What is Ultraviolet (UV) light and how does it damage your clothes?

What is Ultraviolet (UV) light and how does it damage your clothes?

Given Singapore’s warm and tropical year-round weather, a large majority of us are familiar with drying our washing outdoors. 

Sun-drying laundry has multiple benefits (natural disinfectant, cost-effective, minimal fabric shrinkage). But we often overlook that overexposing our laundry to the Sun can negatively affect the fabric quality due to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Find out how UV rays affect your laundry and how you can minimise sun-damaged clothes.

What is Ultraviolet?

Besides heat energy, the Sun emits UV rays, a type of electromagnetic radiation that you cannot see or feel. For the uninitiated, there are three main types of UV rays, each with different wavelengths and properties.

Ultraviolet A Rays (UVA)

Approximately 95% of UV rays from the Sun that reach the Earth’s surface are UVA rays. UVA rays cause indirect damage to DNA which results in premature skin ageing and are associated with the development of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet B Rays (UVB)

Fortunately, the Earth’s atmosphere shields us from most of the UVB rays. UVB rays cause direct DNA damage, and overexposure to such rays will lead to sunburns. They also trigger the development of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet C Rays (UVC)

UVC rays are absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, hence, they do not reach the Earth’s surface. However, being the most harmful ray among the three, even the briefest exposure to UVC rays can cause eye and skin injuries. Fun fact: NEA discourages the household use of UVC radiation sterilisers for disinfection.

How does UV affect your laundry?

Most of the natural UV light we encounter comes from the Sun, making it a natural disinfectant. 

The UV light is strong enough to eliminate/prevent bacteria reproduction on your clothing; it is also strong enough to break down the fabric bonds. On top of being more prone to breakage, UV light also encourages colour fading (photodegradation) in fabrics.

Unknown to many, natural fabrics like cotton, wool, and silk fade faster than synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon etc. Natural fabrics are sensitive to sunlight, and long term exposure to extensive bursts of sunlight and heat can result in irreversible damages. 

What Should You Do?

Besides reading the washing labels, you can invest in a laundry drying system for the best care for your garments. What better way to dry your clothes than with Steigen laundry drying system? 

From different blower temperatures to odour and allergy control, your laundry drying process will transform into a fuss-free one for good. Customise a wide variety of functions and timing cycles* on the Steigen Home app to fit both your schedule and your various laundry needs. 


Now, you will have one less chore to worry.

*Only applicable to Solar Alpha

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