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How Do UV-C Light Sanitizing Pens Work and How Can You Use Them?

If you're looking for a convenient way to help disinfect items without the need for harmful chemicals, then a UV-C light sanitizing pen may be a good solution. These battery-powered devices contain an LED diode that emits ultraviolet light with a very low wavelength, which is referred to as UV-C. UV-C light is emitted by the sun like UV-B and UV-A light, but it's filtered out by the atmosphere of the earth before it can reach the surface—this is a good thing, as UV-C light shares the same harmful properties as UV-B light, but is much stronger.

However, UV-C light's harmful properties can be put to use as a disinfectant. It's used in water treatment plants to remove bacteria and viruses from water and in hospitals to disinfect sensitive equipment. A UV-C light sanitizing pen uses the same technology to kill bacteria and viruses on items in your home. To learn more about how they work and what they're most useful for, read on.

How Do UV-C Light Sanitizing Pens Work?

Ultraviolet light damages DNA and RNA inside cells, which is one of the reasons why sunlight exposure causes sunburns and is linked to skin cancer. UV-C light is much stronger than the UV-B light that reaches the surface of the earth, which means that it works much more quickly.

Bacteria reproduce by duplicating their DNA and splitting themselves in two. If their DNA is damaged by UV-C light, they'll no longer be able to create working copies of themselves—the DNA of the copy will be too damaged to be viable. In addition, DNA damage can also trigger cell death, which is why UV-B light can cause sunburns in humans—it causes your skin cells to become inflamed and die off.

Similarly, most viruses use RNA to create copies of themselves. If their RNA is severely damaged by UV-C light, those viruses will no longer pose a threat. Even if you introduce them to your body, they won't be able to harm you if they're unable to successfully create copies of themselves—they'll just eventually die off.

Since UV-C light can prevent bacteria and viruses from replicating and can often kill bacteria outright, it's a very effective method of disinfecting whatever it touches.

What Can You Disinfect With a Sanitizing Pen?

In general, UV-C sanitizing pens are best used to disinfect surfaces that would be impossible or inconvenient to clean with soap or disinfectant. Electronics, such as your smartphone or your computer keyboard, can harbor quite a bit of bacteria since they're touched so often. However, it's risky to try washing them with soap and water, and even the water in aerosol spray disinfectant or disinfectant wipes may cause harm to sensitive electronics.

Using a UV-C sanitizing pen is a safe way to kill bacteria and viruses on these surfaces without needing to use water. They're also useful for disinfecting other items that can't be washed such as the letters you receive in the mail.

UV-C sanitizing pens can also be used to disinfect drinking water. By shining the pen onto the water and stirring it slowly to make sure all the bacteria and viruses are exposed to the UV-C light, you're able to help reduce the number of pathogens in the water. It's common for pet owners to use these pens to disinfect the water in their pets' drinking bowls, as they routinely sit exposed to bacteria and viruses floating in the open air.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Using a Sanitizing Pen?

When using a UV-C light sanitizing pen, it's important to remember that it's a stronger form of UV-B light. Don't expose your skin to light, since you can rapidly develop a sunburn. Your eyes are especially vulnerable to UV-C light, so never shine the pen anywhere near your eyes.

Additionally, UV-C light can also cause plastics to break down in the same way that UV-B light does. If you're using a UV-C light sanitizing pen to disinfect water, make sure it's in a container that's made out of either metal or glass. If you use it on a plastic container, some plastic might leach out into the water due to the damage that's done to it by the UV-C light.

Thankfully, these safety precautions are easy to follow. As long as you keep them in mind, a UV-C light sanitizing pen is a convenient way to disinfect surfaces that can't be conveniently cleaned using other methods. If you're looking for a way to help stay healthy by reducing the number of pathogens you're exposed to, then consider purchasing a UV-C light sanitizing pen and regularly disinfecting the surfaces in your home.