Will UV Light Disinfect Hard Surfaces?
Can UV light disinfect hard surfaces during a coronavirus pandemic? We went on a mission to find out. We wanted to know if it was a reliable way to help protect our household, and yours.
Learning About UV Rays
First, we learned that there are three types of UV light. There is UVA, UVB, and UVC. Natural sunlight contains these three types of rays. UVA is best known for our suntans and responsible for our skin’s ageing.
UVB rays have the potential to damage our skin’s DNA. These rays are responsible for sunburn and can also lead to cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can be blocked by a good sunscreen.
The UV light that helps kill pathogens, and other genetic material, is UVC. Thanks to the earth’s ozone layer, UVC is filtered out before reaching us. In 1878, it was discovered that scientists could create artificial UVC. Since that time, UVC is a go-to method for sterilization of inanimate objects. This is especially true in hospitals.
Personal UVC Devices
UVC devices, in the form of large equipment, are available for rooms, offices, airplanes and the like. For instance, in China, UV light is being used on buses each night to disinfect them of the coronavirus.
But what about for someone’s household or personal use? Are there effective devices that someone like you or I could purchase? We found that there are.
With the onset of the pandemic, personal UV lights are selling like hot cakes. Many stores are out of stock. We wondered, however, if these were a gimmick or if they are actually effective.
How They Work
For years, powerful UVC has been used all around the world for decontaminating things like surgical tools, hospital rooms, or restaurant kitchens. However, during decontamination, people cannot be present. This light has been linked to skin cancer and other disease.
Recently, however, scientists have found a way to make adjustments that continue to kill bacteria and viruses without harming human skin. This is great news.
Studies Show That Personal UV Light Devices Are Effective
Before the pandemic, a UV light toothbrush sanitizer was on the market. A 2008 study showed that after its use, 86% of the ‘yucky’ stuff was killed.
Fast forward, and personal sterilizing wands are on the market. These are helpful as they allow you to wave it over things like countertops, cabinets, bedding etc. and claim to work in seconds. In 2014, a study by the American Journal of Infection Control tested their efficacy. It was found that they killed 100% of commonly found bacteria in five seconds and harder to kill bacteria in 40 seconds. Additional studies were performed by other parties and found that the way a personal device is used plays a part in its efficacy. It goes on to suggest that following each devices individual instructions are important for success.
Finally, as a reminder, UVC wands should never be used on a person and we must continue to wash our hands regularly.
Where to Buy a Personal UV Light Device
In today’s climate, we suggest that you shop online, of course. We’ve found that Amazon, as of the writing of this article, still has several choices. Forbes online published this article about their pics. And a year ago, before we knew about coronavirus, this article was written. However, we cannot make a recommendation about which is most effective. We encourage you to do your own research, read reviews, and compare products.
In the interim, continue to manually disinfect your countertops, phones (yes, your phones) and other hard surfaces with the proper cleaning materials and keep on washing your hands.