Of all the surfaces in a building, doorknobs might just be the ones to harbor the most bacteria and germs. But this actually depends on the kind of material used for the doorknob. Believe it or not, copper-containing metals such as brass are known to have antibacterial properties, which is one of the reasons why they have been so popular in homes and businesses for many years.
Is copper antiviral? Yes! Here’s an overview of what you should know about the antibacterial properties of copper doorknobs for your Colorado home.
A long history of usage
Copper has a history of usage for health reasons that stretches back to ancient civilizations. Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians would frequently sharpen bronze swords made of copper and tin after their battles, and then use the filings to dress wounds, ensuring they would reduce the risk of infection and thus speed up the healing process. The ancient Chinese and Indians would use copper as one key component of medicine, and it remains a staple of Ayurvedic medicine. The ancient Greeks and Aztecs, meanwhile, would use copper carbonate and copper oxide to combine with other chemicals and materials to treat skin infections. The French would use copper sulphate in wineries to prevent fungal attacks.
So, as you can see, the idea of using copper for its antimicrobial properties is nothing new. It should come as no surprise, then, that copper continues to be frequently used in doorknobs and fixtures that people have to regularly touch with hands that may or may not be sanitary.
Laboratory studies show that when copper alloys are used on regularly-touched surfaces in hospital settings and are routinely cleaned, it can reduce the numbers of live bacteria on such surfaces by 90 percent. This is why copper alloys are so frequently used for chair arms, bed rails, call buttons, IV poles, door handles and taps. Another study showed 58 percent reduction in infection rates when copper alloy touch surfaces are used in hospital intensive care settings.
One might reasonably wonder why, if these properties are known, copper’s usage isn’t more widespread in doorknobs and fixtures. The biggest reason is likely to be cost. Hospitals will generally put more of an investment into hand gel dispensers because they’re much less expensive. The big issue to consider, though, is the fact that hand sanitizing gels do not kill all microbes, including some extremely dangerous ones. Copper is actually more effective at killing off these microbes, and has a pretty quick payback time once installed.
What’s interesting is that copper fittings are actually not much more expensive than stainless steel fittings. Stainless steel is frequently (and mistakenly) considered easier to keep clean because it brightens up so well when polished, but stainless steel scratches and indentations will leave plenty of space for viruses and superbugs to reside. Copper is constantly self-cleaning and protective against these microbes.
These are just a few examples of some of the biggest benefits associated with the use of copper doorknobs. For more information about how copper is antiviral and antimicrobial, contact Custom Door Hardware in Colorado today.
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