FAQ - Copper Clean™ vs. copper materials - There is not an alternative to the EPA approved, patent-pending technology of Copper Clean™.
Copper Clean™ products are different from standard copper products.
Any copper material will exhibit inherent antimicrobial and antiviral properties, from the Statue of Liberty to a copper penny. However, virtually all copper products on the market (including tapes, such as those that are used in electronics or for flashing) are essentially pure copper with very little or no alloying metals. These products are pure copper because it is cheaper to produce (you only have to extract the copper from the ore, you don't have the extra steps of then alloying the pure copper with other metals) and pure copper is a better conductor of electricity than alloyed metals. However, copper tarnishes (turns green or brown) almost instantaneously. In fact, if you touch most copper products with your bare hand your fingerprints will be immediately burned into the material. To prevent this rapid surface degradation, most copper products have a very thin clear coating to preserve the base material. This is how copper tapes for electronics appear bright and shiny. However, while that clear coating does not interfere with the electrical conductivity of the copper, it prevents the surface from killing microorganisms. The copper ions cannot kill microorganisms when they are coated. Pure copper materials are not designed (or approved by the EPA) to provide protection from harmful microorganisms.
Additionally, pure copper is one of the most malleable metals there is. You can easily bend copper tubing with your fingers and can tear copper tapes with little effort. These products are great for conducting electricity or sealing roofs but were not designed (or approved by the EPA) to provide protection from harmful microorganisms, maintain aesthetic appeal in highly visible areas, or experience repeated touches from bare hands.
There is not an alternative to the EPA approved, patent-pending technology of Copper Clean™
Copper Clean™ products are different from standard copper products. Our patches' high copper content provides exceptional antimicrobial functionality, but our proprietary alloy leverages the benefits of other metal compounds to prevent the tarnishing that happens with pure copper. These alloying metals also enhance the durability of the patches, providing greater scratch resistance, improved shear strength, and increased hardness. Copper Clean™ patches are optimized to provide not just long-lasting antimicrobial protection but also superior aesthetic appeal. Our products will still patina with time (we think of it similar to how leather ages with time and use) but will never turn green like pure copper products. A quick, simple polish will also bring the surfaces right back to mill-finish brightness if users prefer that look.
What the EPA says about Antimicrobial Copper
*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 have been shown to inhibit microbial contamination from these microorganisms, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices. Users must continue to follow all current infection control and sanitation practices. Antimicrobial copper surfaces must not be coated or waxed in any way in order to be effective. The natural patina of antimicrobial copper does not compromise the antimicrobial capacity of the product.