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Ultrasonic cleaning versus UVC light sterilisation | Ultrawave

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August 21, 2020

As workplaces begin to reopen following the Covid-19 lockdown, those operating in customer facing roles are tasked with ensuring that their workspace and equipment is clean and disinfected at all times.

As a result, business owners are left to make the decision on which method of cleaning to use, which can prove difficult with the sheer volume of information currently circulating.

Two of the methods that have been at the forefront of discussion are ultrasonic cleaning and UVC light sterilisation.

While both methods are powerful, there are some issues with UVC light sterilisation which we highlight below which should be taken into consideration before making a decision on which option to choose.

1.     Safety –
UVC is a known carcinogen for human skin, so there are certainly safety concerns for those operating the light. While we know that UVB can cause extensive sunburn, UVC is even more dangerous with the ability to cause 10 times the burn effect of UVB in just a few seconds. Those operating UVC light sterilisers therefore need to act cautiously and wear protective clothing.

Ultrasonic cleaning on the other hand eliminates the risks that are presented with most other cleaning methods. The ultrasonic bath requires the user to simply place equipment inside and the machine does the rest of the work, limiting the user’s exposure to potential contaminants and any hazardous equipment. A specially formulated detergent is also used in place of harmful chemicals which prevents workers from inhaling fumes.

2.     Ease of use –
UVC light sterilisation is a line of sight technology. If anything is shadowed, it’s not going to get any disinfection. Getting this right isn’t always easy, but as with anything if you’ve had specialist training and you do it often enough it will get easier

Ultrasonic cleaners can be used by anybody without specialist training. Any member of staff can simply place the equipment inside the bath and set the machine to clean. This frees up time to disinfect surfaces and prepare for their next client whilst the machine deep-cleans and disinfects all of their equipment, producing consistent results every time.

3.     Damaging effects –
UVC light sterilisation has been proven to cause photooxidative degradation which breaks polymer chains, produces radicals, and reduces molecular weight which leads to materials becoming useless. When used on PPE it cannot be guaranteed that the equipment won’t be rendered unusable after disinfection.

Ultrasonic cleaning does not cause damage to equipment or degrade materials during the cleaning process. Often, equipment requires thorough cleaning and a delicate process to ensure its reliability, especially in the case of PPE. The cavitation effect produced by an ultrasonic cleaner does exactly that. It allows the mixture of water and detergent to reach into narrow crevices and remove unwanted residue and germs, while keeping the equipment intact.

4.     Recognised cleaning solution –
UVC Light sterilisation has been proven to be effective only when 100x the natural level is used. In addition, UVC doesn’t actually clean, so while is disinfects it leaves out a vital part of the sanitation process. To kill the virus on items such as PPE, the highest amount of exposure would be required which poses extensive risks to the equipment as well as the individual carrying out the cleaning process. While UVC devices are available in different shapes, sizes, and strengths, their antimicrobial ability can vary which could prove unreliable for business owners.

Meanwhile, ultrasonic cleaning is a recognised cleaning solution and has been used for a number of years by medical professionals. The ultrasonic bath provides a deep clean and penetrates each nook and cranny of the materials submerged, removing contaminants from every surface of items. Sound waves are used through water to create microscopic implosions and the imploding bubbles act like microscopic scrubbing brushes. This technology is used across all models of ultrasonic cleaners and provides a consistent clean every time.

If you have any questions or want to talk to us about how Ultrasonic Cleaning can help you, please get in touch.