Fighting germs with UV-C light disinfection

We’ve learned many lessons since the onset of the pandemic. Around the globe vaccination programs are running and measures are being taken protect people from the consequences of the virus. But we have also realised that some methods are more effective than others at preventing the spread of disease.

There is a growing consensus that the primary route for COVID-19 infection is airborne. That makes improving indoor air quality and ventilation one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of coming into contact with harmful pathogens. The number of air changes per hour (ACH) determines whether or not the indoor air is sufficiently filtered with clean air.

Improving air quality

Basic air ventillation requires up to 6 ACH to provide fresh air, control humidity and reduce levels of odor and CO2. But each air change will only reduce the level of pathogens by 63%. So it’s not quite as simple as opening a window, which at 1-2 ACH will not eliminate pathogens, but will certainly affect personal comfort. Signifcantly increasing the ventilation to 15-20 ACH is a recognised strategy for air disinfection to reduce pathogens to a level that mitigates risk. One of the best ways to achieve this is by introducing UV-C air ventillation and indoor climate solutions, like Philips UV-C luminaires, that create the required levels for air and surface disinfection. In fact, our upper-air UV-C airborne disinfection test showed that 99.99% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was inactivated in just 10 minutes1 - the equivalent of 50 ACH.

How does upper air disinfection work?

UV-C disinfection upper air infographic

Explore the power of UV-C technology

Philips UV-C disinfection video cover

How does UV light disinfection work?

Ultraviolet radiation has enough energy to break down the chemical bonds between electrons and atoms. That’s why it can be harmful to eyes and skin (sunburn), but why it is also benefit for disinfecting surfaces and purifying air.

UV-C disinfection uses light to break down the chemical compounds in a micro-organism like bacteria, spores and viruses so they cannot multiply. Over the years, many hundreds of bacteria have been tested, and all of them respond to UV-C disinfection3 – including various coronaviruses. In laboratory tests, Signify’s UV-C light sources reduced SARS-CoV-2 virus infectivity on a surface to below detectable levels in as few as 9 seconds1. A clear reason why UV-C light should play a key role in your COVID-19 protection strategy.

Benefits of UV-C disinfection technology


UV-C technology is used for over 40 years1


All bacteria and viruses tested to date respond to UV-C disinfection2


Disinfects surfaces and objects in a matter of minutes


Can be used in numerous applications, such as offices, schools, stores and public transport

range of Philips UV-C lamps, luminaires, devices, control systems and services

UV-C light disinfection

For more than 40 years2, UV-C radiation has been a proven way to disinfect air, surfaces and water. Ultraviolet is a type of electromagnetic (EM) radiation that makes back-lit posters glow and is responsible for summer tans. On the EM spectrum, it falls between visible light and X-rays, and is invisible to human eyes.

The sustainable way to disinfect

As UV-C disinfection is a physical, rather than chemical process, there’s no need to handle, transport or store toxic, hazardous or corrosive chemicals – and there’s no chemical residue. It’s a simple, sustainable and safety-conscious solution that is strongly recommended as part of a comprehensive disinfection strategy including sanitizing hands, surfaces and objects with liquid disinfectants.

UV-C lighting: Application fields

We offer a full range of UV lamps, luminaires, chambers and control systems that are suitable for use in air, surface, objects and water disinfection; both for residential and professional applications.

UV-C surface disinfection

UV-C object disinfection

UV lamps for water purification

Find your nearest distributor, partner or installer specialized in Philips UV-C disinfection lighting


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Visit our Signify Lighting Academy here to find all relevant educational resources and trainings!

A word of caution

UV-C lighting presents minimum risk when used in the correct way. Direct exposure to UV-C is dangerous. The lighting must always be installed with adequate shields and safeguards (such as presence detection sensors or timers) to avoid light damage and severe injuries to the eyes and skin. The UV-C disinfection luminaires we provide without such safeguards are intended only to be used as components in disinfection systems that contain any safeguards indicated, but not limited to, those specified in mounting instructions and user manuals.

Philips UV-C disinfection luminaires must only be sold by Signify or through qualified partners and installed by qualified professionals according to our stringent safety and legal requirements.

None of our UV-C lamps are certified or approved as a medical device anywhere in the world and should not be used as such. They should never be used in applications or activities that may cause and/or lead to death, personal injury and/or damage to the environment. Plants and/or materials that are exposed to higher dosages of UV-C may become damaged and/or discolored.

  1. EPA Report, “Building Retrofits for Increased Protection Against Airborne Chemical and Biological Releases” Pg. 56 ​
  2. Fluence (UV Dose) Required to Achieve Incremental Log Inactivation of Bacteria, Protozoa, Viruses and Algae Revised, updated and expanded by Adel Haji Malayeri, Madjid Mohseni, Bill Cairns and James R. Bolton. With earlier contributions by Gabriel Chevrefils (2006) and Eric Caron (2006) With peer review by Benoit Barbeau, Harold Wright (1999) and Karl G. Linden
  3. Nadia Storm et al, Rapid and complete inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by ultraviolet-C irradiation, 2020. Report available at . The UV-C irradiance used in this study was 0.849 mW/cm 2.
  4. According to results obtained from a laboratory test conducted by Innovative Bioanalysis, a CAP, CLIA, AABB Certified Safety Reference Laboratory, in a room with sufficient air circulation. For more information, please refer to the Innovative Bioanalysis report available as download in the link.