses UV-C light to disinfect bacteria on the bed, as well as kill germs and dust mites in its path. With 18 different sensors and four UV-C lamps, the robot can also glide on top of and in-between sheets to give you a comfortable night's sleep.
ADCO typically creates products for those hard of hearing, such as alarm clocks and TV amplifiers, but the brand expanded its product line this year with the introduction of the "communication window masks." The masks are machine washable and feature adjustable ear locks, as well as a vinyl window that allows others to read lips with ease. The masks meet three primary guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mask wearing, as they are made from multiple, washable layers of fabric, completely cover the nose and mouth and also fit snugly against the side of the face.
8. The Shmask
Invented by a mom of three, The Shmask is the first shirt with an attached face covering for kids and adults alike. You won't have to worry about losing your mask or keeping track of it, since it's attached to the shirt at all times. It's available in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs that are crafted from a blend of cotton, modal and spandex for a soft and easy-to-wear feel.
Another travel-friendly find is this sleep cocoon that is made from an antimicrobial fabric — a blend of bamboo rayon and anti-microbial-treated cotton. As you sleep, your body heat helps to activate silver ions within the fabric, keeping bacteria, mold and other germs at bay, so you can have some peace of mind, whether you're in a hotel room, Airbnb or any other travel destination.
If you prefer to keep things touch-free, these functional keychains are a stylish way to minimize your interaction with high-touch surfaces. Accessory brand The Sis Kiss has several stylish options available that can help open doors, press buttons and more.
KeySmart's hand tool is crafted with brass alloy made with 70% copper, which the brand says is an effective anti-microbial material. The ergonomic design makes it easy to open doors, use touch screens, press buttons and even pull levers while drastically reducing the point-of-contact areas you encounter throughout the day.
A Georgia school teacher made this face mask hack go viral just a few months ago, and the bestselling tool doesn't seem like it will be going anywhere anytime soon. It can be used under a variety of masks to help the wearer breathe easier, reduce "maskne" and prevent makeup from rubbing off on face masks, too.
This sanitizing desk lamp from Ottlite is set to debut by the end of this month. The brand claims that the average work desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat, and the patented technology in the SpectraClean sanitizing lamp can break down harmful microorganisms like bacteria and mold safely while you work.
Not only does this fabric steamer from Conair eliminate wrinkles, but the brand says it can also eliminate bacteria, too. For clothing items that can't be thrown in the washing machine, the steam from this steamer can be used to freshen up items like couches, sneakers, pet beds and more. The hot steam, which is produced at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, can also kill flu viruses and remove odors.
For smaller areas of the home, this UV-C sanitizer from Homedics can eliminate harmful pathogens like bacteria, mold and more from the air. It's perfect for bathrooms, laundry rooms and other small spaces that could use cleaner, fresher air, and also features a motion sensor and night light for convenience.
16. ZShield Wrap
This lightweight face shield mounts on the neck rather than the top of the head, and is designed for all-day wear. The washable visor wraps around the face of the wearer for an optimal fit, but can also be detached when necessary. It's available in five different colors and can also be customized upon request.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Here's the face mask that celebrities can't stop wearing
- This lightweight $10 face mask is keeping me comfortable in the summer heat
- Face mask accessories are taking over Instagram — here are 31 stylish options