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How Sheet Metal Helps With Hygiene and Infection Control

Sheet metal plays a crucial role in maintaining hygiene and infection control in various settings such as healthcare facilities, food processing industries, and other essential spaces. Two commonly used types of sheet metal used for this are stainless steel and copper.

In this article, we will elaborate on how these particular sheet metals can be highly beneficial in spaces that require ultimate cleanliness. 

Hygienic Benefits of Steel

Stainless steel is widely recognized for its exceptional corrosion resistance, making it an ideal material for environments where hygiene is crucial.

Below are the benefits of having stainless steel in closed spaces. 


One of steel’s key features is its non-porous surface, which prevents the absorption of moisture.

This eliminates the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Unlike porous materials like wood or plastic, stainless steel does not provide a favorable environment for microorganisms to thrive.

Durable and Crack-resistant

Stainless steel is highly resistant to staining and cracking, ensuring that its surface remains smooth and easy to clean.

Stains or cracks in surfaces can harbor bacteria and make cleaning difficult, compromising the overall hygiene of the environment.

Withstands Harsh Chemicals

Another significant advantage of stainless steel is its high mechanical strength. This attribute allows it to withstand rigorous cleaning procedures, such as scrubbing and high-pressure washing, without sustaining damage.

The material’s robustness ensures that it can endure frequent exposure to chemical disinfectants without corroding or deteriorating, further contributing to its hygienic properties.

This is especially advantageous in laboratories where chemicals sometimes get inevitably contaminate surfaces. These surfaces won’t easily be compromised, ensuring the continuity of activities. 

Infection-Control Components of Copper

Copper exhibits unique antimicrobial properties that make it highly effective in reducing the risk of bacteria and infection. Below are the properties of Copper that make it ideal for reducing the risk of contamination. 

Antimicrobial Properties

Copper and copper alloys can be utilized for their ability to destroy a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Most metals have this characteristic, but it is especially visible with these two materials. This is often referred to as the “oligodynamic effect.”

The antimicrobial activity of copper stems from its inherent ability to disrupt the outer membrane and cellular processes of microorganisms. When bacteria come into contact with copper surfaces, the metal ions are released.

These ions initiate a series of reactions that cause damage to the cell membrane, inhibit respiration, and disrupt DNA and protein structures within the microorganisms. As a result, the viability of the microorganisms is significantly reduced, preventing their proliferation and transmission.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of copper in healthcare environments. Copper surfaces, such as door handles, bed rails, and frequently touched surfaces, have shown a substantial reduction in microbial contamination compared to conventional materials.

For instance, a new alloy integrated with 65% Copper (New Silver) can deactivate bacteria within 90 minutes of exposure. 

Because of this, copper sheet metal can be beneficial not only in enclosed spaces but also in public spaces to reduce the touch transmission of bacteria. 

Where to Incorporate Copper Sheet Metal

Copper sheet metal can be incorporated into various applications where infection control and hygiene are paramount. Some common areas where copper sheet metal and steel can be utilized include:

  • Healthcare Facilities. Copper surfaces can be used in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare settings for door handles, bed rails, countertops, and touch surfaces
  • Public Spaces. Copper sheet metal can be implemented in public spaces, such as airports, train stations, and public transportation, for frequently touched surfaces like handrails, door knobs, and elevator buttons.
  • Food Processing Industries. Copper surfaces can be utilized in food processing facilities for equipment, countertops, and food preparation surfaces. This prevents cross-contamination.

Maintenance is Still Important

It is important to note that while stainless steel and copper offer hygienic benefits, regular cleaning and maintenance are still necessary to ensure optimal infection control.

Routine cleaning protocols should be followed, including the use of appropriate disinfectants and detergents for these materials. Proper cleaning techniques, combined with the inherent properties of sheet metal, can significantly contribute to reducing the risk of infections.


Sheet metal, particularly stainless steel, and copper, plays a significant role in promoting hygiene and infection control in various settings.

Incorporating these types of sheet metal in critical areas helps create safer and more hygienic environments, contributing to the overall well-being of individuals and reducing the transmission of infectious diseases.

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