Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, everyone has become more aware of their cleaning methods personally and at home. However, public facilities have also had to improve their hand hygiene and sanitisation protocols, to show the public that their spaces were safe and clean. The same has to be said of hospitals.
Not only are hospitals trying to keep clean at all times anyway for the benefit of their patients, but they also need to keep areas clean during and after visiting time. There are many ways used to keep surfaces, clothes, and equipment clean within hospitals, one of which is UV light. Let’s take a look at how ultraviolet cleaning is used to help hospitals stay virus free.
What Is Ultraviolet Light?
First, a quick explanation of ultraviolet light. UV light is a form of radiation – much like x-rays or visible light, but with a different wavelength. The wavelength sits between those two, with a shorter wavelength than visible sunlight but a longer wavelength than x-rays. In fact, UV light is the radiation responsible for suntans and, sadly, sunburn! So, it is obviously a powerful light source, if it can do such damage to our skin.
How Does It Work For Cleaning?
So, this powerful light is clearly dangerous if used incorrectly or exposed to the skin for too long. How does this make it a good way of cleaning? Well, if the powerful UV light can burn your skin, it must be able to kill or damage other living organisms, right? Yes! Using the right strength of UV light can actually kill up to 99.7% of active viruses in just 30 seconds.
Hospital cleaning staff have developed or purchased all kinds of ultraviolet tools to help them clean various parts of the hospital. Some use machinery or even robots to clean entire rooms, while some use handheld devices to spot clean certain areas. The UV light is fired at surfaces or entire rooms for extended periods of time to maximise the potential of killing bacteria and viruses on surfaces in the room.
When visiting a hospital, or moving from room to room, it’s quite easy to transport viruses on the soles of your shoes. Many hospitals have turned to tools like the ones developed over at www.healthysole.com to help give their frontline workers a fighting chance of stopping the spread. These handy little platforms can be placed outside patient rooms, in changing rooms, or just about anywhere else in the building to help keep feet clean.
By standing on a platform for around 30 seconds, the soles of shoes can be cleaned by UV light in as little as 30 seconds. Again, these powerful rays kill up to 99.7% of germs, making it far harder for workers or visitors to bring germs into a dangerously sick person’s room – or back out of it. This can help prevent the spread of dangerous diseases or viruses like Covid-19. It’s become a real game-changer for shoe hygiene in hospitals. The fact that it only takes around 30 seconds for these machines to do a great job of cleaning shoes means that it doesn’t add much time to a busy nurse or porter’s day. Those 30 seconds make a huge difference and don’t affect the efficiency of care within the hospital wards.
As mentioned, many hospitals are using UV cleaning machines to help disinfect entire rooms. While their staff will still manually clean rooms after an infectious patient leaves, using disinfectant sprays and wipes to clean every surface, the UV machine can help get those final germs missed by the naked eye.
The idea is simple, roll the machine into the centre of the room, shut the door and leave it. Let this little box blast UV light all around the room for around 30 minutes and when it’s done, you will almost certainly be walking into a room with far less potentially deadly viruses or bacteria on any surfaces. This, combined with regular cleaning, has been shown to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases by over 30%. Anything that can help reduce the spread of diseases should be a priority for hospitals, which is why there are more and more hospitals adopting this sort of technology today.
Finally, some hospitals use UV light in the disinfection of surgical tools and other equipment. Again, UV light isn’t the only part of the cleaning process, but it is certainly a key element. Once surgical equipment has been cleaned with disinfectant and scalding hot water, it may pass through a UV light as part of the final cleaning process. The UV light kills off any particles left behind in the previous cleaning cycle, much like it does when cleaning a room.
UV vs Traditional Cleaning
As mentioned, ultraviolet is a great addition to traditional cleaning processes. The methods of cleaning used for years are still a big part of making sure hospitals stay clean. Hospital cleaning staff make up a huge portion of the overall workforce.
When it comes to cleaning whole rooms, UV light should be used after all other traditional cleaning methods have been undertaken. These include the washing down of beds and surfaces with disinfectant, fumigating the room, and using strong cleaning products on floors. The same applies to cleaning individual items. Although UV can kill a large proportion of any bacteria, it won’t get physical grime and dirt off of tools or surfaces. That is why ultraviolet light is used as a final piece of the process, once all visible dirt has been removed from products.
Ultraviolet light is becoming a key element of multiple cleaning processes within hospitals across the globe. By helping staff, surfaces and equipment stay clean, UV cleaning is helping prevent the spread of viruses, bacteria, and infectious diseases. After the last 18 months of Covid-19, anything that can help prevent the spread should be surely welcomed into all hospitals. Keeping patients safe and well is, of course, the number one priority. If UV light can help do this in a timely and safe manner, it’s no wonder that it is being adopted far and wide.