UV lamps: disinfection made easy
Your light expert explains how to disinfect surfaces with light:
Many people don't even know it: UV lamps are perfect for disinfection! They render microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi harmless in water, in the air and on surfaces!
But even more is possible with UV light - depending on the wavelength of the light. What this is and what it all comes down to, we will explain to you!
Let us first come to the rough basics (somewhat simplified):
People can see many colours and a lot of light. But there is also something that is not visible to humans. For example, there is the infrared light. It joins the range of visible red light. Its electromagnetic radiation is used in lighting technology in the field of sensor technology (compare passive infrared sensor technology).
On the other hand, there is the ultraviolet light (=UV- or also black light), which joins the range of the visible violet light.
UV light is divided into UV-A, UV-B and UV-C light. This classification is based on the wavelengths of the light. UV-A and UV-B radiation is known to us from sunlight and is responsible for the unpopular sunburn.
UV-A light is the closest to visible, violet light and is colloquially known as black light. It is less energy-rich and is useful in the curing of photopolymers, in photochemistry and also in reprography. UV-A light is also used for insect control.
UV-B light (often in combination with UV-A light) is often used in light therapy thanks to its anti-inflammatory effect. It can alleviate itching in certain skin diseases and also help with sun allergies.
UV-C light is short-wave and has the highest energy. Therefore it is used physical disinfection technology. It is used for the disinfection of medical equipment, but also for air, water and food. UV-C light kills viruses, germs and bacteria and should be harmless to humans when used correctly.
This means that UV light is suitable for combating tuberculosis pathogens, influenza viruses and even the multi-resistant hospital germ Staphylococcos aureus.
The UV-C light destroys the DNA of the microbes. Under the effect of UV light, so-called thymine dimers are formed in the DNA of bacteria and viruses. These prevent DNA replication and thus the ability to infect - the spread rate of microorganisms is effectively reduced.
It is true that the disinfection rate increases the longer an area or device is exposed to UV light.
The number of thymine dimers produced increases with the duration of a treatment. To ensure thorough disinfection, intensive UV light is required. The smaller the distance to the treated area, the more effective the process. A sufficiently high radiation dose can therefore hardly be guaranteed under everyday conditions.
In contrast to liquid cleaning agents, no surface contact is required for disinfection with UV-C light. On the one hand, this is very environmentally friendly and chemical agents are not required. On the other hand, disinfection with UV-C lamps protects your surfaces
- it leaves no residue and does not discolour. The disinfected areas or equipment are immediately ready for use without downtime.
Here you can buy UV-C lamps, which are suitable for disinfection.
UV-C radiation has been used successfully for some time to combat germs - but care must be taken to ensure that it is used correctly. There are too few studies on human exposure to UV-C radiation, but there have been reported cases of skin and eye damage due to abusive long-term exposure.
For most devices, the risk is low because they are closed systems, but the instructions for use must be followed exactly. The disinfection area must be left when using the lights, windows and doors must be closed.
After disinfection, switch off the light, thorough ventilation of the disinfection area is recommended.
You can read more about the effect of UV-C lamps on humans in the European Commission information sheet.
If you have any questions regarding advice on the use of your UV lamps, please contact the manufacturer or a specialist directly.