Germicidal light bulbs are made with the sole purpose of utilizing a combination of quartz glass and special phosphors to effectively eliminate any germ as well as the possibility of creating ozone. Germicidal bulbs can come in a wide array of sizes, voltages, wattages and even base types. It is important to take note that these bulbs are manufactured with sterilization in mind, therefore they produce minimal visible light as it is not their primary function.

Manner of Operation

These lamps or bulbs normally come in one of two main types, medium pressure or low pressure.

Low-pressure germicidal bulbs are the most common type of germicidal bulb and these are almost usually fluorescent bulbs. However, the only thing that separates them from being classified as a fluorescent bulb is that the glass tube is made of quartz and that it has no phosphor within the tube. This lack of phosphor allows ultraviolet light to access the short wave and leave the lamp unaltered. In applications for germ killing, the ultraviolet light created acts as a mutagen that effectively eliminates bacteria by disturbing the structure of its DNA.

High-pressure bulbs work in a similar manner but create a higher intensity of UV light. High-pressure germicidal bulbs are usually applied in the process of water purification where water needs to be thoroughly disinfected with each lamp.


Germicidal bulbs are typically used where aesthetic quality of light is not needed, but where the elimination of germs is more important. It is also important to note that the light coming from these bulbs can be harmful to the human skin and eyes, therefore these bulbs should never be used for general-purpose lighting.

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