The warm glow of copper has been enticing designers to consider incorporating more of this metal into our interiors projects, as manufacturers are providing us with more choices, across the board. We’re seeing it in furniture finishes, lighting, hardware and especially in plumbing.
(33” Vine Design Copper Farmhouse Sink – Signature Hardware)
Not only is copper quite fashionable, did you know it has natural antimicrobial agents inherit to its makeup? That’s right. Since copper has properties which can cause the bacteria’s surrounding membrane to rupture. It also “punches” holes in this membrane, causing a loss of the nutrients and water, which weakens the cell. It also allows for the release of the copper ions into the cell, which in turn, overwhelms the cell and disrupts its metabolic process. Long story short, without all of the details, the bacterium can no longer “breathe, eat, digest or create energy.”
(Thompson Traders Tub and Sink – found right in my home state of North Carolina!)
To be sure to clarify, in order for copper to be officially labeled, antimicrobial copper, it has to meet specific standards. The alloys have to demonstrate a certain effectiveness under rigorous, EPA-approved test protocols. (Think hospital grade sinks or vessels.) Of course, this isn’t to say one would never clean a sink or tub, just because it’s copper. It just means you get some extra help in the war on bacteria.
(Just in case you’re more partial to gold tones, Thompson Traders Gold Karma Bath Sink is hammered copper, highlighted with an antique gold finish. My heart just skipped a beat!)
(The Archeo Bathtub, from Kallista, will set you back a “pretty penny”, starting at $45,000.00. It’s solid copper and would be a focal point in a most luxurious bathing suite.)
(I used a hammered copper sink in this butlery, a few years ago. It’s tucked over to the left. I just recently visited this client and it’s aged to perfection with a beautiful patina! Image – Wanda S. Horton Interior Design – Photographer – Whitney Gray)
From this very detailed and interesting article: “*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.” My understanding is there will be more manufacturers looking to transition from healthcare/hospitality options to retail.
All my best! ~ Wanda