Laundering clothing is daunting chore that requires a good amount of energy, both physical energy from the person doing it and electrical energy from the machines that facilitate it. But virtually everyone understands the need of completing such a task. If you don't launder your clothing, bedding and other textile items, then they are going to become odorous and smell.
Fortunately, a formidable solution exists - antimicrobial technologies effectively combat odor, minimizing the frequency of laundering textiles and thus prolonging a product's life. Though this technology has existed for 30 years, the awareness level is not very high and perceptions of the value of such treatments are limited to specific apparel. However, consumers' busy lifestyles and changes to washing care instructions over the years (for finer, softer textiles) have increased the needs and benefits of treating textiles to combat odor causing bacteria.
How Antimicrobial Treatments Work
Antimicrobial treatments control the growth of odor-causing bacteria arising in everyday use of apparel & home textiles. Normally these bacteria would generate unpleasant odor molecules, but by controlling their growth, treatments suitable chemicals, prevents the formation of these odors and keeps fabrics fresher longer. More specifically, these chemicals are applied at the manufacturing level and binds onto fabric. It then kills bacteria by puncturing their cell membranes, causing the contents to leak out. Once the bacteria are dead they can no longer produce smelly waste metabolites, and fabrics maintain their freshness.
Even though consumers are becoming familiar with antimicrobial treatments, most are unaware of their potential to improve everyday clothing and home textiles. A study conducted by Arch Chemicals and market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres, Inc, shows that four out of five U.S. adults (81 percent) lack awareness that freshness-enhancing treatments for clothing and textiles are available, yet nearly half (48 percent) - including more than half of male consumers (51 percent) - reported that, given the opportunity, they would be willing to pay more for clothing and textiles manufactured with freshness-enhancing treatments. This presents a real opportunity to manufacturers, brands and retailers to offer an attractive new performance feature on their products.
Busy lifestyles make performance enhancement for comfort or ease of care highly attractive. Apparel and home textiles treated with an antimicrobial treatment maintain that "just laundered" feeling when being worn on regular basis and can decrease the frequency of washing which can save on cost, time and ultimately environmental impact.
Cleaning Antimicrobial Treated Clothes
Today's finer, softer textiles require low wash temperatures without bleach - conditions that facilitate bacteria survival. This bacteria leads to the formation of bio-films on fibers which are very difficult to remove and can even remain after future washes. These chemicals effectively combats the growth of micro-organisms over the practical lifetime of the article under national washing conditions specified on fabric care labels.
When caring for clothing or linens that are treated with such anti-microbial chemicals, consumers should wash products without using chlorine bleach, as it will deactivate the treatment. The anti-microbial chemicals remain effective after tumble drying or color-safe bleaching.
The extension of antimicrobial treatments into mainstream apparel and home textiles adds to consumers' overall comfort and well-being, in addition to enhancing the life cycle of textiles.