5 Natural antibacterial and antimicrobial materials for safe spaces-

We all can’t wait to fight the coronavirus and we are not even aware of what all new viruses are going to come in the future. Being surrounded by antimicrobial materials or products is the need of the present and the future.

The past pandemics have brought many changes in the way we live today and has evolved the architecture and interior.

Is finding the cure the only need to keep ourselves safe even when we don’t know how long will it take? Why not stop it from spreading in the first place with some natural antibacterial materials.
It is important to keep our environment virus and bacteria-free for a healthy and long life.

What is antimicrobial material?

Some materials make it difficult for germs and bacteria to survive. Germs become a factor of concern when a large group of people keeps touching the same surface.  
These antimicrobial materials inactivate the germs naturally decreasing the use of harsh chemicals and sanitizers, also the hard work that goes into disinfecting the surfaces.  
Of course, germs will still find their way to spread via air droplets and direct touch, but any reduction in the spread is a plus point.

An experiment was done to understand the impact of coronavirus on different materials.

In the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, it was found out that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19) survives for two to three days on plastics, glass, rubber, and stainless steel.
These materials are mostly seen in healthcare spaces and make it a point of concern.

Lots of studies and experiments have been done in the past few months and still going on to find out what works against coronavirus and what doesn’t.

Where can these antimicrobial materials be applied?

Some of the examples where these materials can be used are-

  • Door knobs, drawer pulls, handles, etc.
  • Faucets
  • Countertops
  • Flooring, walls
  • Light switch plates
  • Railings, gates
  • Lamps

Pretty much everywhere!

Antimicrobial materials-

There are a few materials that over the years have proved to be efficient against viruses and bacteria. Let’s have a quick look at them and make our environment safe with their use.

1. Copper-

Copper as an antimicrobial material has a long history and has natural antimicrobial properties. The bacteria die the quickest on copper making it last only for 2-4 hours. In fact, researchers have encouraged the use of copper to slow down the spread of other respiratory diseases.

Copper works so best against viruses and bacteria that for ages it has been used to store and treat drinking water, even used in antiseptic salves.
Copper and its alloy; bronze, brass, and others are collectively termed as ‘antimicrobial copper’. Once the bacteria and viruses are exposed to metal, it disrupts its key functions.
It can be used in both ways; raw metallic form, and as an oxide by adding into the base material. Copper can become one of the best antimicrobial surface coating material.
Copper and its alloy can be used in smaller objects like faucets, handles, doorknobs, drawer pulls, basins, bathtubs, etc.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

2. Silver-

Silver works very similar to copper when it comes to killing bacteria.
Silver is used by adding silver ions to a carrier material such as clay, which is then added to a base material.
This can also be used as an antimicrobial surface coating with many base materials.
It has also been used to store water and make antiseptic salves just like copper. Silver is used in medical treatment in various ways, its one important role is in the development of radiology.
Before the introduction of antibiotics, silver was the most important antimicrobial agent.
The use of silver has shown very effective results in the medical field and its use in interior products can definitely be adopted. `

3. Antibacterial Ceramic-

Antibacterial ceramic is a new technology that uses the principle of photon upconversion. This process converts low-energy visible photons into high-energy ultraviolet photos which then inactivate the microorganisms and bacteria. These ceramics are robust and non-toxic and have huge application opportunities. It is even used to disinfect water. These ceramics can inactivate the toughest of the bacteria and can make the environment hygienic.
It can be very easily adapted into different sizes and shapes making it a very appealing material. Antibacterial ceramic comes in form of tiles and works best for flooring.

4. Linoleum-

The use of linoleum longs back to the 19th century and is known as one of the best materials when it comes to killing the bacteria naturally.
Linoleum is made from natural materials such as linseed oil, jute, cork powder, and tree resins. Linseed oil is the reason that makes it an antibacterial material.
It is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, stain, and fire-resistant. Linoleum is a material that comes in form of sheets. It can be applied on floors, walls, furniture, desks, or any other surface.


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5. Bamboo-

The antibacterial properties of bamboo are the reason that bamboo grows so rapidly in nature and can survive everything that nature throws at it.
The use of bamboo in interiors can be done almost everywhere such as floorings, partition walls, furniture, etc. Not only limited to interiors but bamboo is also one of the best antimicrobial building materials.
Bamboo doesn’t lose its antibacterial properties even when processed into bamboo fibers. This is one of the main reasons that make the bamboo fibers most hygienic and perfect for bedding.

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These natural antibacterial materials are very appealing and the best way to keep your environment safe. With the lack of antiviral treatment, these materials can help reduce the risk of these deadly viruses.

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