Antimicrobial Copper

The Covid19 pandemic created a lot of interest in antimicrobial copper as touch surfaces to reduce transmission of disease. This page outlines what we have discovered about copper as a hygienic metal and shows some of our products.

Besides its aesthetic appeal copper has an intrinsic property of being antimicrobial, just like it has an intrinsic property of being an electrical conductor. The health benefits of copper originate from Greek and Roman times. Relatively recent scientific research at Southampton University by Professor Bill Keevil proved the antimicrobial efficacy of copper alloys. Research continues internationally and there is now a huge market developing in antimicrobial copper alloy touch surfaces. One major beneficiary is hospitals where infections such as MRSA continue to spread.

Unfortunately the UK and Europe lag behind the USA in organising a system whereby manufacturers can register products and copper alloys on a national register for the benefit of everybody. Nothing exists, sadly.

In US the EPA has done this under a stewardship scheme and allows public health claims by registered companies using registered grades of copper alloys.


Copper kills 99.9% of 6 named dangerous pathogens within 2 hours at room temperature, see Table 1 below. These microbes can exist for days on stainless steel and plastic.

The US EPA also has a package of information for users and manufacturers including proper use and care.

Table 1

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE)
  • Enterobacter aerogenes
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Corona virus Covid-19:
The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper on the 17th March 2020 The Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 which indicates the virus only exist up to 4 hours on copper, compared to 72 hours on plastic and 48 hours on stainless steel.

The copper we use is 99.9% pure copper

Customers will need to decide for themselves on the benefits of copper as an antimicrobial surface based on their own research. That is unless you live in the USA.

Information sources:

Health Environments Research & Design Journal

Southampton University Antimicrobial Copper

Southampton University News 2016

Copper Alloy Stewardship

NHS University Hospital Birmingham

New England Journal of Medicine

National Institute of Health USA

National Centre for Biotechnology Information USA


Metal Sheets Ltd makes a range of products in natural finish copper, view our gallery. Note that the finish needs to be natural because to retain antimicrobial properties copper needs to be periodically cleaned and this will remove any patina and dirt.


Metal Sheets Ltd does not claim a public health benefit from using copper as an antimicrobial surface and there is no system in the UK to allow us to apply for this status. Information provided by Metal Sheets Ltd about the efficacy of copper as an antimicrobial surface is based on current research and information publicly available from reputable sources on the internet. There is no guarantee that this is the latest information or about the accuracy of those sources.