See that old-fashioned brass doorknob above? Researchers have found that copper and alloys made from it (like brass) are effective at killing the bacteria and germs that are responsible antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
According to The Telegraph:
Even if the bacteria die, DNA that gives them resistance to antibiotics can survive and be passed on to other bacteria on these surfaces. Copper and brass, however, can kill the bacteria and also destroy this DNA.
The researchers in the study are calling for brass doorknobs to be installed in public places. Professor Bill Keevil of Southhampton University said:
There are a lot of bugs on our hands that we are spreading around by touching surfaces. In a public building or mass transport, surfaces cannot be cleaned for long periods of time.Until relatively recently brass was a relatively commonly used surface. On stainless steel surfaces these bacteria can survive for weeks, but on copper surfaces they die within minutes. Part of the process DNA from bacteria is also destroyed just as rapidly on the copper, so you cannot get gene transfer on the surface.
He added that bacterial DNA rapidly degraded at room temperature on copper-based surfaces, Interesting. So the plastic and stainless steel doorknobs used in most homes, businesses, hospitals and offices today can actually aid in spreading the powerful superbugs like MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
I doubt we’ll be seeing many brass doorknobs in public places anytime soon, but if you’d like to confer additional protection to yourself, you could always get one (or five) for your home. Added bonus: the vintage charm of a pretty metal doorknob.