Textiles are everywhere in our everyday lives. From the clothes we wear and the furniture we sit on to the bed linen we sleep in and the packaging our food comes in, fabrics are a critical component of many of our most common consumer products.
However, textiles also provide the perfect growth environment for various microorganisms. This can result in fabrics that smell bad, transmit illness, or suffer costly damage.
With this in mind, antimicrobial textiles are becoming an increasingly popular solution to many challenges microorganisms pose. Here, we explore what antimicrobial textiles are, how we can use them, and why they are so beneficial.
Antimicrobial textiles are fabrics that feature technologies that inhibit the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, and eliminate them from the textile and its surface. We usually achieve this via an antimicrobial additive or coating that manufacturers introduce into the fabric at the point of manufacture. Antimicrobial additives are often based on naturally occurring substances with inherent antimicrobial properties.
Antimicrobial additives equip fabrics and textiles with a host of performance benefits. The core benefits include:
Antimicrobial textiles are more hygienic and cleaner than fabrics that do not feature built-in protection. The antimicrobial additive protects the material from microorganisms and prevents mold and mildew from developing.
Left unchecked, microorganisms can damage textiles and cause the material to degrade. This shortens the product’s expected lifespan. By eliminating microorganisms, antimicrobials prevent this damage, resulting in longer-lasting products.
Because antimicrobials help keep textiles cleaner and odor-free, consumers can wash them less frequently. Less frequent washing reduces the environmental impact of a product, making it more sustainable and eco-friendlier.
As businesses introduce antimicrobial additives during manufacturing, the antimicrobial properties are ingrained in the fabric. This means they cannot be removed or washed away and ensures they provide around-the-clock protection for the product’s entire lifespan.
Manufacturers are now using antimicrobial textiles in a diverse array of innovative applications. Below, we focus on several of the most common use cases.
Hygiene-critical environments are another core use case. Hospitals, surgeries, and other similar environments must take active steps to prevent the spread of potentially dangerous microorganisms. As a result, they often incorporate antimicrobial additives into bedding, medical scrubs, gowns, masks, and other essential healthcare items.
With large numbers of guests rotating through hotels regularly, antimicrobial textiles provide hospitality businesses with a way of enhancing their existing hygiene routines. When included in sheets, bedding, and towels, antimicrobial agents prevent the spread of microorganisms and safeguard the brand’s professional reputation.
Antimicrobial textiles can be included in anything from curtains and cushions to sofas and rugs. Built-in antimicrobial protection ensures that these products don’t become safe havens for potentially harmful microorganisms and minimize the likelihood of dampness, mold, and mildew becoming an issue.
Vehicle manufacturers utilize antimicrobial fabrics for upholstery in cars, airplanes, trains, and buses. While private vehicles benefit from the technology’s ability to keep things smelling fresh and feeling clean, mass transport vehicles also benefit from the fact it prevents microbial growth and spread, limiting opportunities for transmission.
While we regularly see antimicrobial textiles in sports apparel, they also feature heavily in specialist sports equipment. From ice hockey gloves to heart rate monitor straps, antimicrobial fabrics help keep high-value sports equipment clean, smelling fresh, and ready for use.
If users aren’t careful, footwear starts to smell pretty quickly. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can also cause embarrassment and knock people’s confidence. Manufacturers can incorporate antimicrobial additives into various parts of the footwear design, including the uppers and insoles, to protect against microbial growth and eliminate unpleasant odors at the source.
Manufacturers can integrate Polygiene technology into almost any fabric. This includes materials with natural and synthetic fibers. The technology can protect cotton, wool, silk, nylon, polypropylene (PE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) textiles, amongst others.
If you have questions regarding Polygiene’s textile solutions and whether they can protect a particular type of textile, we recommend contacting the Polygiene team to discuss your needs.
Businesses introduce Polygiene technology during the manufacturing process. It is available in masterbatch, liquid, and powder form and can be added at any stage of manufacturing. This makes it a versatile, flexible solution that integrates seamlessly into existing processes with minimal disruption.
To learn more about our antimicrobial technologies, visit the Polygiene Technology page. If you have any questions or want to discuss how our technology can further enhance your product offering, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Polygiene team.