SoClean adds device disinfector to resume

PETERBOROUGH- Originally known for its popular sleep equipment sanitizing device for CPAPs, SoClean has branched out with a line of innovative and wellness products as it continues to give back to the community.

SoClean CEO Bob Wilkins said 2020 was a rebuilding year.

“The core product through 2020, and at the beginning of 2020, was our SoClean CPAP disinfector,” he said. “That’s been 95 percent of our business. We’re the number one market share and have sold a couple of million of those.”

Up until 2020, SoClean was gearing up as one of the fastest growing companies, and ’20 was supposed to be a growth year for the firm. Wilkins commented, “It wasn’t.”

“Half our market is new patients coming in,” he stated. “There are 1.5 million CPAP machines sold a year. And around April or May during COVID, people just weren’t going to get in to get a sleep test. So that whole market shut down.”

The concern that people had about going to hospitals for tests wasn’t necessarily the problem, since many sleep labs used to monitor sleep studies are independent.

“Most sleep centers aren’t in hospitals,” Wilkins explained. “They’re private companies, so they shut down for the first three or four months until the mid-summer, until they got approved and cleared and could get their protocols down for disinfecting. You’re talking about going into an environment for eight plus hours and breathing.”

Wilkins said that even though the SoClean machines sales picked up in the third and fourth quarter of ’20, it was only at a rate of 20 percent.

“People just don’t want to go,” he said. “So now there is a whole new round of home sleep tests that have been approved. And if you have sleep apnea, you need to get diagnosed. It’s a critical condition.”

Sleep centers are promoting that as a healthy alternative and Wilkins added that at-home tests are very effective.

In the middle of COVID, SoClean bought the rights to an air purifier. Wilkins called it the best on the market.

“We also launched our device disinfector in February,” he said. “The thought early on was, ‘How can we help disinfect more things that people touch, disinfect masks and just create a better system?’ Clorox wipes were off the shelf in thirty days and they’re still hard to find.”

By placing a wet microtip cloth in SoClean’s device disinfector for five minutes, that cloth can be reused multiple times as a disinfectant polishing wipe.

“We’re into that and launching those products,” Wilkins said. “We’re looking at more stuff in the clean, sustainable space right now. We want to make sure that we’re clean and sustainable and it works.”

The device disinfector itself is about 16 inches wide and ten inches high and customers can place their cell phones, glasses, keys or anything that is touched and needs to be sanitized. There are three cycles and Wilkins said the basic five minute cycle will kill 99 percent of viruses and bacteria.

“The nice thing about that is that gas gets around everything,” he said. “There are a lot of UV lights that are sold out there that don’t work. A true UV that works – you can’t look at. These wand things that people are selling for ten bucks are garbage. They don’t work. There is no proof that they do.”

Wilkins continued by saying that a true UV light, such as that in a wand, would radiate your hand if it was really doing its job correctly.

“The industry is not really good about releasing that information,” he said. “But anything that we do has independent lab tests behind them. We’ve looked at UV a lot of times, but UV has a problem with plastic. If you use UV a lot, it eventually breaks the plastic down and the plastic gets hard and brittle.”

Ozone, as an alternative, is a great natural product, according to Wilkins.

“It’s produced on the fly, through a corona discharge like a lightning strike,” he said. “You can get the ozone in there and use it. It can be used to clean wounds, but you can’t breathe it.”

With SoClean’s device disinfector, the ozone is locked in and once the sanitizing is complete, the machine purges the ozone back through a filter and then turns it back to O2.

“It’s O3 to O2,” Wilkins said. “We’re really moving into that space now. It’s more about cleaning and natural cleaning. We like the wipe ‘space,’ because now you’ve got a wipe that doesn’t have to be thrown away. You can reuse it, disinfect the cloth and continue to use it.”

Wilkins said this wasn’t necessarily part of the narrative before COVID struck. SoClean had initially planned on concentrating on the CPAP cleaners for which they are so well known.

“With the CPAP cleaning machine market being turned upside down, and with the name SoClean, which lends itself to the disinfecting ‘space,’ we decided to really just focus on that, and that is the direction that we’re going.

The decision to make a disinfector came in February when SoClean was actually looking at other products to market.

“We modified that product and made that into the device disinfector,” Wilkins said. “We got that product out in five months, including testing. It was remarkable. The team did a really great job.”

With the demand for products, SoClean is working on yet another product in the disinfectant realm that is sustainable.

“We have a patent on another product that people use,” he stated. “And that product needs to be disinfected daily.”

Giving back to the community during all of this pandemic madness has still been at the forefront for SoClean. Recently, the company donated SoClean device disinfectors to seven area Boys & Girls Club chapters across the state.

The company felt that the organizations, which serve an increasing number of children through socially distanced programs, would benefit from having SoClean disinfectors that can kill viruses and bacteria on items commonly used at the clubs.

“That wasn’t because of marketing,” he explained. “That was because we wanted to help. We have a budget every year and we felt that was a good place to do this.”

The Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls club and the Nashua chapter were two of the locations chosen.

Masks are another area with which SoClean joined the fray.

“We aren’t or weren’t in the business at a certain point, of making masks,” Wilkins said. “I got a call from a friend in February, who had a contact who could get N-95 masks into the country from China.”

The masks were tested and everything was legitimate. Wilkins was concerned however, about paying for the masks up front.

“There are horror stories of that happening and then nothing showing up,” he said. “We’ve got really good contacts in China and Hong Kong and so I called a couple of my friends to see if they could physically go to the factory there to verify these guys. That call was on a Friday afternoon and they went on Saturday.”

The mask endeavor was successful because, Wilkins said, “Everybody cared. They wanted to do something. We really wanted to get the masks to New Hampshire.”

“Through the governor’s office and Dean Kamen’s office, as well as logistic people in our group, we were able to get the appropriate sign-offs,” he said. “And I can’t say enough about the infrastructure that we have around the state. It’s just been fantastic- from capital to the people. I couldn’t imagine what we do in any other place. It’s just been fantastic.”

Having raised the money to purchase the masks, Wilkins said that looking back, that mission to bring masks to the Granite State truly rejuvenated SoClean employees.

“Everyone was so energized by that for three months,” he commented. “I think it took our minds off the stress of the pandemic.”