Let there be light: How UV-C sanitizers are changing the way we clean

UVC light

For about as long as humans have been cleaning, we’ve been doing it more or less the same way: we take a cleaning device, combine it with some chemicals, and then we apply a whole lot of elbow grease. Though the tools and soaps may have changed, you still needed those basic elements to get something truly spic-and-span. But that’s about to change with the use of UVC light for sanitation, a process so revolutionary in the home it can almost seem like magic. 

If someone told you that you could take all those traditional cleaning products filling the cabinets and closets of your home – those soaps, scrubbers, and wipes – and replace them with the same level of sanitizing clean with a compact UVC light wand, you’d understandably be incredulous. But that’s exactly what UVC light does. 

How We Cleaned Before UVC Light

Before humans had built or created much of anything to clean, there was water. All things considered, it was a pretty good chemical to clean with, since most dirt and grime was broken down by it: it’s why it’s often known as the ‘universal solvent’.

But as we advanced, we needed more advanced ways of cleaning. Ancient Babylonians discovered soap by accident in 2200 B.C., and we started on our long path of creating chemical cleaners to be used with water to improve its effectiveness. 

By the 1600’s we’d made the connection between keeping things clean and not getting sick. Still, it really wasn’t until the early 20th Century that we honed in on bacteria and viruses as the cause of much of our malaise. Plenty of inventors saw an opportunity in this, and the modern cleaning industry was born.

But by and large, for the last 100 years, home cleaning has pretty much stayed the same: store-bought chemicals that we combine with water and a whole lot of elbow grease. It’s effective, sure, but it also has a lot of downsides when it comes to our modern lives:

  • It’s time-consuming: anyone that cleans knows that it can be time-consuming on the best of days, but when it comes to truly get clean and eliminating harmful viruses and bacteria, that’s an everyday job. Just because a surface looks clean, doesn’t mean that it is clean. When it comes to that reality, chemical cleaners really don’t make the cut. 
  • It requires chemicals: ultimately whether it’s industrial cleaner or earth-friendly organic options, traditional cleaning methods still employ the application of chemicals to surfaces in our homes. For those with pets, children, or allergies, this can be a difficult trade-off: a clean home or a happy one. 
  • The more you do it, the less effective it is: when it comes to cleaning solutions – be they wipes, sprays, or powders – once they start accumulating dirt and dust and grit, they begin to lose their effectiveness against the unseen unclean: bacteria, germs, viruses, and fungi. The cleaning solution itself actually gets dirty, and it stops working as well as it should. This happens from the moment you start using, leaving you unsure of how clean you’re actually getting something.
  • Those chemicals are consumable: as we use traditional cleaning products, we have to replace them, and trips to the store for wipes and sprays over the years means a lot of money spent, and a lot of packaging waste created. Also, as anyone knows, leftover chemicals and residue find their way outside our doors and into the environment all around us, doing untold harm. 
  • Lots of things can’t be cleaned: we live in a digital age, and for most people, the idea of bathing their precious (and expensive) devices in purell or constantly lemon-scenting them with wipes isn’t an ideal one. Not only do these things leave a residue, but the high-tech objects also were never designed for the repeated application of these products.
  • It isn’t portable: While there are more portable options on the market, they often still require us to come in contact with foreign surfaces as we clean them, leaving residue and scent behind in places where others may not appreciate it. They also produce waste that often needs to be disposed of on the spot.

Why UVC Light Wands Are Future of Cleaning

Although we call it the ‘future’’ of cleaning, the technology we’re talking about has actually been well-established for decades. In fact, the use of UV light for the purposes of sanitation is actually a very old one. Since its initial discovery way back in 1878, artificially produced UVC has become a staple method of sterilization – one used in hospitals, airplanes, office buildings, and factories every day, all over the world.

So even though you may not even realize it, due to its widespread industrial adoption over the decades, you’ve probably come into contact with something that’s benefited from UV-C sterilization.

If you’re wondering why it hasn’t begun to make its way into the home until now, it’s for the same reason as most technology: it needed time to get cheap enough, small enough, and reliable enough for everyday personal use. Compact rechargeable batteries combined with ultra-efficient LED bulbs were basically the catalyst that’s making the preferred method of sterilization in hospitals something that we can have at home.

What Is UV-C Light?

UV light is the spectrum of light that we can’t see, but it’s quite literally everywhere under the sun. But not all UV light is created equally when it comes to sanitizing and sterilizing surfaces in the home. 

It actually falls into three distinct wavelength categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC light is the shortest wavelength of UV light and the only one that effectively breaks apart germ and bacterial DNA, leaving it unable to function or reproduce. In other words, the UVC light is powerfully germicidal. It’s the wavelength that makes our product 99.9% effective at sanitizing surfaces.

Why UVC Light Is Better

UVC lights represent a new and better way of cleaning because it solves many of the problems that traditional home cleaning products – the ones we’ve been using for over 100 years – will never be able to overcome.

  • It’s quicker: because UVC sterilization requires no application or abrasion with a chemical compound, it saves time and effort. It’s just a matter of evenly and consistently passing the UVC device over whatever you’re cleaning. 
  • It’s chemical-free: it breaks us free from the chains of applying strong chemicals to the surfaces we touch every day, leaving unwanted perfumes, scents, and residues. Instantly after cleaning a surface it can be touched by children and pets and those with sensitivities. The clean is instant and invisible. 
  • It doesn’t degrade with use: as we move from surface to surface with contact-based chemical cleaners, those cleaners become weaker. UVC cleaning is 100% effective the instant you turn it on until you turn it off. 
  • Better for the environment: Once you have a UVC cleaning device, the lifespan is between 10 000 to 15 0000 HOURS, to put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of turning on your device and leaving it on 24/7 for at least a year and a half. No more containers and bottles and wipes filling up your trash can. 
  • It’s a modern cleaning tool for modern devices: No one wants to coat their expensive devices in chemicals. UVC lights are the ideal tool for hard-to-clean electronics.

Portable and discreet:
We leave our homes, but we don’t (and can’t) take an arsenal of cleaning products with us. UVC lights can be had in a hand-held size that’s perfect for sterilizing your office, car, or anywhere you find yourself relying simply on the hope that someone has adequately cleaned a space before you occupied it.

UVC Light: The Future Of Cleaning

So while there will still be a time and place for traditional chemical cleaners for surface grit and grime, when it comes to getting that near-molecular level unseen clean, UVC light has no equal. It quickly and efficiently destroys bacteria, viruses, germs, and fungi, which are arguably the most important things to address. Because while the former might see you getting a bit dirty, the latter is the one that’s going to see you getting sick. UVC cleaning addresses the true measure of our health and well-being, and it does so in a way that fits in seamlessly with our fast-paced, technology-driven lives. 

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Erik Adler

Erik Adler