Black lights are different from the regular bulbs you know of. They are unique considering that they primarily produce ultraviolet radiation against visible light.
In the past, only a few people were aware that black lights can be applied in different ways, such as in arts, scientific research and for home purposes.
Blacklights are most commonly used when the fluorescence of objects needs to be observed with as little visible light as possible. Generally, this means that a blacklight will emit primarily UV-A radiation and very little visible light.
Below, we elaborate on the top interesting things you can do with the help of black light.
Table of Contents
What is a black light?
A black light is a lamp that provides ultraviolet light. It is also known as ultraviolet lamps, UV-A light and wood lamps. The “wood lamp” is in honor of Robert Williams Wood, the first man to build glass UV filters.
Types Of Black Lights
The ultraviolet lamps come in different forms, with some common ones being:
- Fluorescent lamps
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
- Incandescent light
- Mercury vapor lamps
Usually, incandescent lamps emit the lowest ultraviolet light. This is why they produce poor black lights. The kind of black lights available are unequally created and each produces a unique form of lights.
Most incandescent lamps come with a filter that blocks visible lights but allows ultraviolet wavelengths to penetrate. They often produce a faint violet-blue cast which is called black light-blue. That’s why the lighting industry designs them as Black light Blue (BLB).
As for other forms of lamps, they emit fewer filters. They tend to shine brightly when placed in the visible spectrum. For example, the Fluorescent black lights, on the other hand, produce much more bright light and it is energy-efficient.
Black lights produce lucid radiation that isn’t too visible to the eyes. If you will be working with such devices, it’s advised that you at least protect your eyes as they might cause you permanent tissue damage or some other eye complications.
Why is a Black Light Called “Black” Light?
The name came as a result of the light’s invisibility to the human eye. The light produced comes in a form of ultraviolet light, which humans are incapable of seeing.
That means any kind of light or bulb that emits ultraviolet light will turn a room from bright to dark. Sometimes, people can tell there are black lights that produce blue or violet light, which enable people to know that the light is on.
21 Uses Of Black Lights
Most times, black lights are known to be merged with glow-in-the-dark paint and used at parties. They are equally used for other everyday purposes: at crime scenes, nightclubs, etc.
That said, here are a ton of other purposes that black lights can serve:
1. To Create Halloween Haunt
One of the many ways people choose to add some spookiness to their Halloween event is through black light. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor event, installing black light will not only electrify the atmosphere but also enhance the aura.
While many lighting options can be used for a Halloween party, none of them is most fit for the event like black lights.
With black lights, you can create, transform and maintain a dull and dark atmosphere. For instance, creating a graveyard scene, you won’t be able to achieve perfection without the black light. To spice things further, add some glow paint to the tombstones then flash a black light at them.
When designing a scene for an indoor Halloween party, you can combine fluorescent lights with some other objects that are visible in the dark. Go ahead to include some morbid fine art on it. As soon as the black lights are turned on, the crowd will feel its impact.
Similarly, you can buy a cotton-based ghost costume and add some glow-in-the-dark pieces to make it more interesting.
2. For Determining How Clean the Kitchens and Bathrooms Are
If you work in a hotel, public restaurants and so on, you can use black lights to check how clean the rooms are. Under black lights, dirt and stains on the table, toilet and bathroom sinks will appear yellow or gold.
Black lights are also utilized in most labs whenever there is an outbreak of a disease or bacteria.
3. To Host A Black Party
In the olden days, birthday parties, get-togethers and so on were mostly boring with dull music and activities. Now, the black light party has gained more popularity, especially amongst young adults.
Black parties are just like every other normal party but the difference is in the lighting used. At every normal party, there will be different kinds of lights. As the name implies, the only light color for any blacklight party is black.
Black lights are fixed in the entire building or venue of a black light party; every attendee is usually instructed to put on clothes that are either white, fluorescent or any other cloth that can glow in the dark. That way, once they enter the party venue and the black light shines on them, their clothes’ color will illuminate too.
4. To Haunt Scorpions in the Dark
All scorpions tend to glow under ultraviolet light like the natural moonlight or electric blacklight. It emits a blue-green glow that comes from a particular substance in its hyaline layer.
If you are having issues dealing with scorpions in your apartment or store, you can use black lights to arrest and kill them in the dark. That is because Scorpions radiate under ultraviolet lights.
5. Used During Roller Skating
When it comes to leisure activities that can unite families and friends, roller skating surely makes the list. It’s a super fun activity and to add more flavor to it, you can introduce blacklight roller skating to your team.
Before roller skating, you can splash some black light paint on your roller skates. This can be done in a few minutes to enhance the appeal of the skates whenever they appear under a black light.
6. For Easy Identification of Invisible Fluorescent Hand Stamp
Security guards in establishments like banks, restaurants, and amusement parks use the black light to check invisible hand stamps.
It’s also applicable when people attend concerts or visit public places to relax or enjoy themselves in public places. They are usually instructed to get their hands stamped with invisible and black light-enabled ink.
The essence of this technique is to prevent people from gaining unauthorized passage into spaces where they are not allowed—immediately you enter the party, the stamp on your finger glows under the light, making it easy for the fish out who and who entered without paying the entrance fees.
7. Black lights Are Used in Cosmic Bowling
Cosmic bowling is an event that’s been hosted with sounds, lasers, special light, etc in place. It’s quite an interesting activity and to elevate the excitement, the organizers often incorporate black lights and disco music.
People who attend the cosmic bowling game will show up in different kinds of clothes. Once they appear under the black lights, the colors of their clothes, shoelaces, balls, wrist watches, etc ultimately start to “glow” under the light.
8. For Easy Detection of Fake Currencies
In airports, banks, and other financial organizations, black lights are used to detect fake currencies and credit cards. All currencies have security features in the form of tiny designs. These designs can’t be seen by the normal human eyes and it’s mostly impossible to be duplicated.
Once a currency appears under the black light and the security number or feature does not display, it means the bill or currency is fake. The black lights make it very easy to spot this.
9. Black Lights are Used During A Crime Investigation
During crime investigations, such as theft, murder, and so on, forensic scientists make use of black lights to detect fingerprints, and body fluids on surfaces and objects.
The forensic scientist will only dust a small portion of fluorescent dye and flash black light on it. This will make the fingerprints clear and very easy to detect.
Also, It can be used to check body fluids, such as sweat, blood, and urine, on crime scenes since they are mostly fluorescent and will glow when a black light is flashed on them.
10. For Anti-Theft Protection
Very often, people use the invisible pen to sign on objects, such as vases, paintings, documents, and a host of others. This is so these can be easily identified whenever the need arises.
For instance, artists usually write their names on their works to establish ownership. If the work ever gets stolen, it would be impossible for the thief to clean off the initially written name completely.
Invisible pens enable the name to glow when placed under the blacklight. In general, anything written by the invisible pen can not be seen in normal daylight with natural lights except when it’s under the black light.
Additionally, people use invisible pens to write letters to their loved ones, the recipient will be able to read the letter by using the black light.
11. Used To Detect Some Medical Conditions
Black lights are used to locate and detect medical issues, such as vitiligo and psoriasis. Vitiligo can only be seen with a black light, especially during its early stage. The same equally applies to psoriasis.
The basic symptoms of Psoriasis like red, itchy patches that are often treated with UV rays that are produced by black lights. The UV rays aid the body to create vitamin D which then heals psoriasis.
12. Black Lights are Used for Detecting Pet Stains and Pest Control
Just like that of the human body, the body fluids of pets, pests, and other animal secretions are equally visible under black light.
Once you start noticing some strange odor in certain areas of your home, you can try to find where it’s coming from by using a black light. It’s easy to spot pests and rodent urine odors as they are quite visible under black lights.
13. For Checking Air Condition and Other Liquid Systems Leak Detection
In mechanic and AC workshops, black lights are used to detect the location of a liquid leak, such as an air condition water leak or oil leak.
All you need to do is pour the liquid fluorescent into the leaking system and flash black lights in its direction. This process will immediately reveal the location of the leak.
14. Used During Ultraviolet Therapy
Ultraviolet therapy is conducted to correct jaundice in newborn babies. Jaundice is a medical condition that causes the skin to be yellowish and the eyes to be white. Black lights are used to correct this.
15. For Production of Tooth Whiteners
A lot of the toothpaste, whiteners, and enamels contain certain compounds that emit a blue glow to keep the teeth from turning yellow.
You can smile under a black light to witness the effect for yourself.
16. Black Lights are Used for Switch Protections
Regardless of the kind of business you’re into, you need to protect yourself from switching. Let’s say you sell electronic devices; you might find that some people may try to return goods they didn’t originally purchase from your store while claiming that it’s faulty.
With a special mark imprinted on your products, you can avoid such distasteful situations. There are lots of other things to protect: from artwork to clothes to shoes, etc.
17. Used In Antique Inspections
Black lights are often used to confirm authenticity and repair tests. Most new paints contain a volume of phosphors that illuminate under black lights. This makes it easy for antique inspectors to find out whether a painted object was painted recently, an antique, a reproduction, or just a touched-up antique.
18. Black Lights are Used to Light And Identify Minerals
Minerals such as Opal, Fluorite, Calcite, Dolomite, Willemite, Quartz, etc glow under black lights. They display what is called the Photoluminescence Phenomenon.
19. Black Lights are Used In Mold Inspection
Mold contains phosphors, which can be easily detected by shining black lights at it.
20. Black Lights are Used To Detect Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll makes plants green, but they show blood-like red colors under black lights.
21. Black Lights are Used as a Medical Equipment
Before surgeries, black lights are used to decontaminate hospital equipment. They are also used to inspect operating rooms to confirm that there are no germs anywhere. Black lights are also used in hospitals to cure mental materials so that they can be used as quickly as possible.
Things That Glow Under Black Lights
Below is a list of things that are much more visible when placed under black lights:
- Tonic water
- Vitamin A and B
- Antifreeze fluids
- Minerals and gemstones
- Body fluids such as urine, sperm, and blood
- Banknotes such as bills and currencies glow under the black light. For instance, the $20 bill has a design at the rear end that becomes very visible under the black light only.
- Spots on a ripe banana
- White papers
Are Black Lights Bad For Your Eyes?
All black lights produce UV light, which is the safest of all wavelengths. It is worthy of note that when black lights are used in black light parties and other glow events, your eyes are unlikely to be affected negatively by the UV-A light unless you stare at it for a long time.
You can only get eye issues from black lights if you stare at the source for too long, that’s why people are mostly advised not to look into the source. In addition, you can wear sweet neon framed sunglasses to protect your eye whenever you are at a blacklight party.
Black lights have the lowest tendency to cause any eye damage.
Can Black Lights Be Used At Night?
Yes, they can. However, it does not emit any significant visible light. Also, they emit a lot of ultraviolet light and as you continue to expose yourself to this kind of light, you can get sunburns.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Black Light
Before you make a purchase, there are certain factors you need to consider;
1. The best ultraviolet black light. Black lights are available in fluorescent or LED lights, but now, UV LED lights are gaining more popularity.
2. The amount of UV that you need. 1 watt of UV light can create strong fluorescent effects.
3. The wavelength of UV that you want. The narrow range UV-A emits fluorescence effects of around 350 to 400 nm but experts have recommended the wavelength of 365 nm for most black light applications.
4. The UV light fixture that’s most suitable for you. Black lights come in different shapes—UV LED strip light, rigid UV LED light bar, UV LED wall washers, etc.
In summary, black lights are used for different purposes apart from unusual lighting. The ultraviolet rays that black lights produce are very useful and almost every industry takes advantage of the benefits. From Medical to arts to finance and many other industries that you can think of.