Lights that Kill Germs: Do They Really Work?

Published July 2020

Disinfecting Lights

Sanitizing lighting technology that tackles germs, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.


Sanitizing through light, disinfecting lighting technology, The Retrofit Companies, Inc.
Source: ScienceDaily

A desperate need for sanitizing options has driven businesses to consider alternatives to simply hand-washing and wearing masks.

In addition to current disinfection practices, including hand hygiene, manual cleaning & disinfecting chemicals, many businesses are installing disinfecting lights. These germ killing lights are helping businesses re-open sooner with fully equipped safety plans and procedures.

Airborne transmission of diseases is top of mind for any public space and these lights greatly improve the safety for all occupants.

Germ fighting lights are used in healthcare settings all the time, but thinking beyond that, we are seeing a boom in disinfecting illumination in any and all public settings.

Antimicrobial LED Lighting

We have entered a world that is hyper-aware of how fast germs, viruses and diseases can spread and businesses need to tackle these issues as they try to re-open and introduce new safety measures as part of their new-normal.

The Science

Antimicrobial LED lighting is an option that uses developments in lighting science and microbiology to treat harmful microorganisms that are in the air and on surfaces. These products meet lighting requirements for commercial applications while providing an unobtrusive disinfecting option. Disinfecting LED lights can be running overhead while you continue with your normal daily operations. As these lights run, they are disinfecting germs, bacteria, fungi, mold and spores from the air and surfaces.


These disinfecting lights are human friendly, are therefor safe for occupied spaces, and are incorporated into your lighting system so they are continuously disinfecting. Options are available for both targeted environmental disinfection in small space or rooms, as well as larger applications in warehouse, manufacturing, gymnasium or other broad settings.

Common Settings:

    • Restaurants & Food Preparation*
    • Food Manufacturing
    • Dining Areas
    • Classrooms
    • Daycare Centers
    • Fitness & Recreation
    • Gymnasiums
    • Airports, Airplanes & Mass Transit
    • Conference Venus & Convention Centers
    • Offices

*Antimicrobial LED Luminaires are outside of the UV spectrum and will not degrade materials such as food, plants or animals.


Contact our Lighting Team to learn more about this technology.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Devices

The main difference between the Antimicrobial LED lights and the UV options is that UV’s are harmful to human tissue whereas LEDs are human friendly. This technology is programmed to run when your space is not occupied.

The Science

Scientists have known for decades that broad-spectrum UVC light, which has a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nanometers, is highly effective at killing bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together (source).

Though studies are still being conducted around UV lights killing COVID-19, the pandemic has made UV light disinfection much more popular in healthcare settings, and even the New York City subway system.

UV light may help stop the spread of diseases such as influenza or tuberculosis. Large ultraviolet (UV) devices are being used across the country to help with the critical shortage of N95 masks. These devices decontaminate PPE, making them reusable.

Mobile units with UV disinfecting lights are also available and are very popular for disinfecting items such as cell phones, personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Healthcare industry, and high-touch devices in the Education industry.


Disinfecting UV lighting solutions are supplemental to your main lighting system with simple lighting controls. We design your UV lights to operate with your system, working with your specific building occupancy and hours of operation. Custom controls are available and can be programmed for seasonal hours, holidays, and any customization you need for your business.

Common Settings:

    • Healthcare & Medical Industry
    • Education
    • Daycare Centers
    • Fitness & Recreation
    • Locker Rooms & Showers
    • Retail & Grocery
    • Hotels
    • Government Entities
    • Museums
    • Airports, Airplanes & Mass Transit
    • Offices


If you have any questions about these disinfecting lighting technologies, please contact one of our lighting team members or call us at 507-455-2192.

How can you make your facility safe from airborne pathogens? 

Connect with our Lighting Team ASAP to take advantage of these disinfecting lighting technologies. We will work with your budget, timelines and specific building needs.