How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
Question 1476

What everyday household chemicals (cleaners, paints, detergents, etc.) contain large enough amounts of phosphor to glow under black light?
Fluorescent paints and many laundry detergents contain fluorescent chemicals-chemicals that absorb ultraviolet light and use its energy to produce visible light. Fluorescent paints are designed to do exactly that, so they certainly contain enough "phosphor" for that purpose. Detergents have fluorescent dyes or "brighteners" added because it helps to make fabrics appear whiter. Aging fabric appears yellowish because it absorbs some blue light. To replace the missing blue light, the brighteners absorb invisible ultraviolet and use its energy to emit blue light.
         

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