One of the many advantages of plastic musical instruments is that not only can they be better for the environment, recyclable, and considerably cheaper than other materials, but they are also easier to clean.
Unlike a brass trombone, for example, you can chuck a pBone in the bath to give them a good scrub! Soapy water can help to clean up most things, but what about the spread of bacteria from dirty hands in the classroom?
At pBone Music, we like to go one step further, so what you may not be aware of is that pInstruments are not just easy to clean, but actively inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria using the latest antimicrobial additives.
In fact, the new pCorder is the world's first carbon-neutral and antimicrobial recorder in the world. But how does this technology work and how can it make learning to play music more hygienic?
What is antimicrobial technology?
An 'antimicrobial' is a substance that reduces or destroys the presence of microbes such as bacteria and cold. This can even help to prevent the spread of viruses.
The technology we use, provided by Polygenie Biomaster, is an additive that goes into our instruments during manufacture. Rather than coating on top, we add this technology into the ABS plastic as the instruments are created, so that it becomes part of the instrument and provides permanent protection for the rest of the instrument's life. This ensures that all of our instruments are protected inside and out.
Along with the spread of bacteria from hands and surface contact on the outside of your instrument, these antimicrobial additives prevent bad odours and moisture from developing on the inside.
How do antimicrobial additives work?
Polygenie Biomaster is based on silver ion technology, a process that produces no harmful effects. When bacteria come into contact with a Polygenie Biomaster-protected surface - in our case the ABS plastic we use to make our instruments - the silver ions prevent the bacteria from growing, producing energy or replicating. This means the bacteria cannot survive and they die.
How do antimicrobial additives make my instruments more hygienic?
Brass instruments work by the player buzzing their lips together into a mouthpiece, which in turn vibrates the air inside the instrument creating a sound. All brass instruments are essentially empty tubes with which you can change the length. On any length of the tube, you can play a pattern of different pitches or notes by changing your buzz, using your lips and the controlling air that you blow through them.
In woodwind instruments like a recorder, the player blows air into the windway at the top of the instrument. The air column inside the instrument vibrates like a string, creating a sound.
When you blow air through instruments like recorders or trumpets, there is also saliva moving through your instrument during play. Saliva and moisture on the inside of these instruments can lead to a build-up of mould, fungi and other unsanitary conditions. Regular cleaning is effective, but antimicrobial additives built into the instruments provide even greater protection.
This technology is really beneficial as it prevents the instrument from developing bad odours from microbes. Condensation can also cause damage to the instrument, meaning that antimicrobial additives could extend the lifespan of your plnstruments!
Washing your hands is a crucial defence against spreading germs, particularly with musical instruments that you hold in your hands. Quality instruments that are manufactured with antimicrobial additives help to protect against any harmful bacteria that your instrument may come into contact with, either via yourself or transferred from another surface. This is particularly useful when instruments are being shared between family members or classmates at school!
How effective is antimicrobial technology?
In independent tests, Polygenie Biomaster is proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria by up to 99.99%, which means that even if your instrument looks clean, you can rest assured that the additive is working constantly to ensure it is hygienically clean.
In the most recent tests for pCorder, the antimicrobial additives were 99.99% effective against E. coli and 99.91% effective against Staphylococcus aureus, two of the most prominent bacteria that cause disease in humans.
Polygenie Biomaster is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial but is not anti-viral. It is effective against bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA.
Hygiene habits in music begin with the basics: washing your hands, and ensuring that instruments are cleaned regularly, particularly instruments that come into contact with saliva. This is vital for instruments that are being used by multiple users. Antimicrobial technology provides an extra level of security. You can be reassured that nasty bacteria, fungi, mould and more will not cause further problems.