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Vartest has a FAQ on UVC/UVGI and Textiles

Vartest Is Performing Accelerated UVC Testing Of Contract Textiles

  • Anticipates years of healthcare end use exposure in weeks.
  • Permits ranking and product development of woven, knitted, nonwoven, and coated fabrics.
  • Multiple evaluation methods are available:
    • Visual assessment of shade change.
    • Spectrophotometric assessment of shade change.
    • Embrittlement
    • Topcoat degradation including changes in gloss and surface chemistry and physical structure.
    • Change in anti microbial activity.

Why is UVC important to Contract Upholstery?

Standards for UVC resistant materials have up until now mostly been the concern of space agencies, as the atmosphere absorbs all UVC radiation before it reaches the Earth’s surface.

Testing for resistance to lower energy UVA and UVB is included in textile standards for outdoor applications (e.g., AATCC 16 option 3), or for materials used long term in bright areas (e.g., curtains). Such materials are selected or designed for some level of UV resistance to naturally occurring UVA and UVB wavelengths.

UVGI exposes interior surface materials (such as contract textiles) which are not currently engineered for any UV resistance to even higher energy radiation than what is addressed by lightfastness and weathering tests.

The filtered xenon and fluorescent sources specified in AATCC, ASTM, and ISO are designed to reproduce naturally occurring solar radiation at the earth’s surface, so their spectra include no UVC. They cannot be used to determine how materials will behave when exposed to UVC.

Can UVA and UVB exposures be used to predict UVC results?


Materials which deteriorate when exposed to UVA and UVB will also deteriorate when exposed to UVC.


Materials which deteriorate when exposed to UVC will not necessarily deteriorate when exposed to UVA or UVB.

Increasing the exposure time or intensity will increase the number of photons delivered.

But it is the energy per photon which matters.

If the energy of a UVB photon is less than the dissociation energy (breaking strength) of an atomic bond, then no bonds will break no matter how many photons are delivered.

UVA and UVB are less likely to damage textile coatings, finishings colorants, and fibers.

UVC is more likely to damage textile coatings, finishes, colorants and fibers, as well as viral and bacterial DNA.


C. difficile is considered a benchmark for effective disinfection.

It is among the most difficult HAIs to disinfect by conventional methods, and this remains true for UVGI.

Exposure dose at 254nm to kill C. difficile is in the order of 0.8 kJ/m2.

Seven years is commonly considered the lifespan for furniture in a healthcare setting.

Exposure to this dose once a week, for 7 years gives a total germicidal dose of 291 kJ/m2. That is total exposure of 291 kJ/m2 using a germicidal lamp operating at 254 nm output. Vartest achieves this dose in 10 hours but recommends a longer exposure time.

Inverse-Square Law of Light

The exposure indicated is a minimum, as the furthest corners of the room must receive this dose in order to kill C. difficile. Typical healthcare scenarios involve more frequent and more intense exposure.

The inverse square law describes how dose falls off exponentially from the source. In order for a surface three meters away from the source to receive the recommended dose, a surface one meter away will be exposed to nine times that amount. Surfaces will also be exposed repeatedly as the source is repositioned.

Ozone Generating LPM Lamps and Air Purifiers

The spectrum of low pressure mercury lamps has a peak around 183 nm, which generates ozone.

Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent, with deodorizing and disinfecting properties similar to hydrogen peroxide.

The glass envelope of the lamp is doped to block this wavelength for applications where this would be a health hazard.

Like UVC, ozone attacks polymers and soft plastics, fades dyes, and causes yellowing. AATCC 109 and 129 can be used to assess a textile’s propensity to degrade when exposed to ozone in either high or low humidity conditions.

This type of damage is colloquially known at “dry rot.”

Healthcare end users plan based on projected lifespans.

Coated upholstery materials designed to be wiped down are of special concern. An upholstered item damaged in this way becomes impossible to sanitize and should be repaired or replaced. Plastics are especially susceptible to UV embrittlement and discoloration, and even slight damage may render a coating permeable.

Contract materials for healthcare applications are engineered for heavy wear, but UVC exposure is likely to shorten the lifespan of materials only designed to resist chemical and mechanical degradation.

Materials and equipment which cannot be sterilized are unsuitable for use in a healthcare environment. Equipment designed to be easily cleaned may become unreasonably labor intensive or impossible to clean when damaged.

Cosmetic discoloration is considered a serious issue even if equipment remains functional.

For more information contact: Trevor Trapp Phone: 212-947-8381 Cell: 917-887-3202

Vartest awarded prestigious investment grant for developing advanced technologies

NYC wants to help manufacturers developing, learn about, and adopt innovative advanced technologies. Vartest has won a 2019 Advanced Material Grant from the Cornell Center for Materials Research, Invest-NY, and Ops21 to develop methods to analyze wool and cashmere fibers — Vartest will use this grant to standardize methods to detect and report the make-up and quality of important industrial materials.

More information is available from Cornell and from Ops21

Vartest CEO Receives Alumni of the Year Award at FIT!

We are proud to announce that Vartest President & CEO, Adam Varley, has been awarded the Alumni of the Year Award at the FIT TDM 2019 Dinner. The annual event is hosted through the Textile Marketing and Development Department, celebrating accomplishments of both alumni and seniors in the program. This award acknowledges Adam’s distinctive contributions toward the fashion and apparel industry through his achievements in textile testing.


Vartest hosted Dr. Preeti Arya and her Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Textile Development and Marketing class.  Students watched a PowerPoint focusing on the difference between Product Performance Specifications and Test Methods.

The students toured the lab seeing ASTM, AATCC, ISO, GB, ACT, BIFMA and Federal Standard 191 test methods for testing fiber, yarn, fabric (both coated and uncoated), used in apparel, aerospace, medical, military, couture, upholstery and active sportswear end uses.  Specialty testing markets like HVSA (High Visibility Safety Apparel) were reviewed in detail.

Vartest is glad to have built a relationship with the textile and apparel quality assurance and compliance executives of the future and continues to work with both FIT and its students.

Vartest Laboratories supported the Drexel effort to bring the National Network for Advanced Functional Fabrics Manufacturing to Philadelphia

“The U.S. Department of Defense has tapped Drexel University as a key leader in the creation of a $75 million national research institute that will support American textile manufacturers in bringing sophisticated new materials and textiles to the marketplace. [1]”

Vartest looks forward to being a technical resource for AFFOA projects, as part of the Fabric Innovation Initiative (FIN). This resurgence of cutting-edge textile technology in the North East harkens back to the birth of the US textile industry in the North East and the development of a significant textile technology department at MIT, but with a pleasant and welcome, modern high-tech twist.



Vartest’s Outstanding Achievements and Service Recognized by AATCC

Adam Varley, Vartest’s Technical Director & COO was honored to be the recipient of the TCR Service Reward “In Recognition for His Service to AATCC Research Committees”. On Thursday, April 3rd 2014, Adam attended a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, North Carolina, and was presented with this award for “his contribution toward the development of the AATCC Fiber ID Technical Supplement and the continuous updating of AATCC Test Methods 20 and 20A.”


Vartest In The News

Vartest Laboratories, Inc. recently appeared on ABC’s 20/20 in a special titled “20/20 True Confessions: Dirty Little Secrets from the Dry Cleaners”. In the segment, 20/20 sampled 10 drycleaners in Manhattan with identical garments containing mustard, wine, and nail polish stains. Vartest Laboratories was chosen to perform a Spectrophotometric Analysis of the stains on the returned garments to discover just how many of the selected drycleaners were able to remove the stains the best.

The ABC special as well as the results of the investigation can be found here: 20/20 True Confessions

Learn more about Spectrophotometric Analysis
, AATCC 130, AATCC 135, AATCC 158, and many of the other tests offered by Vartest on the Vartest Laboratory website here:

Vartest Offers Same Day Testing!

Vartest Laboratories now offers Same Day Service for select testing where it is feasible to do so. Such testing is subject to a 100% Premium Charge.

Check out the rest of the conditions as well as the tests we offer for Same Day Service on our Feasibility List.

Vartest Receives a Visit From FIT

Vartest Laboratories was pleased to welcome students from the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology on May 2nd, 2013. The students are members of FIT’s AATCC Club, and are currently involved in programs such as Quality Assurance, Textile Development, and Marketing. Adam Varley started their tour off with a Powerpoint Presentation on high visibility safety apparel testing and explained to the students how such tests help to evaluate the quality of the products that find their way into our laboratory. The students and their Vice President, Duygu Dizerkonca, then accompanied Stacy Sadowy, Vartest’s Head of Quality Control on a guided tour of all of the departments within the lab, showing them testing and testing equipment and introducing them to department heads and laboratory technicians along the way. A great time was had by all and Vartest looks forward to another visit soon.