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Ellumi's LEDs use light to kill household germs and mold

Can you really eliminate gross stuff by turning on a light?

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
2 min read

What if there was a way to get rid of germs that didn't require scrubbing and elbow grease? That's what lighting company Ellumi says its LED light fixtures can do. Just flip a switch, the company says, and bacteria, fungus and mold don't stand a chance.

According to Ellumi, its LEDs not only illuminate their surroundings, they disinfect them too. Ellumi's products use white light, as opposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, which has been used to eliminate nasty microbes for decades. The company says its LEDs rely on proven technology from medical industry startup Vital Vio

Along with ordinary white light, the system emits light at the 405 nanometer wavelength. While not harmful to people, 405 nm light kills microbes and other bugs, according to VitalVio.

Watch this: How to clean your dehumidifier

Trouble with tough bugs

To back up its case, Ellumi points to two studies published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The first study concludes that over a 15-week period, an LED disinfection system "significantly reduced the microbial surface contamination" in a hospital trauma room.

The second study showed Vital Vito's LED light effectively eradicated nasty bugs such as MRSA, VRE and A. baumannii. The results for CRE and C. difficile were less conclusive, since LED light had minimal impact on those bugs. This study was short by comparison, running for only 96 hours.

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Ellumi is working on a recessed version of its germ-killing LED light for bathroom showers.


Mildew might be the killer app

Right now you'd have to be extremely germphobic to buy one of Ellumi's lights. Either that or have plenty of extra money to spend. Currently, the company sells under-cabinet light fixtures designed for kitchen use. You'll pay a hefty premium for them: Sold through Amazon, they range in price from $68 to $143. Models come in four sizes of differing length (9, 12, 18 and 24 inches). That's easily triple the price for regular LED light strips.

Ellumi is working on another version of its germ-killing light. This one will be a recessed fixture meant for your shower. It will zap bacteria, but more importantly fungus and molds too. Ellumi hasn't announced pricing or availability yet, but if it eliminates shower mildew, consider me sold.

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