This article is translated from Dutch

Are all UV products equally effective?

Good hygiene practices have become a must in our daily routines. Since the corona pandemic, there has been a high 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-C, are effective in destroying pathogens.

In so doing, they also help to prevent viruses from spreading. Since there are now so many UV light 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.

Effectief UV-C licht

Commercial market for UV 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 disinfection boxes for mobile telephones
  • Disinfection equipment for your living room

These are just a few examples. Some of these manufacturers come up with promising claims that are not always well researched. Although the use of UV-C applications for disinfection purposes dates back as far as the 1930s, the technology remains relatively new. Therefore, it is an ongoing process to establish standards and regulations that can fully protect the safety of users.¹ The effectiveness of a UV device also depends on several factors. These factors affect the success of the device.

Different factors

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

  • Form
  • Wavelength
  • Lamp type
  • Distance
  • Safety
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Design features such as reflectors
Figure 1: How UV-C works.

Therefore, effectiveness may vary from one device to another.¹ See, for example, Figure 1, which shows that the distance and intensity of UV-C 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 safety, 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-C light, be sure to read ‘Will Manual Cleaning Still Be Necessary If I Use UV Light?’

  1. Health Earope. (N.B.). UV-C disinfection technology, why an industry standard must be set. http://https//