Effectiveness of Using UV Disinfection

In many businesses, including medical offices and facilities, commercial disinfection is a vital service as healthcare providers are tasked not only with helping their patients heal but also preventing them from becoming ill due to viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that, if left unchecked, can run rampant in such places.

Other businesses, including schools and data centers, also trust in the effectiveness of UV disinfection. With proper disinfection, you can expect an increase in productivity and reduce the liability (and time expense) of working in a messy and unhealthy environment. In many cases, UV disinfection is an incredibly effective tool in the commercial space, and Pritchard Industries is pleased to provide this service to our customers.

Here is a look at UV cleaning, the effectiveness of UV disinfection in the workplace, and how to obtain UV disinfection and other commercial disinfecting services from Pritchard Industries.

What Is UV Cleaning and How Does UV Disinfection Work?

UV light has been used for over four decades to disinfect the drinking water supply, wastewater, pharmaceutical products, and environmental surfaces against human pathogens (germs). In recent years it has also gained traction as a powerful tool in disinfecting facilities, including medical facilities that see a high volume of both patients and germs each day, as the practice is sustainable and does not involve the use of harsh chemicals that staff and patients can be sensitive to.

Two types of UV rays (produced by the sun) reach the earth: UVA and UVB. However, UV cleaning involves a third type of UV ray -- UVC -- that is too weak to penetrate the atmosphere and results in premature aging and sunburn, like the other two types. Because these rays are too weak to reach the earth, many organisms have no natural defenses against them. This makes them a powerful tool for killing germs.

UV disinfection works by breaking down chemical bonds and disrupting the structure of DNA, RNA, and proteins, which prevents an organism from being able to multiply. In order to sterilize a space, only UVC radiation at 100-280 nm will be strong enough to kill most organisms.

UV lamps apply radiation to the area and are often placed in heating or cooling units to avoid direct contact with humans. These UV light disinfection systems effectively cleanse the air circulated through the building.

How Effective Is UV Disinfection Against Bacteria, Viruses, and Other Microbes?

Not all UV lamps are created equal, with many lamps creating a range of wavelengths that can impact the effectiveness of killing germs. The lamp's effectiveness depends on its ability to provide radiation at a consistent wavelength high enough to disinfect.

UVC rays can only disinfect if the organism experiences direct contact with the radiation. In other words, the technique will be less effective if an object is covered by dust or soil or is embedded either on the underside of a surface or on a porous surface. The effectiveness of UVC in disinfecting is also impacted by the dose of radiation delivered to the area and the duration of the application.

Businesses obtaining UV disinfection services as part of an overall commercial cleaning plan have the added benefit of knowing the surfaces they're disinfecting are free of dust and debris that can give germs a place to hide.

Benefits of Using UV Disinfection Over Other Methods of Sterilization

The benefits of using UV disinfection over other methods of sterilization include the following:

  • UV rays are sustainable and don't involve the use of harsh chemicals that can negatively affect staff, patients, or customers.
  • UV cleaning can kill many germs that other methods of sterilization leave behind.
  • UV cleaning is versatile and can be used to clean air, surfaces, and water.

There is no lag between when UVC is applied, as the impact of the treatment is almost immediate. UV disinfection is more cost-effective than other sterilization methods and is easily applied by Pritchard Industries' professional, certified cleaning staff.

Another type of disinfection method on the rise is Far UV-C. While newer, it shows promise of being safe to use in commercial settings, such as medical buildings, and can tackle tough viruses. Humans can withstand large doses of it without permanent effects.

Industries Where UV Disinfection Is Particularly Well-Suited

As COVID-19 taught us in 2020, places, where people gather together in close quarters, are prime areas for dangerous viruses to flourish. UV disinfection is particularly effective in helping cleanse the air and surfaces at public K-12 schools, universities, and other commercial locations where a high volume of human traffic congregates.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UV cleaning (with the proper strength, dose, and duration) is generally effective in killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). This makes UV disinfection an especially attractive option for healthcare facilities that continue seeing many COVID infections.

How Effective Is UV Sterilization in Hospitals, Medical Devices, and Equipment?

Hospitals and other medical facilities and offices are known to be a breeding ground for infection, inadvertently exposing others who work in the space or receive treatment for other ailments or injuries. Healthcare-acquired infections constitute a significant risk to patients of all ages and have been associated with negative impacts on health, economic, and social status.

According to a 2020 analysis of several studies on the matter of using UV sterilization methods in medical facilities, it indicates that UV disinfection is an effective addition to other cleaning methods, particularly for airborne pathogens such as the COVID-19 virus, which can exist both in the air as well as in the form of water droplets on surfaces.

The previous studies revealed that using UV to disinfect operating rooms, where there is often little time to clean between procedures thoroughly, can decrease the time and effort required to ready the room. UV disinfection was also particularly useful in shared restrooms, one of the places in medical facilities with the highest number of pathogens.

Disadvantages of UV Disinfection

One of the disadvantages of UV disinfection is that it can be ineffective at killing certain organisms, such as Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that can cause severe diarrhea. Cryptosporidium and similar organisms have thick, protective cell walls impenetrable by lower-powered UV light systems.

UV light disinfection has a limited penetration depth that hinders its effectiveness in disinfecting deep-seated or shielded microbes. UV light can cause damage to DNA and cell membranes, leading to developing resistance to disinfection.

Another disadvantage is that many people who use this method of disinfection are unaware of the differences in wavelength dose and duration that can either reduce the effectiveness of the UV radiation in killing germs or can cause such a high dose that humans in the area suffer impacts such as irritation to the eyes and skin.

How to Choose the Most Effective Commercial UV Disinfection Service

When choosing the most effective commercial UV disinfection service, it is important to choose a company that provides the following:

  • Comprehensive employee training. The individual who provides your UV disinfection services should be knowledgeable about the safe application of UVC to an area or a surface. They should be able to answer your questions promptly and help you understand the benefits and risks of this disinfection technology. Pritchard Industries emphasizes safety, developing our practices in compliance with OSHA, EPA, CDC, and WHO guidance. With over 10,000 team members, our teams are all ISSA trained to clean all contaminated environments. Pritchard Industries is pleased to have earned memberships to the U.S. Green Building Council. We are Green Seal certified and practice all LEED certification requirements.
  • Accountability. You and your company deserve open and honest communication when seeking any commercial cleaning service. You deserve to have a commercial cleaning partner that takes the time to learn about your unique needs. Pritchard Industries is committed to focusing on customer service and developing a relationship with our clients built to last.
  • Services made-to-order. Every client we have has needs that are specific to them. We don't offer one-size-fits-all solutions; we offer the services you need when you need them, with the ability to change the level of services you're receiving at any time.
  • Service to a wide variety of industries. In addition to medical facilities, public schools, data centers, and other commercial offices, we provide services to sports and entertainment arenas and transportation and warehouse facilities that support America's growth.

While commercial UV disinfection services are an important way to eliminate germs from both the air and surfaces in public places, this is just one service offered by Pritchard Industry. We also offer a wide range of other commercial needs, including window and carpet cleaning, emergency response services, power washing, and snow removal and landscaping services.

With a 96% customer retention rate, you can trust Pritchard Industries with all of your commercial cleaning needs. Contact us today!