How Does UV light kill Covid-19?


UV lights have been dubbed ‘germicidal’ for a long time and is the main way we disinfect the air we breath and the water we drink, but how does it work? Afterall, the Sun is the largest emitter of UV light, but Covid-19 can still survive!

There are 3 types of UV radiation.

This is split into UVA, UVB and UVC. The difference being the size of their wavelength. UVA is the longest wavelength of UV radiation, it penetrates your skin and is what causes wrinkling and aging. UVB is of middle length, it penetrates the top layers of your skin and is what causes burning, tanning and skin cancer. Remember to wear sunscreen to protect yourself when outdoors!

UVC is what kills bacteria and viruses, and is the shortest wavelength of UV radiation. The Sun also emits UVC Radiation, but it is absorbed by atmospheric ozone in the upper atmosphere.

How does UVC kill germs?

UVC radiation strips the outer protein layer of viruses, inactivating them. UVC radiation also causes DNA to break down, inactivating a variety of bacteria, funguses and other microbes. The most effective wavelengths for germicidal UVC are between 207 and 222 nanometres.

How Strong is UVC radiation?

The problem with UVC radiation is that its effectiveness deteriorates quickly over distance. Any glass or thick plastic will almost completely block any UVC radiation from passing through. It is crucial when using UVC to disinfect items to ensure the item in question is as near as possible to the UVC source. The good news is that even a couple of seconds is enough to produce the germicidal effect.

How do we use UVC radiation at Airizy?

We have two main uses for UVC radiation.

The entire cleanroom is outfitted with UVC lights. When production is over for the day, the entire cleanroom is flooded with UVC radiation to disinfect every surface and item used for production.

The production line is outfitted with UVC lights. This means that all fabric that enters the production line is first disinfected with UVC radiation. While, all materials are stored in the cleanroom which gets disinfected every night anyway, we felt it was important that all fabric was thoroughly disinfected for a second time before being processed and sold. (Protective shield is removed for image.)

Is UVC radiation harmful?

UVC radiation is the most harmful to your skin and eyes, it can cause severe burning and blindness if exposed to high doses. We ensure that no one is inside the cleanroom when the UVC lights are switched on, and the UVC light that sits on the production line is shielded on all sides by metal sheets.  UVC radiation is so strong, that continued exposure can cause discolouration. If you ever wonder why a white car will start to yellow with age, UV radiation is the culprit. Thankfully our production speed means that our white fabrics are not exposed for long enough that significant colour deterioration happens.

Can I use UVC radiation for home disinfection?

There are many home UVC lights for a variety of uses, from small UVC boxes to disinfect your glasses or cell phone, to large units capable of disinfecting rooms like the bathroom or kitchen. Just don’t use it to disinfect any fabrics or natural woods to avoid discolouration! All UVC products should state the wavelength of light, make sure any product you choose falls between 207 and 222 nanometres.

Staying safe in this pandemic is not just about disinfecting surfaces, you are more likely to catch an illness from another person. Get vaccinated, and wear a mask!

We have just released a new vacuum sealed Airizy Protetra, a tightly packed mask that can easily fit wherever is needed, staying fresh for 1 week, 1 month or even 1 year down the line. Ideal for sports, water-based activities, or just as an essential part of your everyday carry. Shop the Airizy On-The-GO here.