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Why Clean Your Door Handles

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Now more than ever, it is important to clean your door handles. This pandemic can only be stopped by good hygiene and cleaning. Every day we all touch door handles. At home or office, or at the mall there are door handles to be turned. In recent months we have seen what social distancing and greater hygiene can achieve.

Your hands are carriers of germs and they sweat. We touch so much on our daily journey from home to work to home. We wash our hands quickly and generally not effectively. Our hands open and close doors hundreds of times a day. In our wake bacteria thrives on door handles for others to absorb.

Back in 2017 British scientists found that handling brass fixtures can actually disable their germ-killing powers. Copper-containing metals like brass have antibacterial properties-a selling point for brass doorknobs, sink handles, and other fixtures in hospitals and schools.

Sweating is good for you. Sweat leaves your skin glistening. More importantly, any form of exercise gets blood circulating throughout the body, which gives your skin a healthy glow from the inside out. Proper blood flow allows oxygen and nutrients to circulate and nourish skin cells. So sweating is necessary but also carries consequences.

Sweat forms a corrosive layer

According to University of Leicester forensic scientist John Bond, human sweat forms a corrosive layer on the metal surface. That blocks an exchange of charged particles that would otherwise kill harmful bacteria. And the fixtures that are handled the most would be the most affected.

When your body is overheated, when you're moving around, when you're feeling emotional, or as a result of hormones, nerves activate the sweat glands. Your hands become sweaty. When you touch things, you leave your sweat on those things you touch. Mixed with other chemicals you have touched in your travels, like oils, creams, foods, other peoples sweat from items they have touched, you are a walking biohazard.

It was known that sweat can corrode copper alloys (metal mixtures) like brass in the long term. But in this study, the researchers studied the effects of sweat on copper surfaces within a few hours of contact. They found that within as little as an hour, the salt in sweat can form a corrosive layer on the surface of the metal, which would prevent the electrochemical reaction that kills microorganisms.

Salt from sweaty hands

Now, a full hour after someone touches a doorknob may sound like a long time for this effect to take hold. But consider how many people handle doorknobs or similar fixtures in a day: more than enough to neutralize the metal's germ-killing powers as long as the building stays busy. What's more, frequently touched items collect salts from the sweat of many people,

which makes the corrosive layer tougher and longer lasting.

Wash your hands more frequently

However, the research suggests that institutions using copper-based fixtures shouldn't slack off on cleaning them, nor should they make any less of an effort to make sure people keep washing their hands.

In today's current pandemic (2020/21) it has become more important to wash your hands and keep your distance. With the world in turmoil it is more apparent that hygiene is number one priority for all of us.

Our knowledge of how disease is transferred to others is more apparent. Which is why it is paramount that door handles and cupboard handles are cleaned more frequently. When you consider the number of objects we do touch during our day on our journey it is apparent how simple it is to catch the common cold, or flu virus. It is just not from sneezes or coughs.

What have you touched today?

Today when I left for work I touched my car door handle and gearshift and car controls. At work I opened the front door walked up the stairs holding the rail, made a coffee touching the kettle and taps. Opened the refrigerator and grabbed the milk. I will be touching door handles and tools and other objects today. The list goes on and on.

What have I touched today? I tremble to think what I touch at the supermarket and how many others have done the same. If you travel by train or bus or taxi all surfaces are at risk of carrying disease. How many other people have opened that door?

It sounds scary but in reality the human body is strong and deals with most disease accordingly. However it does make sense to take some precautions along the way. When it comes to home or office, the places we 'live' for much of our lives, cleaning is today more important. We don't suggest that you become addicted to it but we are suggesting that a little more attention to door handles and cupboard knobs is on the to do list.

How to clean those door handles and cupboard knobs

The simplest and safest cleaning process for door handles and cupboard handles is to use warm water and a clean cloth to wipe down said handles. If grease or dirt remains then a soft soap like dish washing liquid (the kind that does not require gloves) should be used with warm water and a clean cloth.

Using harsh chemicals can and will affect the coating on the door handles and cupboard knobs. Over time you will notice the deterioration on the handle. Sometimes this is unavoidable if you have stubborn stains to remove from the surface.

Surface protection

To protect the surface of the door handles and cupboard knobs we recommend products like "Mr Sheen" spray on wax. It is important to note that this should only be a spray and wipe process and not a rubbing on application. Wax type sprays and pastes are chemical based and as such the chemicals can affect the surface of the handle. A simple spray then wipe is all that is required.

The spray on wax will provide a simple yet effective protection from dirt and grease common on door handles and cupboard handles and some protection from disease transmission.

Many door handles and cupboard knobs have a lacquer finish to protect the handle. When cleaning chemicals are applied to the surface they react to the lacquer coating and can cause drying and cracking to the surface lacquer. Use only gentle cleaners that do not require gloves.


Today many of us have experienced lock-down and home confinement due to the pandemic. But what it does bring to light is that hygiene is important and not something we should ignore or brush off.

We hope that we all comply to the current health state of affairs, and by keeping our distance and washing our hands regularly, the pandemic will be reduced to allow us to return to our normal.

At our showroom we request you maintain distance, wash your hands coming and going, and take care when touching our door handles and cupboard handles. Lets work together and look to the future.

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