Finishes for wooden floorings, with antibacterial action. How to prove their real effectiveness

There are finishes with antibacterial action, those with sanitizers and those with cleansers. Wood floorings are keeping up with the times.

But what are their functions and what are the differences among the several definitions offered on the market? Above all, what is their real effectiveness?

Let’s start from the function, which is breaking down the formation of bacterial flora on the parquet’s surface. In fact, it is possible to get great results by including a special additive on the prefinished floor’s finish. However, only laboratory analysis can say if the special additive is working and how and so if our wooden floor will have the characteristics that have been described.

According to standard ISO 22196:2011, only if antibacterial activity is higher than 3 its action can be considered “excellent” as it is able to kill 99,9 per cent of bacteria. If analysis report a result between 2 and 3, this means that its “optimal” action will eliminate 99 to 99,9 per cent of bacteria. A so called “limit” action has a result between 1,5 and 2, so its effectiveness ranges from 96,8 and 99 per cent. And last, if analysis results give a value less than 1,5 the antibacterial action should be considered as “poor” since it will kill less than 96,8 per cent of bacteria.

Function and effectiveness should go together, with the aim of not allowing bacteria living on our floorings to proliferate but, on the contrary, of granting them a very short life. Within 24 hours they should die.

The laboratory test made on additives on the market consists in placing a certain quantity of bacteria upon a sample. After 24 hours bacteria are counted; then a value is bestowed, according to the percentage of erasure. And only if percentage is above 99 per cent the used product can be considered suitable.

But consumers should pay attention to the definition used commercially. In Italy the word antibacterial may be used only after a mandatory step to obtain the surgical medical device for the specific product. It is an expensive procedure, but without this the use of this definition is not allowed.

This means that the consumer can be using a parquet which is excellent on an antibacterial level, but which can be found on the market under other definitions. Thus, what is really important is not the actual definition but the result of laboratory analysis.

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