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What Is a UV Wand?

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  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2014
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A UV wand is a tool that uses UV-C light to disinfect surfaces. UV wand manufacturers claim that such products are capable of killing 99.9 percent of bacteria. Science backs up such claims; in fact, UV light is used by hospitals and other medical facilities to kill bacteria. People using a UV wand at home shouldn't, however, stop taking their vitamins: UV wands can only effectively kill surface bacteria. That means that air-borne viruses and bacteria, which are often responsible for common maladies, such as the cold and flu, can't effectively be prevented using a wand.

UV wands should be used with caution, as UV light can be damaging to the eyes and skin. Although UV wand manufacturers attempt to design their products to avoid such damage, injury is still possible. Users should therefore consider wearing protective gloves and glasses to avoid any harm.

The benefit of a UV wand is not only that it works at sterilizing tools and contact surfaces, but that it's also environmentally friendly. Unlike many household cleaners that are used to kill bacteria, UV wands don't emit any chemicals that could be harmful if inhaled. As long as the user ensures the light isn't aimed at the eyes or skin, wands can prove very deadly to microorganisms while remaining completely safe to humans.

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Hospitals have long used UV lights to disinfect a number of things, including medical rooms, tools, and equipment. Medical facilities don't often, however, use wands. Instead, they rely on UV lamps that don’t just clean solid objects, but also water and air. The lamps must be installed in such a way to be safely used around people, something which is more difficult, but not impossible, to do in a person's home.

Besides the wand, there are other bacteria-killing UV light products available for purchase. For example, there are UV water filters that claim to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria in water, making it sterile and safe to drink. Not only are such filters effective, but they work quickly, zapping bacteria in less than a minute.

UV light appliances aren't cheap, however. Purchasing a small, battery-operated water filter or a UV wand can often cost at least $70 to $80 US Dollars (USD). Depending on what they're used for, and for the benefit of being able to clean objects without using toxic chemicals, that cost may be well worth it in the end.

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