What Are UV Sanitizers & Do They Really Work?

Sparked by the pandemic, UV sanitization devices have skyrocketed in popularity for their ability to kill up to 99.99% of microorganisms (including germs and viruses) that are living on the surfaces of personal items. Viruses can be tricky —they're microscopic and can live on surfaces for hours without needing direct contact with human skin or bodily fluids to infect you. There are many ways to protect yourself from catching or spreading a virus. But can you protect yourself from the germs living on surfaces when you are at work or in public places? That's where UV sanitizers come in. UV sanitization devices use ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria and viruses on objects like phones, keys, and jewelry. Keep scrolling to discover what you need to know about UV sanitizing devices.

What is UV Radiation?

There are three types of UV radiation: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.

UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation making up the electromagnetic spectrum. The sun is the most common source of UV radiation, and it produces three types of rays: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-A and UV-B light are commonly known for their role in causing sunburn, whereas UV-C light is less common because the ozone layer blocks the UV-C light produced by the sun. This means that the only UV-C light we see is artificial.

UV-C light has remarkable sanitization properties and is commonly used in UV technology to kill viruses and bacteria. Additionally, UV-C radiation has the smallest wavelengths, and it is one used for disinfection. It can be used in our homes and offices — on phones, tech, keys, credit cards, wallets, retainers, face masks, makeup brushes and more—to help stop the spread of germs and protect us from airborne viruses.

How Do UV Sanitizers Work?

The concept of using UV light to sanitize and disinfect isn't new. For example, UV light has been used for years in hospitals to disinfect against superbugs, viruses and to disinfect surgical equipment. While ultraviolet light has been a staple of public health for decades, it's only recently that we've started using it on the micro level.

When the UVC light is applied to your phone or keys, it damages the DNA of microorganisms. This damage prevents them from reproducing and causes them to die off in a matter of minutes.

What Are the Requirements for UV Disinfection?

There are a few requirements for UV light to be effective at disinfecting objects.

The biggest requirement is that the wavelength of the UV light matches the target virus. This can vary for every bacterium and virus, but the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states that UV wavelengths between 240-280 nm are the most effective. To narrow this range even further, the International Ultraviolet Association states that a dose of 253.7 (often rounded to 254) nm UV light at a dose of 40 mJ x cm-2can kill at least 99.99% of pathogenic microorganisms.

When shopping for a UV sterilization device, check its specifications to see if it follows these guidelines. If so, you can rest assured that it is producing the most effective UV wavelength to properly disinfect your jewelry. Another critical component of effective UV light disinfection is that the area being disinfected is clear of anything that would interfere with the ability of the UV-C light to reach the surface of the jewelry. UV disinfection is considered aline-of-sight technology, which means that if the UV-C light is blocked by anything, including dirt, stains, or anything causing shadows, those areas will not be disinfected.

Because of this, the combination of ultrasonic cleaner and UV light disinfectant is beneficial because the ultrasonic cleaner can ensure nothing is sitting on the jewelry’s surface, keeping the UV light from disinfecting the entire surface.

Are UV Sanitizers Effective?

UV sanitizers with the proper wavelengths can kill up to 99.99% of germs on whatever object you put into the device's UV radiation. And, UV light is effective in destroying a range of viruses, including some that are resistant to traditional disinfectants like alcohol and bleach. In a recent study, researchers found that UVC light destroys SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The development of UV devices has accelerated to help prevent virus invasion through the air and after touching contaminated objects. UV light is also effective at killing other viruses as well, including influenza A and rhinovirus (the most common cause of the common cold.

The Takeaway

UV sanitizers make for a quick disinfectant on your phone, keys, and wallet, as well as a range of other items used daily in your home and office. Today’s market is flooded with UV light sanitizing devices - however, not all products are created equal.

For the best sanitizing and cleaning, consider investing in a high-quality Ultrasonic UV light sanitizer, which combines UV-C technology(wavelength of 253.7 nm, preferably multiple lamps) with the power of professional ultrasonic cleaning (at least 45,000Hz).


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