UV Disinfection: Applications and Use

by Lawton Brothers | Mar 09, 2023


One method of cleaning that has been gaining attention in the past three years is UV light. UV light, or ultraviolet light, is broken down into three main classes – UVA and UVB have longer wavelengths and are well-known for causing aging and extreme damage to the skin over long periods of exposure. UVC, however, has a much shorter wavelength and is absorbed by the atmosphere long before it reaches our skin. Since UVC light has the most energetic photons in the optical spectrum, it has been used for decades to kill bacteria and viruses. 

UVC can be used to disinfect surfaces, objects, electronics, water, and even air. The method of disinfection by UV light differs greatly from that of chemical disinfectants. Chemical disinfectants inactivate microorganisms by destroying or damaging the cell structure, while UV light damages the DNA, rendering them unable to reproduce or inactivating them by causing mutations or cell death. Germicidal lights are simple, effective ways to curb bacteria and virus growth. UV light is generated for these purposes by applying a voltage across a gas mixture (usually Mercury gas), resulting in a discharge of photons. As UV light is produced, it interacts with the materials it encounters via absorption, reflection, refraction, and scattering. 

UVC radiation is a safe, easy, and cost-effective solution to disinfecting the air or surfaces in your business. Since there are no maintenance costs over the life of the device and the unit can run automatically, a one-time investment can save you time and money for years. Even better, since UVC has such short wavelengths, it can only do minimal damage, even when used incorrectly. 

Keep in Mind

While there are numerous advantages to UVC radiation for disinfection, there are a few factors to keep in mind when implementing UVC disinfection.

Shadows and items in a room can affect the light and UV rays being emitted. As mentioned, UVC light has a much shorter wavelength than other UV light. As such, it cannot penetrate through objects to disinfect. For example, if a layer of dust is covering a surface, the surface may not actually be disinfected due to the layer of debris covering it. You may need to run several cycles with the correct dosage to achieve complete disinfection.

When UVC is applied to living tissues for a long period of time, it can cause cancer. Exposure to the eyes is especially dangerous. Make sure to wear suitable protection (gloves, goggles, and long sleeves) when operating or repairing items. It is recommended to avoid the direct UVC light when the unit is being operated. 

Tips from the Pros

At Lawton Brothers, we have a team of trained and certified staff with over 76 years of experience in Central Florida. Let Lawton Brothers help you with a cleaning audit. Call us for a free consultation today! We can walk you through any questions you have about the best practices for your facility or our wide selection of products, equipment, and services. Give us a call today at: 800.432.0813 and see how Lawton Brothers can help you.

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