Warning: be safe with UV sterilizer products

Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to sterilize the things around us. The supply of things like wipes and sprays has gotten very tight. I’ve read estimates that say we won’t see supply levels return to normal until next summer. Without those things, people are turning to grain alcohol and bleach. Both of these things are pretty successful but they are also really destructive. You wouldn’t want to use either on something you plan on keeping for a while.

UV sanitizing products

We’ve recently seen an increase in products like this one, available at Solid Signal. They use LEDs and fluorescent tubes to flood your stuff with UV-C radiation. UV-C is the most dangerous type of UV, so concentrated that it could do damage in seconds that would normally take a full day in the sun.

I couldn’t find a study that says, for absolute sure, that these small products can actually kill coronavirus. What everyone is willing to say is, that UV-C can kill pretty much anything. and that probably includes coronavirus. Honestly I don’t know why no one is doing some sort of peer-reviewed study on this. But I do know I don’t have the scientific credentials to do one myself.

What could kill them, could kill you

UV-C radiation is dangerous to all living things from viruses to elephants. That includes you. You should never look at a sanitizer wand or box while it’s open and operating. Now, before you say it, I’ll own up to taking this picture.

My team worked hard to get that shot. While it’s not perfect… it’s a little crooked… we didn’t care. One person opened the lid blind, looking the opposite direction and wearing sunglasses. The other person used a long lens and the highest possible quality setting on the cameras, so the shot was taken from about 15 feet away. We didn’t take a second shot, we just closed the lid right away. UV-C is dangerous stuff. We didn’t want to expose ourselves to it.

Just remember that, with any UV sterilizing product, it can be especially dangerous to your eyes so try not to look at any UV wand or sterilizer while it’s on. Even the reflected light still contains quite a bit of UV radiation.

Of course you hope this is serious stuff.

If you read this blog you know I’m a guy who likes to measure stuff. I like taking readings of all sorts. But unfortunately without spectrophotometric equipment, I can’t even promise that any of these devices are putting out meaningful amounts of UV-C. In the absence of research, I don’t know how much UV-C is meaningful. So like you I’m in the dark. I have to take the word of my manufacturers, whom I trust. I hope you feel comfortable with that as well.

And, whether it’s sterilizing equipment or any of the other things you need for your modern and connected life, you can find the best selection when you shop at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.