Shining a Light on Bacteria: How UV Light Sanitation Works

Since before the creation of penicillin, we as a species have continued to perfect and refine our approach towards sanitation. And while traditional disinfection methods such as cleaning with hot water, bleach, and other disinfectants have proved helpful, they never did end up truly eliminating all harmful germs and bacteria.

Of course, innovation in the field of sanitation hardly ended there and further optimization existed in the form of invisible UV light waves.

Cut to the present and we see UV light sanitation being used in a variety of different industries through groundbreaking pieces of tech. Naturally, however, there’s still a bit of skepticism to be found when it comes to how effective flashes of light can be at eradicating germs that bleach and a little elbow grease can’t.

Hopefully we can dispel some of those reservations below.        

How UV Light Sanitation Works

bacteria dna

Ultraviolet light is considered germicidal due to its ability to effectively eliminate bacteria.

Without getting too into specifics, UV radiation earns this classification by emitting a wavelength that falls between 200 and 300 nanometers. When light that exists in that spectrum is shined on bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, it deactivates their DNA, destroying their ability to multiply and killing them.

Effectiveness of UV sanitation can vary based on a number of factors like, length of exposure to bacteria, the intensity of the radiation, and a microorganism’s resistance to said radiation.

The key to enhancing UV light sanitation in the face of these variables is delivering multiple passes of exposure. Hitting the subject you’re hoping to sanitize multiple times will ensure bacteria with a little more resistance will also have their DNA deactivated.

Benefits of UV Light Sanitation


One of the most immediate benefits of UV light sanitation is the fact that the method is entirely chemical free. Not only does this make the process inexpensive, it means little equipment maintenance is required, especially if a business invests in a simple sanitation station that can passively store and sanitize tools and hardware.

As far as environmental benefits, UV also delivers a collection of perks. Investing in UV light sanitation equipment can guarantee less money and gas is spent transporting cleaning supplies. After all, it doesn’t matter how green and environmentally conscious cleaning supplies are if they still have to be trucked over to your establishment.

Applications of UV Light Sanitation

children using tablets at school

Knowing the benefits and the science behind UV light sanitation is nice and all, but none of that matters if you can’t visualize the actual applications of a sanitation station in your particular business or industry.

Fact of the matter is, the need for sanitation is pretty universal, meaning practically any business has an inherent need for a no-hassle, cost effective disinfection method. Here are some use cases to mention a few.

Medical Facility

If you’re running a medical facility, it should be no surprise to hear that enhancing patient experience should always be on the top of your priority list. And when you’re dealing with sick patients, few things translate to a happier guest than a clean and sanitized space.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, health care associated infections, or HAIs, have continued to become more and more common as time goes on. And unfortunately, these infections that occur during a person’s stay at a health care facility affect more than just your patients.

The same study reveals that the healthcare industry spends upwards of billions a year treating these infections that, more often than not, sprout from poorly sanitized facilities and equipment. With that in mind, some hospitals have invested in UV disinfection, to resounding success, in order to limit these HAIs.

Mayo Clinic, for example, even incorporated the use of robots that enter a room and blast it with UV light, eliminating any harmful bacteria in the process and preparing it for its next guest.

Moving beyond healthcare equipment. UV sanitation cabinets can also do wonders for healthcare facilities that provide their clients with tablets and smart devices to kill time while they’re being cared for.

Having charged and cleaned iPads patients can use to alleviate boredom or even use to facetime their loved ones who can’t enter their rooms yet can do wonders for their moral. And happy patients means a happy hospital.


Tech in the classroom is becoming a pretty predominant presence in the way we educate from elementary school all the way up to college. From smart boards with touch screen capabilities to communal tablets and laptops for research and note taking, there’s an abundance of ways in which teachers are modernizing their classes.

Needless to say, with tech that’s constantly swapping hands, keeping it sanitized is a must and UV light can deliver that lightning quick disinfection without so much as a minute’s delay.     


If Chipotle’s regular E. coli outbreaks have taught us anything, it’s that the food and beverage industry requires just as much careful consideration, if not more, when it comes to sanitation as other industries. This is especially true when you consider just how much business stands to be lost if even one bad review mentions that one of your guests got sick at your dining establishment.

Many restaurants use tablets stationed at tables to help guests order as well as play games while they wait for their meals. Understandably, the need for proper sanitation becomes doubly apparent when you’re dealing with dirty hands and food. Keeping your tech sanitized can help save on sickness and infections that could otherwise spell the end of your restaurant’s career.


Running a business is just as much about delivering a perfect customer experience as it is about providing an amazing product or service. Staying on top of modern sanitation trends will surely help your business stand out and appeal to those worried their health isn’t being left in the right hands at other establishments.