This Little Orb Will Change the Way You Clean Your Water Bottle
It blasts germs and bacteria with UVA light.
Raise your hand if you just swish your water bottle with some water and call it "clean." Same.
The thing is, your water bottle is likely harboring a ton of gross germs and bacteria (yes, even if you only use it for water). So even when you're chugging water and feeling healthy AF, you might be swallowing thousands of CFUs (colony-forming units) of bacteria. (Just see how the number of bacteria on your water bottle compares to the amount on a toilet seat. Barf.)
A new tech company is trying to offer an easier solution: a little UVA light-emitting device that claims to kill algae, mold, fungus, and bacteria with the press of a button.
The EnviroHygiene™ Orb™ Antimicrobial Light Ball is a tiny sphere that uses blue and low-intensity UVA light (which is not harmful to humans, BTW) to kill single-celled organisms living right in your water bottle. (Related: The Benefits of Red, Green, and Blue Light Therapy.)
That's not the only place you can use it: Throw it in your humidifier's water tank (yes, it's waterproof!) to prevent the growth of algae, in the produce drawers in your fridge to reduce bacteria (and make your fruits and veggies last longer), or inside your sneakers to kill odor-causing germs.
Here's how it works: When you turn the Orb on, it flashes blue and UVA light, which studies suggest can kill microorganisms that prove harmful to humans. In fact, bacteria like Streptococcus (a.k.a strep) and Staphylococcus (yes, the one that causes staph infections) diminished in quantity when exposed to UVA light at 405 nm of intensity, according to one study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (the findings of were used to help develop the Orb). The researchers concluded that UVA light can work as an antibacterial and decontamination mechanism.
"The ability of long- and short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and fungus has been well studied," says Kiran Krishanan, a microbiologist for Probiogen, a probiotics supplement company. "365nm is an effective wavelength for UVA to have an antimicrobial effect, but it is likely not a sterilization effect."
The Orb's wavelength is slightly lower energy, ranging from 375 nm to 405 nm; however, studies show the antimicrobial properties of 405nm wavelength light. (Mini science lesson: Longer wavelengths actually have lower energy, and shorter wavelengths have higher energy.) The company says the Orb can also kill E. coli and molds found in most homes that can trigger allergies. (Related: 5 Super-Germy Spots In The Gym That Might Make You Sick)
It's worth noting that, as incredible as this little guy may seem, 10 minutes of Orb action can't totally replace a good, old-fashioned soap-and-water cleaning with antibacterial soap: "It's not guaranteed to kill all bacteria that may cause illness," says Krishanan. In addition, it likely won't kill viruses or multicellular organisms like parasites, he says.
Although it can't replace cleaning your water bottle completely, the Orb can help keep away any type of organisms that could affect your air and water quality, said Lloyd Nelson, CEO/President of LED Technologies, Inc., the company that created the Orb. And if you don't have faith in your cleaning skills in the first place, it's better than nothing, right? (Related: Air Quality Affects Your Workout (and Your Health) and More Than You Think)
Want to give it a try? You can buy the Orb on Amazon for $149 (you get two orbs and one charger).