By Sigrid Tornquist
Antimicrobial textile advances include reducing bacteria on the fabrics healthcare workers and patients come into contact with every day: hospital bedding and privacy curtains, and lab coats and scrubs.
At the earliest stages, these advancements essentially involved two ways to achieve antimicrobial benefits—by coating fabrics topically or incorporating a coated fiber or yarn into the fabric. Both methods can present manufacturing challenges, which can affect the feel of a fabric and hold the potential for the agents to wash away or wear off.
An antimicrobial agent made from a silver salt licensed exclusively through Eastman Kodak, Rochester, N.Y., and registered by the EPA, inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus on the materials that include it. PurThread™ Technologies, Morrisville, N.C., uses a proprietary manufacturing process to incorporate the antimicrobial agent into the core of each fiber at the earliest stage of fiber production. “The result is antimicrobial properties that are intrinsic to the fabric,” says CEO Lisa Grimes. “They don’t wash away, weaken, or wear out over time, and they are uniform throughout.”
Grimes points out that textile manufacturers can use their usual methods and equipment to embed a variation of the silver salt into fibers to produce PurThread fabric without requiring any special processes.