Ultraviolet (UV) light has an important role in disinfecting our surroundings. UV light sanitizer wands are the most convenient way.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all about the need for sanitation. It’s nothing new, actually. If this strain of coronavirus goes away and never returns again, we’ll still have colds, seasonal flu, and other contagious diseases. Plus, we’ll still have dust mites, fleas, bedbugs, and other insect pests that lay eggs in our fabrics.
The pandemic has also exposed some of our bad habits. Disinfectant sprays and sanitary wipes have been nearly impossible to find. And when people do use them, they leave a chemical residue on everything they touch. Not to mention a mountain of trash.
Advantages of UV light sanitizers
UV light sanitizers leave neither residue nor waste. Hospitals have used UV light to sanitize equipment for decades. During the pandemic, they’re using it to sterilize N95 masks so they can be reused.
The sun gives off three kinds of ultraviolet light. UV-C is the most potent of them. It destroys DNA. Fortunately, the Earth’s ozone layer filters it out before it reaches the surface. Otherwise, it would kill everything—including relatively unknown viruses. Safety therefore requires controlling the UV light to make sure it does not shine on people, pets, or desirable plants.
Conventionally, germicidal UVC has operated at a wavelength of between 250 and 300 nanometers. Recently, however, scientists have developed UVC with a shorter wavelength, between 200-220 nanometers. This safer wavelength, called “far-UV-C,” kills viruses without penetrating skin cells.
So far, however, no home equipment uses far-UV-C.
Safe use of UV light sanitizer wands
The safest UV light sanitizers are boxes you can put things in and close the lid. For surfaces and objects too large to fit in the UV light sanitizing box, you can use a wand. You can also use the wand for what you would put in a box. Just be sure to turn it over to shine the light on all sides.
Hold the wand about an inch above the surface you’re disinfecting. Move it back and forth five or ten times. Don’t move too quickly. For large surfaces, be sure not to miss any part of it.
It can be difficult to see that the lights are operating. Therefore, when you turn it on, assume that they are.
Don’t look at the LEDs. They can damage your eyes and skin. You don’t necessarily have to wear protective equipment, but it’s prudent. Most ordinary UV-protecting sunglasses only protect against UV-A and UV-B. If you want eye protection from a wand, look for safety glasses designed to protect from UV-C.
Like chemical disinfectants, UV light sanitizers claim to kill 99.9% of viruses and germs. That doesn’t mean that they leave 00.1% to make you sick. Advertising law probably prohibits anything from claiming 100% effectiveness. A study in a medical journal did find that wands killed 100% of common bacteria and deactivated 90% of the kind that produce spores. And since we don’t contact viral diseases from touching surfaces, any small remainder won’t cause any problems.
Details about the 59S X5 UV light sanitizer wand
The 59S X5 UV light sanitizer has 20 UV-C LEDs and a built-in battery, rechargeable with a mini-USB cable. So you can take it anywhere you can’t plug something in. Disinfect packages—even packages of food, surfaces on or in your car, toilets, keyboards, countertops, door handles, hotel rooms, and more. When you disinfect your cell phone or remote with it, you don’t need to remove the battery. The UV light does not penetrate the devices.
It’s small and lightweight. You can easily pack it in luggage for traveling. And sanitize your hotel room. Or take it with when you take a walk. Sanitize park benches, public restrooms, hotel rooms, and other places you visit. It adds just another layer of security for your health and peace of mind.
The 59S 5X UV light sanitizer wand folds. It’s about 10 inches long when folded and 16 inches long when extended. At that length, it covers a larger area than other UV light sanitizer wands. Some users report that the magnet that holds the two pieces together isn’t very strong. The extension detaches too easily and too frequently.
Plus, the 59S 5X UV light sanitizer wand has two safety features: a child-lock and the fact that you must both unlock it and double-click on the button to turn it on. This feature confuses people who don’t read the manual. They think the wand doesn’t work. But it’s impossible to turn it on accidentally.
UV light sanitizers for home use are not regulated. They have not been the subject of enough scientific research to know how well they work. An expert quoted in a WebMD article would not buy one for himself without a lot more published research. Responsible manufacturers have their products lab tested and report at least some of the findings.
It takes tremendous research and development to design and manufacture a product that is both safe, effective, and sturdy. The least expensive products are also the ones least likely to work satisfactorily.
And even the best wands won’t work if not used properly. Quickly scanning a surface will not harm the microbes very much. The wand must be close enough and shine on an area for at least 10 seconds to sterilize it. When you get your wand, be sure to read the instructions carefully and use it properly.