Keeping elevator cab interiors clean and hygienic in the midst of a renewed coronavirus pandemic scare is not just about cleaning surfaces but also employing the right materials while designing elevator interiors. While cleaning panels, elevator ceiling, handrails, and doors from top to bottom is important, wouldn’t it be great to have a surface that doesn’t retain harmful bacteria or viruses in the first place?
This article will briefly discuss commonly recommended best practices (by healthcare agencies such as the CDC and the WHO) for keeping your elevator clean and germ-free and keeping yourself safe while using the elevator. It will also talk about a lesser known fact regarding cab enclosure surfaces – in particular, the antimicrobial properties of certain natural elevator wall materials such as copper and its alloys. First, let’s talk about how to keep safe from the coronavirus when inside an elevator.
How to Keep Yourself Safe From Covid-19 When Using an Elevator
It is well-known that the coronavirus can infect another person in an elevator scenario when the first person directly coughs, sneezes, or breathes heavily in the presence of the former. This might be true if neither of the two persons have masks on and are not maintaining effective social distancing norms. That is why it is recommended that vertical travelers restrict elevator usage if there are more than 2 or 3 people already inside or that they simply use the stairs. But what about germs that are left behind by persons who’ve used the elevator before you? Can they cause you to get infected?
Fortunately, studies have shown that Covid-19 viruses are generally not left behind in large enough numbers by an infected previous elevator user to affect the well-being of the next user. Apart from the fact that most modern elevators are well-ventilated, the air pressure inside buildings, the amount of time that elevator doors remain open, etc., affect the quantity of germs in the air. The more dangerous aspect of keeping safe within elevator enclosures is touching walls, elevator handrails, control panels, or doors, and then directly putting your hands on your face.
Disinfecting Elevator Cab Interiors
To ensure that you do not touch surfaces with your naked fingers, use your elbows or clothes. Facility managers, too, need to ensure that elevator surfaces are cleaned and wiped with an EPA-approved disinfectant spray well before morning traffic is due to arrive. A pertinent point to mention here is that stainless steel, while easy to clean, does not have any natural antimicrobial attributes.
Use Copper and its Alloys to Disinfect Elevator Surfaces Naturally
On the other hand, Copper and its alloys such as brass and bronze, do have natural antimicrobial properties. In fact, Copper is the most credibly established metal that has significant potential to finish off superbugs as soon as they land on a Copper-imbued surface. The science behind this fact is that Copper ions prevent bacterial and fungal cell respiration when droplets from coughing, sneezing, or spitting land on the a Copper surface. The ions will puncture microbial cell walls as well as disrupt the viral coat with RNA present inside.
The only reason why Copper is not extensively used in hospitals, hotels, and healthcare facilities is that it is so much more expensive than ordinary steel. One way to recompense for this expense is to have your elevator panels cladded over with bronze material or to apply a finishing via oxidation with Copper as the oxidizing agent. This is cheaper than getting new panels installed while serving the purpose of maintaining a clean and healthy environment for building users and visitors.
Wondering how elevator interiors can be redone using Copper alloys? Talk to an expert today.