Ultraviolet cleaning

I am in possession of a large ultraviolet torch (flashlight for the rebel colonists over there). This is not entirely accidental. I am also in possession of eight small pots of fluorescent paint that are white until they are illuminated by ultraviolet… I plan to leave an invisible legacy in this rented house.

Anyway. I found an interesting side effect. Here is the top of the cooker with the glass lid up….

Looks pretty clean, right? The big cooking ring on the right side (the hotplate is far-right, so we avoid using it in case Hitler appears) has never been used. It’s for cauldrons or something, I don’t know. Anyway, the rest of it gets cleaned after use but that one gets ignored. Is that a good thing? No, as it turns out..

Here’s what you see when you dim the lights and shine UV on it –

That fluorescent green stuff is bad filthy stuff. It’s invisible to the naked eye but UV shows it in all its gory glory. Okay, this ring hasn’t been used and if it was it would probably burn off most of the unpleasantness but even so. I don’t want the unpleasantness there to begin with.

The torch I used for this demo is a monster but this trick works just as well with a tiny pocket version. Unlike infrared you don’t need to look through a camera to see the effect. You just need low lighting, the crap glows green so you can find it and get rid of it.

I actually bought the torch for photo effects for book covers, but this side effect has proved very useful. It’s been a warm damp summer and mould loves that, so getting dirt it could grow on out of your house is a very good idea. But you don’t need that massive thing. Anything, even a tiny pocket one, will work.

I wish I’d known about this when I was a janitor. Local Shop would have been sparkling clean. And I could have embarrassed the auditors who always gave it a pass.

17 thoughts on “Ultraviolet cleaning

  1. Why (apart from having a new gadget to play with) are you so concerned about a bit of gunk on the hob? I suspect that parts of my own home, despite regular efforts to keep it clean(ish), would display similar signs. However, as I’m still in fairly robust health, despite my years, I see no reason to purchase an ultraviolet torch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being a microbiologist who also spent time cleaning a food shop, I might be a little overcautious πŸ˜‰

      But I didn’t buy the light for cleaning. It, in combination with some fluorescent paints, was intended for making interesting book covers. And maybe a little bit of pranking. The highlighting of cooker gunk was a side effect.

      The thing is, now I know it’s there and can’t ignore it…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The green stuff is bad? Hmm… y’know…. I tried one of those UV thingies in my home a few years ago. I thought it was nice ‘n clean cuz EVERYTHING was a nice smooth bright green! Ahh welll…. At least my house is CONSISTENT!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Some paints and plastics fluoresce. If it’s a uniform glow it’s probably the material, not the gunk. I should have mentioned that. I hope nobody is currently scrubbing their walls clear of paint…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you are going to engage in ultra-violent cleaning, total commitment is prolly the best option.
    It’s the only way to be sure. πŸ˜‰

    For you consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Most mammals, especially not primates like ourselves, have eyes which actively filter out UV light. This is a disadvantage for us and a real disadvantage for small mammals, as all diurnal birds of prey (and most other birds, for that matter) can see the ultraviolet.

    Now, mice are typical semi-nocturnal mammals. For most mammals, smell is their primary sense, hearing is secondary and eyesight is only there to stop them bumping into things. Mice dribble urine continually as they move, leaving a smelly trail that shows to other mice which other mice have been that way.

    Unfortunately for mice, dribbling urine everywhere is like running up a flag for birds of prey; they can see mouse runs from the UV signal left by mouse urine. This is how kestrels and the like know where to look; it isn’t random gawping at fields, but targeted watching of UV fluorescence of mouse urine on mouse runs.

    If you want to see where mice (and indeed any other mammal, humans included) have pissed, go looking with a UV torch and look for fluorescence.

    A final use for a good, strong UV light is to go hunting golf balls. They fluoresce very strongly under UV light, and grass doesn’t. It takes a while to build a decent haul of golf balls, but searching by night with a UV light makes it very easy indeed, I am told.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Legiron, before I rush off to buy me, compelled by OCD, a UV light (god, that brings back teenage memories of German discos…I’d wondered why everyone was wearing white as we went in) what ‘dirt’ fluoresces ? Fungi? Mold? Virii? Bacteria?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some bacteria fluoresce – one way to check an eye infection is with a (low power!) UV light. Pseudomonas will light up green. Most don’t though.

      What I was detecting was protein in grease, mainly. Could have stuff growing on it, might not, it’s just general grime.

      Strictly speaking, as it’s near the burner, nothing living is going to get into food cooked over it because nothing survives an open flame. It’s just me, microbiologist/cleaner, being excessively fussy πŸ˜‰

      You don’t need that monster torch either. I have a small pocket one that works just as well and makes the dog’s tennis ball light up in a dark room to the delight of the dog. The big one is for photographic playing, it should make some interesting book covers.

      I also have an infrared light and a filter for the camera. Digital cameras can see infrared (they do have filters to block most of it but on monochrome, you can still get an effect) and that can get pretty surreal. That doesn’t help with cleaning, it’s just for fun.

      Infrared lights are usually on sale to gullible ghosthunters who are looking for a heat signature from something that makes the room get colder. That’s a serious logic failure but it’s a very persistent one – and profitable for the gadget sellers πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: Sho’ Can Awe – Library of Libraries

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