10 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice

Every year there is one day when the Northern Hemisphere receives more daylight than any other day, and this day is known as the Summer Solstice. This year, Summer Solstice falls on Sunday, June 20th. While sunrise and sunset times will differ from place to place in Fairbanks Alaska the sun will set at 12:47 a.m., and rises at 2:59 a.m. No, you didn’t read that wrong, places in the upper latitudes may only get a few hours of twilight on solstice.

For centuries, many cultures have celebrated the solstice as the start of summer. Ancient Greeks marked the solstice as the start of the year on their calendars, and the ancient Egyptians used the solstice to determine when to plant crops. Many cultures perform rituals to bring forth a bountiful harvest in fall, or to celebrate gods or heroes.

Even if you don’t have a harvest to plan for, Summer Solstice can be a fun time for families to welcome summer and enjoy the longest day of sunlight of the year.

How to celebrate solstice:

1. Plan an outdoor activity

Go to the beach, take a hike, or plan a picnic. Being outside in the sun is the easiest way to celebrate the Summer Solstice, but be sure to pack your sunscreen! As ultraviolet experts, we know the power the sun’s rays have to kill microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. The UV-C light used in Connect-UV’s products is filtered out by the atmosphere. However, the UV-A and UV-B rays that do make it through can skill harm the skin and eyes with prolonged exposure.


2. Watch the annual Stonehenge livestream

Stonehenge was really a large calendar. The Druids would be able to mark the passing of the seasons based on the alignment of the sun with the stones. The structure was designed particularly for the solstice, with the sun rising just to the side of the headstone on the year’s longest day.

While going to England to watch the solstice is likely not an option for you this year, thankfully the event is live streamed! With the time change, the sunrise ceremony aligns with the evening of Monday the 21st in the United States.


3. Attend a local celebration

Many towns, cities, etc will celebrate the solstice with a community celebration. Check your local news or your municipality’s website for information on events near you. If you live in an area settled by Northern Europeans, there may be a cultural organization that puts on solstice events as well.



4. Make a midsummer flower crown

A fun (and free) craft is to make a flower crown. These crowns are made by weaving the stems of flowers together. It’s a fun activity for the whole family, kids can collect the flowers and get help from parents to make the crown. View a tutorial.





5. Attend a bonfire

Bonfires are a traditional way to celebrate the solstice. Those close to a bonfire-friendly beach or park are in luck, but bonfires can also been made in backyards, with proper safety precautions of course. Roasting marshmallows in the late twilight is a great way to end solstice celebrations.



6. Do some gardening

With the agricultural roots of many solstice celebrations, why not get your hands a little dirty in the garden? Sunflowers are the perfect plant to add to your garden on the solstice, these hardy blooms do well in strong sun, and with their sun-like flowers, what better way to celebrate Solstice than with these sunloving plants?




7. Make suncatchers

When it is too hot to go outside and you have littles to keep entertained, a suncatcher is a fun craft that will provide beautiful light-capturing results long after the solstice ends. Suncatchers are transparent items that hang in windows to cast light, shadow, and patterns on surfaces. They can be made from beads, dried flowers, tissue paper, and more, making them a flexible craft that can be adjusted to what you have on hand. View 13 great DIY suncatcher designs here.




8. Create a fairy garden

Another good hot day craft, fairy gardens are whimsical buildings covered in plants, moss, wood, and other natural items to give your garden fairies a home. These are fun to make with kids and celebrate the magic of solstice in a creative way. Go here for design ideas.






9. Sun salutation yoga

For the early risers, a simple sun salutation routine can be the best way to welcome the longest day. This vinyasa is a wonderful full-body stretch that energizes the body and, as the name suggests, pays tribute to the sun. So roll out your mat and get ready to welcome the solstice. Follow along with this 7-minute sun salutation flow.




10. Have a solstice feast

What is any celebration without an incredible feast? Nordic countries have long had impressive solstice feasts that can be borrowed upon to make an impressive event for friends or family to enjoy. For a successful solstice feast, eat outside and decorate with flowers and leaves, and add seasonable fruits and vegetables, like strawberries and cherries, to get the most out of your feast.

UV-C Can Help Schools ReOpen Safely

The United States is focused on getting kids back to in-person school for fall. Parents know that the pandemic has been hard on lots of kids. The loss of social interaction and the stress of online school can be hard to balance with the desire to keep kids, teachers, and families safe. But UV-C can help schools reopen safely.

COVID infections have not been as serious in children as in adults, however, as more adults get vaccinated, children are making up a much larger number of COVID cases. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier in May, children now make up 22% of COVID cases in the United States, up from just 3% this time last year!  This means that in one week in April, 71,649 children tested positive for COVID. In total, 3.7 million children have contracted COVID. While death from COVID in children remains extremely rare, some children are experiencing long-term impacts from the illness, or infecting adults who are not as resilient against the virus.

This shift in cases is making it more important for schools to ensure they are operating safely for students, as well as staff and families. Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure safety with in-person learning.

The gold standard of safety thus far has been extensive cleaning of commonly touched surfaces and masking. But will schools have the will or the resources to keep this up? And what about the air?

Luckily, passive ultraviolet light can be used to keep surfaces and air clean without as much work as chemical solutions, without the ongoing costs associated with having to supply these cleaning products, and without the potentially toxic chemicals.

How does UV-C Work?

Ultraviolet C, or UV-C light is naturally produced by the sun, but it is filtered out by the atmosphere and doesn’t make it to the surface. Which is a good thing because this short-wavelength light is extremely effective at destroying microorganisms. The light breaks the DNA of germs, bacteria, and viruses. This renders the microorganism unable to infect or reproduce, thus neutralizing the threat.

What does UV-C Clean?

UV-C sterilization has been used in water treatment facilities for decades. Just recently, with the advent of LED UV-C lights has the wavelength been able to make it into products designed to clean surfaces and the air. A study by the University of California, Santa Barbara found that ultraviolet LEDs can destroy the SARs-CoV-2/COVID/Coronavirus.

How can UV-C Help Schools?

UV-C can be used in several different applications to clean surfaces and the air in academic settings. The most practical uses for schools are:

Charging Carts: Chromebooks, tablets, keyboards, and cell phones are among the dirtiest things in schools. Cell phones are often dirtier than doorknobs, or even toilet seats, yet they are sanitized far less often. If a student is touching their cell phone, then moves to a school-issued electronic, those germs can move with the student.

The solution to this contamination risk is a UV-C charging cart. Connect UV’s Charging Carts are fully customizable and can fit between 10-40 electronics, depending on configuration and item size. The carts come equipped with surge protection, locks, casters, charging cables, and auto-off safety to ensure no one is accidentally exposed to UV-C light. The best part? They only cost 20-25% more than non-sterilizing charging carts!

Whole room surface sanitation: your janitorial staff knows that wiping down all surfaces is time-consuming or even not possible. Thankfully, there are UV solutions that can save staff time, and reduce their exposure to potentially harmful microorganisms. There are several options available that utilize high-power UV-C lights, however, the best option for most schools is the tripod-style light unit. With delayed start and remote control, this is a true “set it and forget it” solution for janitorial staff.

The tripod can be placed in the next room to be cleaned and turned on, emitting a powerful light to neutralize germs as the janitor cleans the room sanitized last. Once done, the tripod is moved to the next room, and the newly sanitized room is cleaned by staff who know the air they are breathing and the surfaces they are touching have been sanitized.

Air purification: many germs are transferred through droplets that can stay suspended in the air for hours! HEPA filters remove many of these potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria particles, but HEPA filters require changing, where they can expose janitorial staff to potential illness and infection. Our solution is a clear winner. We pair the filtration power of HEPA filtration with UV-light sanitation. Positioned on either side of the filter, this ensures that microorganisms in the air are destroyed, purifying the air within classrooms, and protecting janitorial staff.

Want to know more about how UV- C light can help your students and staff stay safe? View out Education Solutions here, and contact Tom for a custom sales proposal at

Teacher and Nurse Appreciation

Two of the biggest groups of heroes during this pandemic year have been teachers and nurses. These front-line workers have put their lives on the line for us to ensure that we could stay safe, healthy, and educated. Every year in Early May we celebrate Teacher and Nurse Appreciation. Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 4th and Nurse Appreciation Day is Thursday, May 6th.  These days are part of greater Teacher Appreciation Week from May 3-7 and Nurse Appreciation Week is May 6-12. This period is marked with discounts at stores and restaurants for nurses and teachers, presents from students, patients and employers, and a general sense of appreciation that may be missed for the rest of the year (although we should work to change that!).

After the past 14 months, one week doesn’t seem like enough for these two groups of hard-working professionals who do so much for us in our day-to-day lives. Teachers have bent over backward to transition to online learning. In addition to educating our kids, they became tech support, had to find unique ways to continue to engage kids in virtual learning, and were a lifeline through the stress and panic of COVID.  Nurses have provided us with consistent care, whether we were going in for our annual exam, or one of our loved ones was in the ICU with COVID.

All professionals deserve to work in an environment that is safe for them. And today, that means being safe from germs. As we try to emerge from the COVID-pandemic, is there any way to say “I appreciate you” to teachers and nurses better than providing a way to sanitize personal items, tablets, phones, and the air with chemical-free, non-toxic UV-C light?

Connect-UV is proud to offer solutions that can help schools and medical facilities ensure personal safety through UV-C sanitation. After Connect-UV donated to a fundraiser for the Lakewood Ranch High School in Manatee County, Florida, the school decided to gift all 200 of their teachers and staff with a Connect-UV multi-function sanitizing station for Teacher Appreciation Day. These sanitizing stations will ensure that teachers’ masks, keys, phones and other personal items are germ-free as they return to in-person learning.

We are thankful that our education and medical partners recognize the benefits of clean, safe and effective UV-C.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, Nurses Appreciation Day, Teacher Appreciation Week and Nurses Appreciation Week from all of us at Connect-UV.

5 ways to reduce harmful chemicals

5 Ways to Reduce Toxic Chemicals Around the House

Spring is a celebration of life and renewal. Every year around this time, leaves and flowers return to the trees, bulbs erupt from the soil, grass again becomes green. We begin to come out of our winter hibernation, open the windows, get outside, and enjoy the life around us. The return of warm weather is also the start of the traditional spring-cleaning season.  But why is spring cleaning synonymous with putting on your heavy-duty gloves and scrubbing your house? It should be the perfect opportunity to reduce toxic chemicals!

green cleaning

In addition to its connection to cleaning, spring is also a time to celebrate nature. Earth Day on April 20th, being the most famous celebration. It is a day when people aim to reduce their impact or improve their natural environment. Typically, Earth Day is filled with local clean-up events and opportunities for us to do better. But how to “do better” can be overwhelming. There are so many ways that we can reduce our impact—walk more, find products with less packaging, maybe eat less meat. There’s a good way to tie in your spring cleaning with the goal of doing something good for the earth, and yourself—use fewer chemicals while you clean.

Many cleaning products are toxic. Bleach and ammonia-based products can damage the skin, make eyes and nose burn, and if accidentally mixed, cause a dangerous chlorine gas! And these aren’t the only toxic chemicals in cleaning products. Many multi-purpose cleaners include 2-butoxyethanol, and extended exposure can cause liver and kidney damage. Other heavy-duty cleaners can include formaldehyde, perchloroethylene or sodium hydroxide. These chemicals can cause burning sensation in the throat or skin, damage the nervous system, headaches, insomnia, irritability, and even cause trouble with concentration.

You don’t necessarily need long, extended exposure to feel these impacts.  I’m sure most of us have felt the sting in our nose while using a cleaning product or noticed that our hands feel dry and raw after cleaning. This isn’t your imagination! These products clean, polish, disinfect, and remove stubborn stains with toxic chemicals.

Thankfully, we can reduce harmful chemicals when we clean. There are many natural alternatives that can deliver similar or even better results!


Replace Ammonia with Vinegar

vinegar window cleaningVinegar is an acid, with a PH of 2.5 is it very good at removing water and rust spots, making it great for cleaning glass and mirrors. Ammonia is also hailed for its ability to clean glass, however, ammonia is corrosive and needs plenty of ventilation as well as gloves and a mask to use safely.  Meanwhile, vinegar is so mild you can consume it! Although, it helps to flavor your vinegar with other ingredients like oil and spices (in the case of an oil and vinegar salad dressing) to improve the taste.

Nontoxic window and mirror cleaner recipe:

  • 5 parts water
  • 5 parts white vinegar
  • 1 squirt of liquid dish soap or castile soap (optional- helps with stubborn grime)
  • Mix together in a spray bottle
  • Spray and wipe with a reusable cloth


Replace Multi-Surface Cleaner with Castile Soap

dr bronners soapCastile soap has long been used for everything from shampoo to floor cleaner. And it still works well at many of these duties. The gentle soap is made from all-natural ingredients such as coconut and hemp oils. Because it doesn’t have harsh surfactants it doesn’t suds up as it cleans, which can make cleaning surfaces like countertops easier than those bubbly toxic cleaners.

What’s more, many of these soaps come in plant-based bottles, and from companies with sustainable missions, such as Dr. Bronner who has been making soap since 1858!

Nontoxic multi-surface cleaner:

  • ¼ cup of Castile soap
  • 1 quart of water
  • 5 drops of your favorite essential oil (lemon or orange for a fresh scent, tea tree for germ-killing)
  • Mix together in a spray or squirt bottle
  • Gently swirl or turn the bottle upside down to fully mix
  • Spray and wipe with a damp cloth (for stubborn grease and grime, let the cleaner sit for a few minutes before wiping up)


Replace Drain Cleaner with Baking Soda and Vinegar

sink drainWho remembers making a volcano as a child with these simple ingredients? This natural expansive foaming comes down to the ph differences between baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda is alkaline, with a ph of 8, white vinegar is an acid with a ph of 2.5. Mixed together, the vinegar dissolves the baking soda, creating a powerful cleaning mixture. Baking soda and vinegar is a great way to get stains out of upholstery or carpet or to unclog drains.

Non-Toxic Drain Cleaner

1. Pour boiling water down the clogged drain.

2. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain followed by 1 cup of vinegar.

3. Cover the drain to keep in the reaction and wait 5-10 minutes.

4. Uncover and pour more hot water down the drain.

If the drain is still slow, repeat the method until it drains correctly. You can also add dish soap to the boiling water for better grease dissolving power if you need more oomph than just baking soda and vinegar can provide.


Replace Clorox Wipes with UV-C

Multi Function sanitizing stationWhile our bleachy Clorox wipes may claim to kill 99% of germs and bacteria, Connect-UV has found this claim to be quite misleading. Using a medical-grade Hygina testing meter, we found that a Clorox wipe really kills more like 40-50% of germs.

What is more, these toxic wipes should not be used on anything that goes near the face or mouth (i.e. pacifiers or masks) and the liquid can damage sensitive electronics such as tablets and phones.

UV-C light or ultraviolet-c light is naturally made by the sun, however, our atmosphere filters most of it out. This powerful shortwave light destroys the DNA of microorganisms such as germs, bacteria, and viruses chemical-free, making it a great way to reduce toxic chemicals!

UV-C light devices, such as the Connect-UV All-In-One Sanitizing Station, uses powerful UV-C lights to kill virtually all germs and bacteria in as little as 59 seconds! The box is big enough to fit cell phones, car keys, masks, makeup brushes, watches, earbuds, jewelry, pacifiers and small toys. Its magnetic sealed lid has an auto-off function, so if you open the box before it is done cleaning the lights will turn off, to protect your eyes, making it safe to use around children.

Additionally, the All-In-One-Sanitizing Station includes an aromatherapy diffuser, allowing you to scent your items with calming lavender or the essential oil of your choice (can you imagine a freshly sanitized eye mask with lavender essential oil to put on before bed? The box also supports wireless charging on newer phones equipped with the technology.


Replace Dryer Sheets with Wool Balls

dryer ballsDo you have a pesky rash that just won’t go away? Red bumps or itchy, irritated skin could be a reaction to your laundry cleaning products. There are many natural laundry detergents on the market now that can help soothe your skin. But don’t forget about your dryer sheets! These floral sheets contain many unnatural chemicals to produce their strong smell or provide the anti-cling we all use them for. Thankfully, wool dryer balls are an excellent replacement.

Produced from sheep wool, these balls are sustainable and renewable. The animal’s fluffy wool grows back each year and without sheering, the animals could suffer from overheating or infection. Wool has many helpful uses in our lives, due to its natural water and germ repelling qualities. It is also great at helping clothes dry faster and with less cling. Two to four dryer balls work best for most loads of laundry.

Are you worried that you’ll miss the scent of your favorite dryer sheet? Try putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the wool dryer balls before throwing them in. Add lavender on balls when you dry your sheets or pajamas for a relaxing bedtime escape or use grapefruit or orange on your exercise clothes to give you more energy.


Not only are these simple solutions non-toxic, they also can save you money over their chemical alternatives, can reduce waste, and leave your home healthier, and happier, with fewer unnatural scents to create headaches or dry your skin. Who knew it could be so easy to reduce toxic chemicals!

What ways have you reduced your chemical use around the house? Share with us on our Facebook page!

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