You don't know where that headrest has been.
The HeadDEFENDER covers the top of your airplane seat.
Credit: Courtesy of HeadDEFENDER

When stuck in an airplane, there isn't a whole lot travelers can do to avoid germs — save boarding armed with bottles of disinfectant.

But for travelers who prefer less smelly options, the HeadDEFENDER is a personal headrest cover that lets passengers protect their heads from the back of their seat.

“I won’t forget one particular flight that awakened my germ consciousness,” the product's creator Keely Watson told Travel + Leisure. “As I was walking down the aisle, someone was trying to pass me. To balance myself, I touched the top of a headrest and felt something that disgusted me. As I remember it, it was wet, sticky, and had a mucous-like consistency.” (This experience would also convince us to always cover our headrest.)

The seat cover is made from a non-toxic “bacteria-killing shield,” according to the company. It is hypoallergenic and claims to kill 99.9 percent of “disease causing microbes including MRSA and Staph.”

The HeadDEFENDER covers the top of your airplane seat.
Credit: Courtesy of HeadDEFENDER

The cover also promises to protect travelers from dandruff, hair left behind on the seat by previous passengers, hair oils and dried sweat.

“After speaking with a number of flight attendants, they admitted that they rarely clean seats,” said Watson. “There is no mandate that states a plane be cleaned daily or weekly. Airline companies do have standards and the plane usually gets a good cleaning at the end of the day, but between flights it is minimal.”

The seat cover comes in a pouch that can be zipped up and quickly placed on headrests. According to manufacturers, it was designed to not interfere with the passenger behind — but it never hurts to double check while sliding it on.

If covering the headrest isn't enough for you, there are also covers like GermFreeBee for the entire seat.

HeadDEFENDER comes in two different sizes — one original and one extended size for shorter passengers — and five different colors. The covers cost $14.99 and 17.49, depending on size.