Does Ultra Violet Light Kills Germs?

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Ultraviolet light, when used in the correct device and through a process of sanitization, is an effective way to kill bacteria and germs. Bacteria are described as groups of single-celled microorganisms. Bacteria are responsible for causing diseases, fermentation, and even sepsis. It is the single-cell properties associated with bacteria which is why it can be sterilized or destroyed using UV light. The primary reproduction form of bacteria occurs through cell division, which is why any alterations in a segment or overall structure of a cell has an influence over the process of cell division.

Ultra Violet light is a form of light which is invisible to the naked eye, which exists on an electromagnetic spectrum which falls between visible light and X-beams. This light travels in a vacuum with a speed-of-light that is equal to C. We are exposed to UV light in low levels from the sun every day. However, the ozone layer is what consumes most of this UV energy. Ultraviolet light is made up of 3 different bands which depend on a wavelength. This includes UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C light spectrums. It is shortwave UV-C radiation which has a powerful germ-killing effect.


Reasons To Use Ultraviolet Light To Kill Bacteria

The UVC wavelengths fall between 200 and 300 nanometers, which makes them germicidal, which means they are effective to inactivate microorganisms. Examples of these microorganisms include protozoa, viruses, and bacteria. It is these qualities that make UVC energy one of the most environmentally friendly, chemical-free, and effective approaches to kill dangerous microorganisms across a number of environments and conditions.

uv spectrum of light

How Does UV Light Kill Bacteria?

To gain an understanding of UGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation), it is important to first know what UV light is. Ultraviolet light falls between Visible Infrared and X-Rays on the Light Spectrum. Its wavelengths fall between 100 and 400 nanometers.

The UV-C wavelength which ranges from 100 to 280 nanometers is the light spectrum area that is germicidal. This means it is effective in deactivating DNA structures in both bacteria and viruses, which removes the chance of reproduction. To explain this further it is the nucleic acid found in these cells known for causing infections that become harmed when exposed to UV light due to the production of what is known as covalent bonds. As soon as this occurs, the DNA in the bacteria can no longer duplicate itself, which means reproduction stops which causes these cells to die.

Applications Of Germicidal Ultraviolet Light

This is a property that is applicable to air purification. UVC lamps are effective when it comes to killing mold, bacteria, airborne allergens, protozoa and viruses in offices and homes. In the last few years, many business and homeowners have installed these UVC lamps in family residences and offices, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, and clinics across the globe. You can even buy a robot vacuum with an ultraviolet light underneath.

When Should You Use Ultraviolet Light Sterilization

UV sterilization becomes useful for the elimination of any microorganisms in water and air that is targeted. UV sterilization does not leave behind residual radiation or chemicals in the water or air and will not cause harm to untargeted plants or animals. These treatments work well for waterborne pathogens, yet it is not effective for removing heavy metal or chemical impurities. When it comes to water, the water first needs to be filtered before UV exposure in order to maximize the overall sterilization effect.

Where Is UV Light Sterilization Used?

The exposure that is direct to strong UV light may result in skin burns or even blindness in both animals and humans. For safety reasons sterilization typically take place through light-proof UV chambers or shielded UV hoods. These UV treatments work effectively in the applications whereby bacterial contamination can pose a threat in water or air in ponds, aquariums, clean rooms, and laboratories.

UV light is an effective method to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria as it damages the DNA in these microorganisms. UV radiation will disrupt chemical bonds which hold atoms in the DNA together. When the damage becomes severe enough, the bacteria or virus is no longer able to repair this damage which causes these cells to die. Prolonged or continual exposure to UV light assists in ensuring a complete kill-off of any microorganisms that were once present. Unlike the chemical treatments, water or air that has been UV-treated is not resistant to re-contamination.

Reasons To Use UV Light Sterilization In Your Home Or Office

UV light works on penetrating the cells in microorganisms, yet it does not change the food, air or water being treated. In fact, nothing will be added to these mediums excepting energy. Certain types of mold are also not affected by UV radiation. UV radiation has become the preferable choice in the situations when the chemical residues after a sterilization process are not accepted.


The truth of the matter is that Germicidal UV has already been in use for over a decade in the Medical industries. This is due to the ability of UV light to destroy the microorganisms that makeup germs, bacteria, and viruses. The Medical and Industrial fields have found that UV light is highly dependable and is easy to fix. This is another advantage of this application and over the next few years, it will become more available for residential and personal use.

The more common germicidal UV lights include the low-pressure mercury lamps which are used over an extensive range of different applications. This includes purifying drinking water, sewage treatment, food irradiation and processing, water reclamation, and HVAC odor control and air sterilization. These lamps are both long-lasting and economical when it comes to operating costs. The lamp variations come in both high-output and standard quartz-germicidal lamps, the GU and quartz compact lamps, soft-glass compact lamps, and the high-output soft-glass lamps.

Amalgam lamps are also low-pressure mercury lamps that are highly efficient. The amalgam lamps have the ability to yield as much as 3 times the UVC output when compared to the standard mercury lamps that feature the same length.

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