Antimicrobial Copper

Copper is man's oldest metal.  It is still widely used because its properties make it very versatile and useful.  The unique antimicrobial properties of copper and its alloys are only now beginning to be recognized, and deployed in the fight against the spread of infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  

   Properties of Copper


  • Ductile

  • Malleable

  • High thermal conductivity

  • High electrical conductivity

  • Good corrosion resistance

  • Easily recycled

  • Antifouling

  • Easily alloyed with other metals

  • Readily available

  • Antimicrobial


Copper is antimicrobial, and has the ability to kill bacteria* and other microorganisms after they come in contact with its surface, and continue to kill them when a copper surface in recontaminated.  Nothing needs to be added to copper to cause this killing.  This ability to kill bacteria* in an intrinsic property of copper.  This killing ability does not get consumed or worn out.  Copper also keeps on killing bacteria* when repeatedly recontaminated, perhaps because of  lack of frequent hand washing and/or cleaning of surfaces.  However, copper is not harmful to humans when touched.

Antimicrobial Copper Alloys

Look Great and Are Corrosion Resistant

When people think of copper they often think of the green patina on the Statue of Liberty.  However, there are many copper alloys that are resistant to tarnishing and corrosion, especially in indoor environments.  The copper alloys shown above vary in color, ranging from red to yellow to silver.  They are readily available, give you good value based on their properties, and are easy to clean.  For example, the copper - nickel alloys shown in the figure above vary in color vary in color from light pink to silver and are quite resistant to corrosion. 

Benefits of Using Antimicrobial Copper Alloys

Antimicrobial copper alloys supplement good hygienic practices between cleanings  by killing bacteria*, viruses, and fungi on frequently touched surfaces.

Copper alloys are solid metallic materials registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continuously kill more than 99.9% of bacteria* that cause healthcare-associated infections within two hours of contact, when cleaned regularly.

Science supporting the EPA registration has proven antimicrobial copper alloys to be a highly useful touch surface materials in the fight against bacteria*, viruses, and fungi that cause infections, and has sparked a global campaign advocating the use of these materials to supplement conventional infection control practices in healthcare facilities, mass transit, educational institutions and beyond.

Three main characteristics make antimicrobial copper alloys highly effective touch surface materials:

Continuously kills bacteria*

  • Efficacy as an antimicrobial is proven far more effective than other materials

  • Proven to continuously kill the bacteria* that cause infections

  • The only solid metal antimicrobial touch surfaces registered by EPA

Never wears out

  • Continuous and ongoing antimicrobial action

  • Remains effective even after repeated wet & dry abrasion and re-contamination

  • Natural tarnishing does not impair efficacy

Safe to use

  • Not harmful to people or the environment

  • Inherently antimicrobial, no chemicals added

  • Completely recyclable

The Antimicrobial Copper Action Network - Location is in the United States, and serving the Globe:

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*EPA required statement:  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. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.


All EPA related statements on this website apply to the U.S. market and audiences only.​ 

For locations outside of the U.S., local regulatory guidelines should be consulted and followed.