HOWTO: Wuhan Hook

akiba 2020-03-16

Some of the things that really impressed me from all the footage that came out of the Coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan were the ingenious hacks people were using to protect themselves. From homemade masks to plastic bottle face helmets, there were some really interesting things people were doing. One hack that really caught my eye was a hook that prevented people from having to touch many surfaces. Not only could it be used for isolation, but it came with its own disinfection mechanism. I don’t know the name for it, so I will call it “The Wuhan Hook”.

It’s actually a simple hex wrench taped to a lighter. The hex wrench forms a hook that can be used to pull or push things like doors, buttons, etc. After it’s used to touch a surface, the lighter can be activated to disinfect the hook. Here is how to build it:

  • First, you’ll need these three things: a metal hex wrench (preferably not too big since it’s harder to heat), lighter, and some type of fairly strong tape

  • Tape the hook to the lighter with the hook pointing towards the ignition button

  • Adjust the flame height and also the height of the hook so it will sit squarely in the flame when the lighter is turned on. You’ll also want enough of a gap so that you can use it to pull most things like door handles.

  • Once the everything is adjusted, put a lot of tape on it and tape it down tight so that it will stay fairly fixed in place. This will now also form your handle for the hook.

  • The tape isn’t super strong so you’ll have to use your hand to reinforce the hook, but you can now use it to pull or push open doors and push elevator buttons, etc.

  • After you use it to touch a surface, turn it on and heat the hook to kill any microbes on it. It’s then ready for another use.

Hope you find it useful and good luck. Feel free to comment if you have questions or just want to throw down your opinion.


  1. Greetings and thank you for posting this article about creative solutions at the very beginning of the pandemic!

    This awesome idea inspired me to consider as a sculptor ’what would be the ideal shape for a metal piece to replace the hex wrench?’ After a few months of work, I’ve replaced not only the hex key, but also replaced the lighter by a passively self-sanitizing material – copper (99,95%).

    The solution is formally quite different from this, but the principle is the same: it is not about just avoiding or deceasing chances of transmission (like ”touch tools” and ”door openers”), but about eliminating them without a chance you’ll touch them. This is the Space Key’s advantage – that I saw this Hackerfarm article as my first introduction to the idea! In the spirit of DUY & hacking, the design is open-source 🙂 Thank You

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