Saskatoon couple hopes to shed light on cleaning during COVID-19 pandemic
Jackie Graham and David Mah have started a disinfecting business called UV CLEAN. (Carla Shynkaruk/CTV Saskatoon)
SASKATOON -- Jackie Graham and David Mah started looking into the idea of ultraviolet cleaning methods soon after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
They ordered two handheld light machines from the United States - a personal investment of thousands of dollars - and their business UV CLEAN was born.
“We have parents that are older and grandparents that are elderly and we were looking at a way to keep everybody more safe,” Graham told CTV News.
She says they learned through research that a lot of hospitals in the U.S. use UV cleaning methods to keep surfaces sanitized. They liked the idea that those who are sensitive to strong cleaning chemicals have no issue with UV cleaning.
The couple also owns Bartari, a video game restaurant and bar in Riversdale. They wanted to explore cleaning methods to keep their business clean and safe for customers who were staying home because of COVID-19 fears.
“Our business at Bartari was down and we wanted to do the most we possibly could to keep our customers safe, and to get people back in here knowing that when the pick up a controller that its safe to touch,” David Mah says.
The couple had to get trained on the UV equipment and buy the necessary safety gear because working with ultraviolet light can be dangerous, Mah says.
When they go into a home all plants and animals need to be removed for the duration of the process because the rays from the UV will cause damage.
That strength is what makes it effective as a cleaner though, according to University of Saskatchewan microbiologist Joseph Blondeau.
“UV light has been around for a long time in terms of using it as a sanitizer or disinfectant. It has been in use in healthcare facilities and used to sanitize water and of course there has been a lot of interest lately because of COVID-19 in regard to its potential for being used fore that purpose,” Blondeau told CTV News.
He says the UV light works by targeting the organisms that replicate in a virus like the novel coronavirus, damaging or killing them on surfaces where they can live.
Ensuring the cleaning company can demonstrate the effectiveness of the cleaning is key according to Blondeau.
Mah says UV CLEAN does show customers how clean the surfaces are once they are done the procedure using a UVC Dosimeter card which indicates the level of disinfecting which has been done.
“In most cases, cleaners can miss a lot of surfaces, but our light doesn’t miss much for surfaces at all.”
He says they’ve had a lot of inquiries about the cleaning method since they started up three months ago. Customers so far include bars, lounges and some personal residences.
Pricing starts at about $100 for a small room like an office or bathroom.