Does Brass Really Disinfect Itself?

Brass can really disinfect itself--certain metals have been found to inactivate bacteria, including staphylococcus and E.Coli, that can cause disease. For example, brass doorknobs have been found to automatically disinfect themselves within eight hours and are often selected as a sanitary option for healthcare facilities. Brass has also been found to destroy fungi by 99% within six hours, according to a University of Southampton study. This disinfecting property is due to what is referred as the oligodynamic effect, in which ions from metals denature proteins in bacteria cells. Brass and other metals, such as copper or silver, tend to be most effective at destroying bacteria rather than viruses.

More about disinfecting properties of metal:

  • Copper has been found to completely destroy mold within six hours and its disinfecting properties may go into effect in as little as 15 minutes after contact.

  • Silver is commonly used for water storage, such as in water tanks for planes, because it can disinfect bacteria cells in water within 12 hours.

  • Bacteria on stainless steel, the material most commonly used for hospital and food processing equipment, can survive for approximately 30 days.

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