Antimicrobial coatings are an excellent way to keep your clothes fresh. The process for incorporating antimicrobial agents into textiles differs depending on the type of fibers and materials. Some of these agents are added to the fiber during synthesis or during extrusion, while others are applied during the spin finish process. Antimicrobial compounds are also applied to nonwoven products during the bonding and finishing processes.
Inorganic nanostructured materials have a major role in textile antimicrobial coatings. In one study, a biocompatible polymer modified with an almond skin extract changed from nanoparticles to selenium brooms in 45 min. Anti-microbial activity was observed in cotton fabric coated with these structures. Moreover, the eco-friendly nanohybrid material was found to be resistant to Phytophthora infestans fungal attack.
SilverClear(r) was developed in the 1990s as a cost-effective antimicrobial coating. Before its invention, silver-treated textiles were extremely expensive. Some of them contained as much as 25% silver. Bernard Rose, the founder of the company, believed there must be a more efficient way to impart silver to textiles. Therefore, he teamed up with a research and development organization and developed a process that imparts silver to textiles.
There have been numerous studies on the use of antimicrobial textile materials. Some of these include organic and inorganic compounds, as well as quaternary ammonium compounds. Silver has long been known to possess antibacterial properties, but it is now increasingly used in textile materials for hospital use. In addition to silver, another popular method for imparting antimicrobial properties to textile materials is dimethylol-5,5-dimethylhydantoin. This agent has antibacterial effects in plain woven cotton and polymer/cotton blends (65/35).