Product Review

Antimicrobials in Building Products: the COVID-19 Edition

Cleaning with soap and water is still the best defense against COVID-19 virus and other pathogens. Antimicrobials are not the answer.

COVID-19 self-isolation has drastically changed our behavior. We don masks and rubber gloves if we have to go outside and then wash hands incessantly when we get back … behaviors that would have seemed absurd just a few months ago. The precautions are well founded as we look for ways to “flatten the curve” and get a handle on the virus, but it is tempting to seek out antimicrobial materials that would kill these pathogens on contact.

"There is no evidence that antimicrobials in products prevent disease in hospital settings."

However, there are always tradeoffs with the use of materials selected to kill living organisms as well as legitimate questions about their effectiveness. Let’s take a look at antimicrobials in the age of 2019 novel coronavirus (the pathogen that causes COVID-19), noting that it is called “novel” for a reason: there are still many unknowns regarding the virus and the best ways to manage it.

Published May 4, 2020

Ehrlich, B. (2020, April 21). Antimicrobials in Building Products: the COVID-19 Edition. Retrieved from