This year has seen an unprecedented surge in sales of cleaning products – especially those that promise to kill bacteria and viruses. Due to COVID-19, the public, employers, and manufacturers are now more diligent about cleaning than ever before.
One method of keeping surfaces hygienic and clean is the use of UV light, although not a new technology, UV sanitation, like many other cleaning methods has seen renewed interest.
Read on to find out how it works and why UV is great for applications where a chemical-free or dry-cleaning method is required.
Cleaning with UV light is called Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). It is an effective sanitation method which has been used in a wide range of settings for decades.
Short wavelength ultraviolet light, when passed over a surface, works by killing or inactivating micro-organisms (viruses and bacteria) by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. The organisms are then unable to perform vital cellular functions – rendering them harmless as they are unable to reproduce.
The process is like how humans receive sunburn from the suns UV rays – bacteria cells are not as well protected against UV light. UV light from sanitation lights is thought to be safe for humans when used correctly.
The technique is effective on a variety of bacteria and viruses that cause illness or disease in humans, including coronaviruses and MRSA.
The technique is used in a wide variety of applications, but particularly in medical settings – UV light is the standard practice for cleaning surgical instruments and equipment. Manufacture environments that require a high level of cleanliness also routinely employ the technology – food factories for example.
Used for decades, the method is also used for water and air purification. Part of the process of making water safe to drink involves UV sanitation but wastewater is also sterilised before being discharged. Air filtration systems also employ UV light to sterilise air, creating hygienic and clean air in offices, factories, and public buildings.
Recently, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, UV far light sanitation has seen more interest and as reported by The New York Post, stores are even installing UV ‘portals’ that customers walk through before entering shops.
The method is of particular interest when it comes to cleaning because it is fast, effective, and completely dry – there is no need for any chemicals or water.
As mentioned, there is now particular interest on how UV light affects SARS-COV-2 and how it could be used to help fight the global pandemic.
Professor Val Edwards-Jones PhD, CSci, FIBMS says;
“Coronaviruses (CoVs) are enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses and currently SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) is causing a global epidemic. Their exact survival time on different surfaces in the environment is currently unknown but it is thought to survive over 48 hours at average room temperature (20 °C). UVC light provides an alternative method of decontaminating surfaces during this epidemic period.UVC destroys viruses by high energy electrons passing through or diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, resulting in damage of the viral RNA. The length of time taken to kill the microorganism depends upon exposure time and the range of the UVC emitter from the microorganism, in line with the inverse square law.”
We can conclude from this that existing UVC disinfection systems and procedures are sufficient to deal with all coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, when used at 265-280nm.
One fast and effective to use UV light sanitation is by using a handheld UV sanitiser such as the Bio Wand.
Handheld sanitisers are particularly useful for cleaning surfaces and equipment in laboratories but can also be used in domestic settings, to clean kitchen surfaces for example or in the workplace – for sanitising equipment such as keyboards.
UV wands have popped up for sale in various places this year, Amazon for example but it is important to select a reputable brand or product as inferior products could leave people at risk because they are not as effective as they are advertised to be.
The Bio Wand, available exclusively from Pro-Lab Diagnostics kills up to 99% of bacteria and viruses, inc SARS-CoV-2 by destroying DNA & RNA.
Easy to use, the handheld device can be set for a standard one-minute cleaning cycle or a more intense three-minute cycle. Simply press the power/start button and hold the light 1-2 inches from the surface and slowly move it over the entire target area. Allow the UV light to shine on the desired area for 5 to 10 seconds to ensure optimum exposure.
The cordless wand is effective for many surfaces and provides two hours operation before it must be charged up again.