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Naturally antimicrobial materials for your home

Germs have been a pretty big deal lately. COVID-19 changed the way we think about viruses and bacteria, and that change is likely to stay for the foreseeable future. It's with good reason, too. It's easy for germs to spread.

But there are ways to reduce germ spread naturally, without resorting to harsh chemicals, sanitizers, or antibiotics. One of the simplest ways to reduce germ spread is by changing current surface materials to naturally antimicrobial materials.

What are antimicrobial materials?

Some materials are difficult for germs to stick to or survive on. That's a wonderful thing when you are worried about large groups of people touching the same surfaces, or when you are worried about spreading germs among family in your home.

These antimicrobial materials make it harder for germs to spread. Of course, germs still have the opportunity to spread via air droplets and direct touch, but any reduction in germ spread is certainly a good thing.

Naturally antimicrobial materials include silver, copper, titanium dioxide, and metal alloys. An alloy is a special mix of metals, and particularly good antimicrobial alloys include cupronickel, copper-nickel-zinc, bronze, and brass. The faucet pictured here is all-brass construction.

However, non-metal materials can be antimicrobial too. The very best in my opinion is bamboo because it doesn't require pesticides during growth and it can be used as a fabric for clothing, bedding, and more. Bamboo has a silky feeling to it, which might not be what you'd expect from a grass, but it's quite luxurious and naturally resistant to germs, fungi, and allergens.

Where can you use antimicrobial materials at home?

antimicrobial materials
Antimicrobial hardware from Sun valley Bronze.

  • Drawer pulls and handles

  • Door knobs

  • Counter tops

  • Faucets

  • Clothing

  • Bedding

  • Curtains

  • Hand towels

  • Trash cans

  • Light switch plates

  • Cups, dishes, and silverware

  • Stair railings

  • Cooking tools

  • Toilet hardware

  • Lamps

These are just some examples, but you get the idea that you can use these materials throughout your home in almost any way you can think of.

It's smart to focus on high-touch areas as well as naturally germy areas (like trash cans) first. It can get expensive to replace everything.

How to buy antimicrobial materials

So, it's true that you probably can't walk into a store and ask for some cupronickel alloy because no one will know what you're talking about. However, the market for antimicrobial materials is just starting to take off, so it's likely a better idea to use that term (antimicrobial) instead. But terms like brass, bronze, and bamboo are common.

Bamboo antimicrobial materials
Bamboo hand towels from Cariloha.

Online, you can find just about anything made from bamboo: flooring, toothbrushes, clothing, towels, bedding, and more. Bamboo is super affordable compared to many other antimicrobial materials, so that's a good place to start. Amazon has bamboo products, but Earth Hero and Done Gone are also great shopping hubs for bamboo.

Bamboo antimicrobial materials
Moisture-wicking bamboo pillowcases

For metals, silver and copper can get pricey, but titanium dioxide is relatively cheap. Just do some targeted shopping and pricing. It's unlikely you'll replace everything in your home all at once, but it's always nice to save money on the things you do replace.

Germs aren't exactly new, but our awareness of them has certainly increased. Using antimicrobial materials around your home is a great way to reduce germ spread, keeping you and your family healthy.



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I'm Kat, the author of the healthy, happy blog. Using my background in science, personal training, and writing, I post about how to be successful in four main areas of your life: finances, body, mind, and home.

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