Anti-Microbial Surfaces for Your Kitchen
Did you know the kitchen is one of the most germ-filled spots in your home? In fact, a report by the National Sanitation Foundation notes that the kitchen harbors germs more than any part of your house.
So, it is very important that you prioritize your family’s health by keeping your kitchen spotless. But other than constantly sanitizing and practicing cleanliness in the kitchen, what can you do to keep microbes at bay? In this post, we’ll take a look at how some anti-microbial surfaces can help you minimize germs in your kitchen.
Copper has long been established as an anti-microbial material. During ancient times, Egyptian and Babylonian warriors would place copper fillings in their wounds to prevent infection and promote healing.
As explained by an article on The Conversation, copper and its alloys have anti-bacterial properties as the metal releases ions or electronically charged particles when microbes contact the surface. These ions then cause cell respiration by tearing a hole in the bacterial cell membrane — destroying the DNA and RNA of the microbe.
The great thing about copper is that the material can be used for a number of kitchen fittings — sinks, faucets, and even countertops can all be crafted using this metal. It’s important to note, however, that any kind of lacquer coating effectively destroys the anti-microbial properties of copper. In order to enjoy the anti-microbial benefits, the copper must be in its raw, uncoated state.
Caring for Copper
Unfortunately, raw unlacquered copper demands a lot of care, as it is incredibly reactive and malleable. Because of this, the finish and shape will patina over time. Acidic liquids, abrasive cleaners, and hot dishes can also affect copper’s finish and patina. Before investing in copper fittings for your kitchen, make a point to educate yourself on how to maintain copper surfaces, and be prepared to live with some patina!
So, it’s best to take extra care of any copper kitchen fittings by understanding which chemicals and conditions can damage them. After all, they don’t come cheap, especially if it is a large fitting like a copper sink. To that end, HomeServe recommends placing a wire mesh screen over your drain so that you can clean it easily. You can also try regularly pouring hot water into the drain to prevent any microbial growth. Doing this, can extend the life of your copper sink and avoid any expensive repairs down the line.
Copper alloys like brass have taken the kitchen design world by storm. Made by combining zinc and copper, brass is one of the most used copper alloys on the market.
Aside from having the same germ-killing power pure copper surfaces have, the zinc in brass makes it ductile and highly durable after being formed — making it one of the best surfaces to use in your kitchen. Corrosion-resistant and very durable, kitchen fixtures such as knobs, faucets, and sinks are often made from cast brass. Like copper, once brass is plated, coated, or lacquered, the metal loses its anti-microbial properties, and be aware that not all brass-colored fixtures actually made from brass!
Quartz is another material that’s great at keeping out microorganisms. Made from a mixture of natural minerals that are held together by resin and polymers, quartz is an exceptionally durable countertop surface that doesn’t have any microscopic holes for microbes to seep in.
Some quartz surface manufacturers actually bake anti-microbial ingredients right into the material. An example of this is Silestone quartz which uses a trademarked anti-microbial compound called Microban.
Caring for Quartz
Microban wards off pathogenic microorganisms, making it easy to clean the surface with a mild cleaner. And since quartz has superior durability, any homeowner who chooses this material won’t have to worry about abrasive cleaners and high temperatures.
Another anti-microbial material is laminate. Made with plastic, this material is engineered to kill mold and mildew — while simultaneously inhibiting the growth of other harmful microbes and bacteria.
Laminates come in a number of designs and finishes, and Studio Dearborn often uses laminates for toe kicks, appliance panels, and other accents. Be aware, that laminate surfaces aren’t as durable as quartz, brass, or copper, as they are susceptible to delamination and burns. At Studio Dearborn, we use them sparingly.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to anti-microbial surfaces — and choosing one ultimately boils down to your design preferences. If you’re looking to brighten your kitchen, you can install a metallic-like copper as pointed out by our very own Maria C. Hunt. But if you want something a little more durable or has a lot of available styles, look into quartz and laminate surfaces!
Exclusively written for studiodearborn.com by Alyson Clarke