Antimicrobial Surface Materials that are Natural Germ Repellents
Looking to eradicate viruses and bacteria from your home? These three antimicrobial surfaces inherently keep germs at bay to help maintain a cleaner home with less effort.
It’s no secret that household materials featuring antimicrobial properties are on the rise. In fact, there are all kinds of products available that are treated with antimicrobial additives, like shower curtains, light switches and bedding. But what many don’t know is that there are natural materials out there with inherent germ-repelling properties.
These surfaces naturally impede or kill the spread of bacteria and viruses because of their chemical or physical makeup, which helps homes stay cleaner with less scrubbing and spraying. While washing hands and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces is still crucial to preventing the spread of germs, simply picking the right surface materials has the ability to improve the cleanliness of areas like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and mudrooms. Read on to find out how to utilize these naturally antimicrobial materials so you can keep your home healthier and more hygienic.
Hospitals typically have linoleum flooring for a reason. Developed about 150 years ago, this material is not only eco-friendly but also inherently hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Linoleum is not vinyl. Instead, it is made out of biodegradable materials that are renewable — powdered cork, linseed oil, pine resins, wood flour, and mineral pigments, all mounted on jute or canvas backing. A water-resistant and durable flooring choice, linoleum does very well in high-traffic areas and those that are prone to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. In addition, it’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns, and is easy to install.
Sourced from cork oak trees throughout the Mediterranean, natural cork is a sustainable and biodegradable material. When applied to surfaces like furniture and flooring, cork provides innate antibacterial properties that can remove as much as 96 percent of bacteria, according to a study involving two kinds of bacteria capable of causing severe infections — E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, liquids and gases are not able to penetrate cork, so it will not absorb spilled liquids or odors like other permeable materials. Cork works well on kitchen floors, as a desktop cover for a germ-free work area, or consider using a cork bath mat.
Most are familiar with the medicinal uses for copper, which date as far back as 6,000 B.C. What isn’t as familiar is that this shiny, orangish-red metal can immobilize germs within minutes. Because solid copper has the ability to destroy 99.9 percent of microorganisms — including yeasts, bacteria, and viruses — it has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as antimicrobial. Brass and bronze, copper’s alloys, can also effectively kill germs on surfaces. For best use, try incorporating these metals on faucets, sinks, door handles, light switch plates, and other surfaces that are frequently touched.