How to Safely Use & Maintain Your Biosafety Cabinet’s UV Bulb

pssstttt... before we start, if you need to replace your biosafety cabinet's UV light, head here.

Understanding UV Light: A Quick Overview

UV light can play an important role in maintaining a clean biosafety cabinet (BSC). 

The UV bulb in your BSC disrupts the molecular bonds in the DNA and RNA of exposed microorganisms. This process inhibits their ability to replicate, effectively neutralizing them. 

As a result of UV’s effectiveness, according to Baker Company roughly 80% to 90% of all Class II Type A2 Biological Safety Cabinets manufactured in the U.S. within the last 15 years are equipped with UV bulbs.

UV Light Shouldn't Be Your Only Defense

However, it’s important to think of your BSC’s UV bulb as just one part of a multi-faceted safety protocol. 

UV bulbs can be very effective against unobstructed microbes in your BSC, but they are not a silver bullet. UV light can only disinfect what it comes into direct contact with, so they are ineffective against material covered in dust or other organic matter, as well as any material shaded by equipment left in the cabinet.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) recommend proper cleaning using liquid disinfectant. Cleaning your work surface and UV bulb with at least 70% IPA wipes on a weekly basis will ensure that your biosafety cabinet is safe for use.

Safety First: The Do’s and Don'ts


  • Be Mindful of Time: Most microbes can be neutralized by UV light in a matter of seconds, so make sure to use your BSC’s UV light only for the recommended period. UV bulbs lose their effectiveness over time - even if they haven’t burnt out - so it’s best practice to replace yours roughly once per year.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Always wear UV-absorbing glasses and gloves. UV light can be easily blocked, but is dangerous if allowed to contact skin or the naked eye.
  • Perform Regular Checks: Like any equipment, your UV bulbs need regular maintenance. Check frequently for cracks, damage, or residue build-up.


  • Skip the Clean-Up: Keep your cabinet and work surface clean. Dust and dirt can shield microorganisms from UV light, so it’s important to supplement with regular disinfectant liquid or wipes.
  • Overlook Room Safety: Ensure that no one is in the room when the UV light is on to prevent health risks from exposure.
  • Neglect Proper Disposal: Due to their mercury content, UV lights should be disposed of as hazardous waste​​. Follow your lab’s safety protocols, or contact BSCBulbs to inquire about our Safe Bulb Recycling service.

Maintenance Made Easy with BSCBulbs

At BSCBulbs, our mission is to simplify lab equipment maintenance. That's why our bulbs are guaranteed to fit your BSC with easy install, fair prices, and 24/7 customer service. Whether your equipment is Baker, NuAire, Labconco, or Thermo Fisher, we have you covered.

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