5 Uses for UV Light

Ultra-violet (UV) light, or black light, is common in many households and some appliances.

This is a special type of light with many uses in different industries. You may have UV light without knowing what its uses are.

Here are five cool things you can do with UV light.

1. Disinfect Surfaces

UV light sterilization of face mask to disinfect

There are many types of products and methods to disinfect surfaces. Some people use boiling water, while others use disinfectant sprays.

However, you can also disinfect surfaces using UV light.

UV light, or black light, kills many types of germs and bacteria, so you only need to directly expose the surface to UV light to clean it.

There are many surfaces you can disinfect with UV light. We will discuss more of them later in this article.

2. Food Treatment and Maintenance

Side view of young female scientist in lab coat and protective mask and gloves examining green lettuce, growing in hydroponic tanks under UV lamps

Some germs or viruses, like E. coli and salmonella, die when exposed to UV light. Many types of mold, which are types of fungi, also die under high levels of UV light.

This means that UV light does not just disinfect surfaces, but it can also preserve organic products, such as food.

Many food factories and stores disinfect their products with black light to prevent spoiling. It is a very good practice to disinfect your food, even before you store it in the refrigerator, so it lasts longer.

3. Make Surfaces Glow

Fluorescent fossils photographed in ultraviolet light (365 nm). Smaller image showing same sample in normal daylight.

One very cool use of UV light is to make certain surfaces glow.

Here are some examples of items that can glow under black light and the reasons why:

  • Tonic water: Tonic water contains quinine, which glows under black light. It usually has a light-blue glow and is very beautiful to see.
  • Vitamins: Some vitamins that glow under black light are vitamin A and B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. You can use UV light to identify these vitamins.
  • Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll, which is found in plant leaves, has a red glow when placed under UV light. You can see this red glow when you shine very bright light on the leaves.
  • Scorpion exoskeleton: The exoskeleton of some scorpion species glows in the dark. This is very cool, and you can use it to search for scorpions in your backyard.
  • Human stripes: Human bodies have stripes called Blaschko’s Lines. While they do not glow under UV light, the light makes them visible.
  • Teeth whiteners: You can identify teeth whiteners using UV light. If you shine light on teeth, they should glow, as long as you are using real UV teeth whiteners.
  • Anti-freeze fluids: Manufacturers pour fluorescent additives into anti-freeze fluids to identify them.
  • Rocks: Some rocks, such as calcite fluorite, ruby, gypsum, opal, talc, quartz, agate, and amber, glow when put under a UV light. You can use these rocks to decorate and shine UV light on them.
  • Money: Modern US banknotes, such as the $20 bill, have security stripes that glow when placed under UV light. You can use the black light to distinguish an legal bill from a fake
  • Laundry detergents: Many popular detergents have fluorescent additives that make them glow under black light.
  • Banana spots: If you shine black light on a banana peel, you will see the spots shine. You can use the light to identify ripe bananas, because they will have more spots than unripe ones.
  • Diamonds: Diamonds glow under many types of lights, so it is no surprise that they glow under UV light as well.

4. Air Sterilization

Dehumidifier with touch panel, humidity indicator, uv lamp, air ionizer, water container works at home on kitchen. Air dryer

Many Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) appliances today have UV light in them. The lights help the appliances fight mold. This is very useful, especially for people with asthma.

All you need to do is install any HVAC appliance with built-in UV light and you are good to go.

Do not install UV light in any appliance by yourself. The built-in lights in these appliances are effective. You should only use appliances with this feature already built in.

5. Water Treatment

Ultraviolet lamps in a water disinfection plant

Black light makes up a very essential part of the water purification process in commercial water processing plants, pools, spas, aquacultures, and even in life sciences.

Instead of using expensive products to sterilize water, you can use UV light to kill most germs.

The clean water that you drank today most likely went through some UV light before it reached you. If you have a pool, you can cover it with a tarp and use UV light on it to prevent the growth of mold and algae.

Now that we know several uses for UV light, what really is UV light?

What Is UV Light?

UV light, or black light, is a light ray with a wavelength of electromagnetic radiation from 10 nm to 400 nm.

The wavelength of UV light is shorter than that of most visible light, but much longer than that of X-rays. UV light is present in the sun, as 10% of the total output of electromagnetic radiation from the sun is UV light.

UV light is the wavelength of light that falls between safe (visible) light and unsafe (x-ray) light.

UV light is not as safe as visible light, so you must be cautious when using it.

Continue reading to learn some safety precautions you should take when working with black light.

Precautions You Should Take

Here are some safety tips:

1. Do Not Look at the Light Directly

UV Protection Eye Business Health Concept. Eye Safety Sun or Computer Ultraviolet Blue Light.

You must not look at the source of UV light directly. You should not even look at light reflecting off a surface

However, if you must look at the light, be sure to wear UV protection glasses or goggles.

This is why you can’t find UV bulbs for rooms. It is also why you should not install the light in appliances.

2. Not for Kids and Pets

Mother and daughter talking sitting on sofa at home

Do not allow your kids to operate tools or appliances with black light. If they must have access to the tools, educate your children about the dangers associated with UV light.

Also, do not operate the lights when pets are around, so that they do not look at the light directly. Make sure that no UV light is present in a room where there are people, plants, or animals.

3. Disconnect Equipment Before Fixing or Maintaining

UV lamp for light sterilization on table in living room

If a tool or appliance with UV light is not working, make sure that you first turn off the power before you try to fix or maintain it. This is important to avoid electric shock or exposure to UV light rays.

Note that faulty equipment may still emit some light rays, even though you may not notice them.

4. Not for Fun

Warning UV Light Hazard Avoid Looking Directly at Light Symbol Sign

No matter how cool UV light can be, remember that it is not for fun. Only use it when you need to.

Also, remember that most surfaces can reflect light, so when you are using the light to make surfaces glow, be sure to wear UV light-protection glasses.

Whatever you are using the light for, always remember that it is not something that you should be playing with.

5. Read Safety Guidelines

You should read the safety guidelines for each product you buy that uses UV light. Be sure that you know how to use each product safely so you do not expose yourself to harmful rays.

Remember that even though UV light seems cool to use, you need to be careful with it.


We have discussed what UV light is, as well as unique applications and how to use it safely.

As long as you use UV light correctly, it can make your life healthier and safer.


Similar Posts