Does UV Light Kill Viruses and COVID-19?

Even though the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has waned, public health is still a priority for businesses. Companies can no longer look at cleaning services the same way. What was once a routine expense has now become an area of focus for companies: What is the best way to mitigate Coronavirus risk for your customers and employees? Does UV light kill viruses?  The hands-down most effective approach to “killing” COVID-19 is through germicidal UVC light or Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation (UVGI) technology.

Germicidal UV light technology uses short wave UV-C spectral band or UVC ray light to effectively inactivate most viruses, bacteria, and viral particles. UV-C light is on the invisible spectrum of light, while the colors you can see now as you’re reading this are considered visible light. UVC light has a shorter UV wavelength than UV-B, UV-A, and visible light. Ultraviolet Germicidal light has been studied since the late 1800s and was first used to ward off tuberculosis in hospitals. UVC light works by breaking down the DNA and RNA of bacteria, viruses, mold, and spores so they are unable to replicate and spread.

Hospitals with the lowest occurrences of hospital-acquired infections use ultraviolet light to disinfect. Currently, the use of ultraviolet light in the C spectral band is on the rise in all industries due to its decades-old proven ability to kill viruses and different types of bacterium.

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UVC light makes up for human error. A manual cleaning crew is not perfect. Whether they use aerosols or wipes, they are bound to miss some spots.

UV C light cannot miss a spot unless the surface needing the disinfection is blocked from the light or the device’s operator does not follow duration or dosage instructions properly. Ultraviolet light in the C spectral band has to be run directly on the object it is meant to disinfect otherwise it will not be effective. This means if you were to use germicidal UV light to disinfect a surface, in order for it to destroy viruses and bacteria, the UVC lamp should not be blocked in any way.

Chemical cleaning products can be harmful to human respiratory systems, hands, and eyes. This type of exposure is generally unavoidable for the cleaning crew and on a smaller level, other people who are exposed to those surfaces after cleaning.

It is very important to note that UV C lighting is extremely dangerous to human exposure, but is completely avoidable. It can damage human eyes and skin. Too much UVC exposure can lead to UVC radiation or ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to burns to the eyes and skin. To safely use a germicidal UV light device and avoid UV C radiation, a handler should not expose him or herself to the light.

You may have heard of Far UVC light. This technology has been touted as being a safer UV ray, which can be used in spaces occupied by people with no risk for UV radiation. Far-UVC light isn’t as strong as UVC-light and will not damage human skin or eyes. Early research shows it needs to be continuously used and for longer periods to have the same efficacy as periodical use of UVC germicidal light at shorter exposure lengths to kill viruses.


Hospitals use germicidal UV devices that kill viruses when a room is unoccupied.

Hospital leaders have found one of the most convenient, efficient, and safe ways of using ultraviolet light as part of an established manual cleaning routine is through a mobile device. Cleaning crew members simply run the germicidal UV light mobile device in an unoccupied room while they wipe down a nearby room. Then, after its completed its disinfection cycle, they move the device to another location in need of cleaning.

We’ve found the best commercial UV LED light sanitizer to be the R-Zero. The device is autonomous and senses how a building is being used before disinfecting air and surfaces with UV lighting.


Hospitals and many other industries also install UVC light in the HVAC system for an extra layer of protection.

When UV sanitizer or UV disinfection technology is used in an HVAC system, germicidal UV light runs through air ducts. Having a UV system installed on your HVAC is an effective way of keeping a the facility’s air disinfected. Using a UV lamp disinfecting system on your air handler doesn’t pose any exposure risks if safety procedures are followed when maintenance or repairs are needed.

According to scientific findings from Berkeley Labs, in a study within three office buildings where UVGI systems installed on HVAC systems were turned on and off multiple times a day, self-reported acute health symptoms decreased by 20 to 40 percent.


Another technology that mitigates COVID-19 risk but won’t harm your employees or customers is HVLS fans.

Air quality is a pertinent step to keeping germs at bay and HVLS fans can help. Without proper ventilation, viruses and bugs are more likely to stay within a building’s stagnant air and create poor indoor air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says increasing the total airflow supply to occupied spaces is one way of lessening the risk of Coronavirus for employees in office buildings.* HVLS can increase airflow supply within the building, which plays a huge part in improving indoor air quality.


Does UV light kill mold?

Yes, UV light can kill mold. UV-C light penetrates the nucleic acids of mold and damages its DNA. Once a mold cell is damaged it cannot reproduce and will eventually die. Attempting to rid your facility of mold manually doesn’t work. Mold easily reproduces and if one spot of mold is missed by a manual cleaning crew, the mold will spread quickly and render the cleaning useless. With UVC light, you will be able to kill all the mold organisms on a surface at the same time so they don’t have the chance to reproduce.

UV light is used in dozens of industries for its effectiveness at killing mold, including water treatment and air purification systems.


Does UV light kill Coronavirus?

Testing is still underway, but early studies indicate germicidal UV light is more than likely able to kill the human Coronavirus COVID-19. Studies have shown that it can kill other coronaviruses, such as SARS. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says UVC light radiation has been shown to be able to destroy the outer protein coating of SARS-Coronavirus, which is different than the current or SARS CoV 2 virus (COVID-19). The FDA says UVC light may also be effective in inactivating COVID-19, but at this time the organization has limited data on the wavelength, UV dose, and duration of the UVC light radiation required to inactive SARS-CoV-2. The Environmental Protection Agency is researching ways to disinfect large surfaces with UV-C light.


Commercial UV light sanitizer installation

If you’re ready to add UV-C protection to your facility, let us be your guide. Our beginnings (decades ago) are in lighting and we know the ins and outs of germicidal UV lighting. We are also committed to finding the best solution for our customers. Let us help you mitigate COVID-19 risk from your building and find the best solution for your facility’s unique layout and valued employees. Contact us so we can get started on your project!

Vanessa Peng

Vanessa Peng

Vanessa Peng is the Marketing Coordinator at WattLogic. As a former television news reporter, Vanessa enjoys creating written and video content for WattLogic and has an interest in environmental issues.