Microbes are everywhere, and the fascinating variety of germs that make up the human microbiome can both positively and negatively affect your health. For some people, carrying a simple tool to minimize contact with surfaces like doors and elevator buttons makes it easier to navigate trips outside the home.
While copper and brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) are antimicrobial and many of the tools made from these materials are marketed as “killing viruses,” that claim is misleading, and you can still transfer germs from the tool to your bag or other items. Whatever tool you choose, it does not replace washing your hands and following the latest scientific recommendations for your area.
Always have one on hand. Amazon
If you frequently lose small objects or are always transferring your stuff back and forth between different bags, these affordable tools have you covered. Available in packs of 2-4, each metal tool (note that these are not 100 percent brass or copper) is a little less than 3 inches in length, about an inch wide, and has a small hole you can use to attach them to your bag or belt with a keychain or carabiner. Slip your forefinger through the circular part of the tool, grab it with your thumb, and use it to pull open doors or press buttons at an ATM. Keep a spare in your home, car, and workplace just in case, or give extras to friends and family members.
Be an anti-germ superhero. Amazon
If you are a fan of scrappy new crowd-funded gadgets, consider the brass Hygiene Hand which was funded through Kickstarter. It’s made from 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc, and is 3 inches long and 1.25 inches wide. This item includes a carabiner with a retractable keychain, which means you don’t have to take the tool off your belt before using it, or awkwardly open a door with your handbag still attached to the tool.
Shiny support. Amazon
If you’d prefer a copper no-contact tool, consider this model, which is 99.9 percent copper. At 3.35 inches long and 1.6 inches wide, this design has a gap in the circular grip that allows you to slip the tool around a strap on your bag. While you can use the tool to open doors, turn on faucets, and press buttons at a cash registers or in elevators, your results will vary with touchscreens. If you want something that effectively delivers digital signatures every time, your best bet is to purchase a separate stylus.
Two-finger grip. Amazon
If you feel that smaller tools don’t give you as much room to maneuver, this 99.9 percent copper tool is a generous 3.88 inches long and 2.06 inches wide. Door handles for restaurants, shops, public buildings, and more aren’t universal, and you may find it difficult to get the L-shaped hook that’s part of many no-contact tools to grip certain doors. This model offers a slightly angled hook that may give you extra leverage, depending on the shape and weight of the handle you are grabbing.