Scientifically Tested: UV-C vs Wet Wipes


As part of our ongoing process to discover the best ways to develop our product range and understand how to tackle the spread of diseases and viruses, we are continually carrying out experiments. One recent experiment was to examine the efficacy of wipes vs UV-C on handheld devices, used by a major UK company. We were genuinely astonished by the results. 


There has been an enormous increase in concern around cross infection and the potential to spread bacteria and viruses from shared devices since the advent of Coronavirus.  Unsurprisingly, anything that we touch routinely on a day-to-day basis, scanners, sensors, tablets, even VR headsets are obvious candidates for transferring infection from one individual to another. The cleaning solution up until now has invariably been to use wet wipes. They are relatively cheap, readily available and can be used by anyone with little or no training making them the obvious choice, but do they work?

We already knew (by reading the labels) that disinfectant spray and wipes only achieve advertised efficacy if the item being cleaned remains wet for 5 minutes.

What we didn’t know is how effective wipes are under ‘normal’ use. After some discussion we decided that there was only one way to find out and we began planning the experiment. 

The Experiment

Our test subjects were 10 handheld devices of varying condition. To begin the experiment all the devices were tested for presence of Colony Forming Bacteria and Moulds. At this point we split the devices into 2 distinct groups. Devices 1 – 5 were disinfected with wipes then tested, and subsequently disinfected with UV-C and retested. The wipe disinfection process was to thoroughly wipe devices with a clean wipe each time for around 30 seconds, more than twice the average wiping time. The UV-C disinfection process involves placing the devices into the Uvisan UV-C Disinfection Cabinets and running through the recommended cycle. Group 2 (Devices 6 – 10) were disinfected with UV-C only, and then tested. 

The Results

So, to the important part. What did we discover? Below is a summary that shows the percentage reduction in CFU in the two groups. 

In Group 1 the wipes when used alone only managed to kill 42.4% of Bacteria and Viruses present. That leaves a huge 57.6% of potentially harmful bacteria remaining. After UV-C was then used, this was reduced to 92.7%.

Group 2 was only disinfected using UV-C but achieved 97.2% reduction. A great result for UV-C there, proving it is unmistakably safer as a disinfection product when compared to wipes, a slightly longer cycle would have achieved close to 100% disinfection, Uvisan cabinets are fully programmable depending on the complexity of the equipment’s surface and the degree of handling and contamination.  


Clearly the Uvisan Disinfection Cabinet even on a standard uncalibrated cycle won hands down, but as part of the bigger picture, this highlights an area that could potentially be a problem that is getting overlooked. Anything that can be done to make our world a safer place must be a bonus, whether at work or home or anywhere and unfortunately wipes don’t cut it.