Hospitals have embraced ultraviolet (UV) lights as a cleaning tool for years, using large, industrial-grade machines to decontaminate rooms. Now, smaller versions of UV sanitation lights are available to consumers looking to clean pretty much anything, from phones to toilet seats.
Here’s how these UV light sanitizers actually work.
The three main types of UV rays are UVA, UVB, and UVC. Because UVC rays have the shortest wavelength, and therefore highest energy, they are capable of killing bacteria and viruses, also called pathogens. UVC light has a wavelength of between 200 and 400 nanometers (nm). It is highly effective at decontamination because it destroys the molecular bonds that hold together the DNA of viruses and bacteria, including “superbugs,” which have developed a stronger resistance to antibiotics.