UV = ultraviolent

Summer is here, and so are the many people hitting the beach in bikinis. Even the landlocked have their day by the pool, or in shorts, summer tops, or flirty little skirts. Don't forget to put on sunblock! UV is really bad for the skin.

This is certainly not the case of "what doesn't kill us can only make us stronger," but "what doesn't kill us can make our lives better," with one important caveat--that we harness the force safely. Solar panels have been in use for years as a source of energy. The initial setup isn't cheap, but over time, the savings can be phenomenal. Other than solar-powered calculators, most of us don't have the luxury of enjoying this technology, but there's another use for solar rays that cost us absolutely nothing.

The very thing that kills our skin cells can also be used as a disinfectant of sorts.

Think about it--UV is used to irradiate things all the time. It works by frying the DNA of nasty little critters. Obviously, it's a bad idea to stick ourselves under the sun, but I think it can be a good way of disinfecting thrifted items. If the items can be washed, sunning it a good additional step. If the items can't be washed at all (like shoes and decorative items) but you're weary of the germs, why not stick it under the sun for a while? As long the material won't crack or fade under the heat or light, it should be a viable option. If cracking and fading is a possibility, either avoid this method or keep the cooking time short.

I remember my mom used to tell me to let used books sit in the sun for a while. I thought it was a silly idea and didn't do it, but now I've come to realize why it's a good idea. I don't like to do something simply because everyone does it--just because people it's a routine practice doesn't make it right. However, many conventional wisdoms, ancient practices, and traditional therapies do have an underlying scientific/logical reasons to justify them. It's just that the practitioners are way before their time and haven't found a "why." If I can see a rational basis for a particular method's effectiveness, I'd be happy to consider it. It's just more intellectually satisfying than "because I said so."

Just to be clear, UV is not the end all and be all. It won't kill everything, but it's a chemical-free and hassle-free way of cleaning. Lysol and possibly alcohol are still needed to reach the deep dark corners of shoes that can't be reached by sunlight.

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