Daan Hoek

Are all UV based products equally effective?

Good hygiene practices have becomea must in our daily routines. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a great demand for products that promise efficiency in destroying harmful bacteria and viruses.¹ Research has proven that specific wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation, known as UV technology, are effective in destroying pathogens.

In so doing, they also help to prevent viruses from spreading. Since there are now so many UV based devices, it is vital that you be careful when selecting a product. In this article, we will discuss what to look out for when choosing a product.

Are all UV products equally effective?

Commercial market for UV based products

The commercial market in UV products has grown in recent years. All kinds of new products with disinfecting properties are being developed and put on the market. Nowadays there are:

  • Self-cleaning bottles,
  • Self cleaning earbuds
  • Small UV based disinfection boxes for mobile telephones
  • Disinfection equipment for your living room

And so on. Some of the manufacturers of these products come up with promising claims that are not always well researched. Although the use of UV based applications for disinfection purposes dates back to the 1930s, the technology remains relatively new. Therefore, the establishment of standards and regulations that can fully protect the reliablility of users is an ongoing process.¹ The effectiveness of a UV based device also depends on various factors. These factors influence how successful a device is going to be.

Different factors

Various factors influence the effectiveness and method of operation of a UV based device. For example:

  • Shape
  • Wavelength
  • Lamp type
  • Distance
  • Reliability
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Design features, like reflectors.

Figure 1: UV based technology

Therefore, effectiveness may vary from one device to another.¹ See, for example, Figure 1, which shows that the distance and intensity of UV based light have a great effect on its effect.

In addition to these factors, it is important that great attention be paid to features such as reliable, performance, maintenance requirements and workflow. In other words, it is important to assess the specific evidence provided by a manufacturer to support the alleged performance of their devices. Check the results of microbiological efficacy testing, tests performed in laboratories and clinical trials.

If you’d like to learn more about UV based light, be sure to read ‘Will Manual Cleaning Still Be Necessary If I Use technolgy based on UV?’

  1. Health Earope. (N.B.). UV disinfection techology, why an industry standard must be set. http://https//www.healtheuropa.eu/uvc-disinfection-technology-why-an-industry-standard-must-be-set/109678/
Daan Hoek