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What is UV Sterilization?

UV sunglasses

There are several different ways you can sterilize your menstrual cup. You may have seen new UV menstrual cup sterilizers on the market and maybe you’re wondering what they’re all about; whether they work and actually eliminate bacteria! What is UV sterilization? Is it effective for bacteria and viruses?  If you found this post, chances are you are doing your research. Let’s dig in!

What is UV Sterilization?

UV light has been used for sterilization and disinfection as early as the mid-20th century, actually! Technology has advanced since then, and specifically in the UV bulbs themselves. Their reliable, long lifespan (thousands of hours) and smaller size has broadened the use! You can find it being used to disinfect water, air, fruits, vegetables, surgical utensils, tablet computers, toys, even fish tanks!

Check out this UV robot that is used to sterilize an entire hospital room!

UV Sterilizing

How effective is UV Sterilization?

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

Within the last handful of years, researchers at CUIMC figured out that a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light (technically) called far-UVC could kill microbes without damaging healthy tissue. Crazy right? We hear UV and we automatically think of having a gel manicure or spending time at the pool with a lot of sunscreens!

Moreover, the researchers demonstrated that UVC light was effective at killing MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria, a common cause of wound infections!

UV Spectrum

What is the difference between the UV rays?

Light is a crazy thing! On one end of the spectrum, you find infrared and on the other end, you find x-ray. The sweet spot in the middle is the visible light; this is what’s able to be seen by the naked eye. Between visible light and x-ray, you find all the UVs. 

UVA: UVA rays, which account for 95 percent of the radiation that reaches the earth’s surface, cause wrinkles, “sunspots,” and other types of premature aging. They are also strongly linked to skin cancer. 

UVB: UVB rays, which affect the skin’s top layer, cause skin cancer, and most sunburns.

UVC: These rays are considered the bad boys of the UV family. They physically actually never reach the earth’s surface from the sun because it’s blocked by the ozone layer. However, it’s been recreated here on earth with things like mercury lamps, bulbs, and welding torches. UVC light is able to cause the physical destruction of viral, bacterial, and fungal cells in a matter of seconds.

How long does it take for UV light to sterilize?

A matter of minutes! UV-C is the killer of the UV family. Tests of UVC on surfaces have demonstrated that it kills C. diff spores in seconds versus hours for chemical cleaning. In fact, Here at Pixie Cup, we are super excited about the launch of our new UV Sterilizer! By placing your Pixie Cup in the sterilizer and closing the lid, you hit the button and 99.9% of bacteria are killed in minutes. (2 minutes to be exact!) The UV lights remove odor-causing bacteria along with gross things like Staph, Salmonella, E. coli, flu & other common germs. Your cup is clean + safe to be used immediately or stored away for next month! 

UV Sterilizer

To use our sterilizer, be sure to wash your Pixie Cup and dry it completely. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash, which is specifically formulated to gently wash your silicone menstrual cup. On top of that, the Pixie Cup Wash is pH balanced so that it doesn’t interrupt the vaginal flora! Sterilizing your menstrual cup regularly is key to keeping germs + bacteria away and infection at bay.

Do you have questions about UV sterilization? Comment below! We’d love to chat! Meanwhile, be sure to check out our store!

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Hannah L.

If you’ve read the Pixie Cup blog, emails, updates or… well, anything lately, Hannah probably wrote them. She's a business owner, self-made writer and marketing expert. Experience in Mailchimp, ConvertKit, SnapChat, Pinterest and SMS Marketing.

16 thoughts on “What is UV Sterilization?”

  1. How do I know if the uv sterilizer is actually cleaning the cup? Do I just trust it that when the lights are on for the two minutes it’s doing its job and is ready to use?

    • Hi Karina! We did extensive research on our suppliers, the bulbs used, and the product. We matched the lights that are used in hospital sterilization. So, we do trust it’s doing its job! However, we do have our Steamer which is popular especially if you like the peace of mind and the feel of the hot temperature sterilizing being done. Let us know if we can help further!

    • Hi Jessie! Both ways of sterilizing are extremely effective. It’s really your preference. If you prefer to see or feel your cup being steamed, you should check out our Pixie Cup Steamer 2.0! The UV Sterilizer is popular for traveling women because it’s so compact.

  2. Is there mercury in the bulbs? If so how long do they last and do you have a process you use or recommend for customers safe disposal?

    • Hello! The bulbs in our UV sterilizer are actually UV-C bulbs, which are LED! So they are able to be disposed of in a normal way! If you would like to recycle the unit once you are done with it, we urge you to contact your local recycling center because everyone does it a little differently. Or places like TerraCycle are in the business of providing recycling solutions for odd items! 🙂 I hope this helps.

    • Hi Jay! It’s just out of stock right now! We are having it rebranded with our new logo and packaging. It will be back!

    • Nope! It sterilizes purely by the UVC lights! Do not add water – it’s not designed for that and would be unsafe.

    • Yes! We have discontinued our UV Sterilizer – for now. But be on the lookout in the coming months for a newer, better version!

      • Hi there….
        Is the uv steriliser on amazon UK the discontinued version?
        I’d rather wait for the newer version that you mentioned above? Many thanks!

        • Yes, it is our old version. If you’d like us to add you to our New Product Early Access list, send us your email address to Then you’ll get all the updates and announcements about new products.

          • Does this mean that the older version isn’t sterilizing as it should? I bought mine from Amazon just this year.

          • No, they work as they should. But if your cord shorts out or your light does turn on, let us know!

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