How Brass, Copper, and Coatings on Door Hardware Protects Against COVID-19

To put it mildly, a lot of things have changed in the last month or so. We have been altering our lives in ways we never anticipated and have been taking care like never before.

Here at Northeastern Security, we pride ourselves on looking innovatively at our client’s security needs, and now in the age of COVID-19 we’ve been thinking about how we can do our part to help strengthen our community against the virus.

We also touch a lot of doorknobs and have been seriously considering how to reduce risk of transmission via doorknobs and other touchpoints, especially for our bigger institutional clients.

The problem

As we all know by now, what makes COVID-19 so frustrating to plan for (and so frightening to deal with) is its extremely contagious nature. After a person is infected, they are likely contagious for up to 2 weeks before any symptoms occur, which means they can unknowingly spread the disease to family and co-workers.

Even worse, the coronavirus can live on most surfaces for up to 3 days, meaning that it can jump between people who have never physically met.

This presents a dire problem for landlords, business owners, and anyone else liable and responsible for buildings that many people use. In most multifamily apartments, every tenant and visitor touch the same outside doorknob. The same is true for the employees of most large offices and factories, or patrons at restaurants. Even if proper social distancing is practiced, all it takes is for one sick individual to touch that doorknob once, and everyone else using the building is potentially exposed.

In fact, buildings where lots of people use the same door – such as houses of worship, workplaces, and residential facilities – have been ground zero for transmission of COVID-19 in Oregon, New York, and Italy.

So far, worldwide social distancing has seemed to temporarily slow the spread of the virus, but at a massive cost. Unfortunately, it looks like COVID-19 will be a threat for at least another 18 months, and businesses are going to have to figure out how to reopen while minimizing the risk of a catastrophic outbreak at their facilities.

What we can do

Here at Northeastern we provide several solutions to help mitigate the COVID-19 risk from doorknobs and other similar touchpoints.

Brass & copper door hardware

When it comes to spreading COVID-19 via surfaces, the material matters. Stainless steel and similar materials harbor COVID-19 for days. Brass and copper (as well as silver and bronze) on the other hand eliminates the virus completely in hours through its natural anti-microbial properties that protect us from a wide variety of diseases, including COVID-19.

While the mechanism behind the antimicrobial properties of these alloys remain a mystery, its real-world benefits have been proven again and again, both through scientific studies and hands-on experience. All the way back in 1852, doctors realized that clinics that used brass implements had lower death rates, and since then major hospitals around the world regularly use alloys of copper, brass, and bronze for doorknobs, push plates, and other high-touch equipment.

Over the past month or two, forward thinking owners of apartment buildings, factories, warehouses, and offices around the world have begun copying the medical community and installing brass & copper alloy fixtures, finding that they not only harden facilities against current and future epidemics, but also add a touch of that warm, classic style.

No-Touch/Low-Touch Doors and Anti-Microbial finish

Brass and copper are a good, inexpensive starting point for folks who want to lower risks related to COVID-19, but if you really want to go on the offensive against the virus there are innovative new ways of looking at door technology that could change the game when it comes to transmission risks.

The traditional, rounded door handle we all know does its job fine, but gripping it is the equivalent of giving a handshake to every person who touched it in the past day. While brass & copper doorknobs help a lot, COVID-19 can still live on the alloys for hours.

How antibacterial coated door handles work

At Northeastern we offer a number of options for low grip doorknobs, ranging from things you’ve probably heard before like L-shaped door levers, to truly innovative new designs that almost completely eliminate the risk of door/touchpoint transmission.

One solution we offer is a door system created by Sanitgrasp which completely rethinks doorknob designs to make them nearly idiot proof in terms of COVID-19 transmission. The system is not only low touch, but also coated with an anti-microbial finish that further increases safety. The Sanitgrasp door is not only grip-less, but also coated in an antimicrobial finish.

The Bottom Line

COVID-19 is likely going to be one of the toughest things we ever collectively face as a community and as a world, but we will get through this.

Here at Northeastern we are doing all we can on our end to make our community as safe as possible. If you are looking to manage the new risks at your facility or business drop us a line!