A recent story from blog Mind the Science Gap got us thinking about the pitfalls of overusing antibacterial soap. The active bacteria killer in those soaps, Triclosan, is just about everywhere these days–it shows up in everything from pizza cutters to toothpaste. It’s possible that Triclosan isn’t entirely healthy for us; worse, overuse may potentially be making some bacteria immune to Triclosan, and that’s a whole new mess. But overuse of Triclosan doesn’t mean we should stop caring about hygiene and let any old bacteria get us sick–we simply need to remember that there are other solutions out there that can kill bacteria. Like brass doorknobs, for example.
Fact: Frequently touched surfaces (especially in public places) are like safe havens for bacteria. Or breeding pools. Or discos, depending on how you like to visualize germs massing for an attack on your immune system. When our hands are unclean, we touch these services, depositing whatever germs we’re carrying around with us. A lesser-known fact is that certain metals, such as brass, actually sterilize themselves after a certain period of time, making them ideal materials for surfaces like doorknobs.