Antimicrobial textile

What is an antimicrobial textile?

Antimicrobial textile is very helpful to the healthcare or hospital industry. And also, places that are very likely to the microbe. So, in other words, antimicrobial fabric or textiles have been treated to discourage the growth of microorganisms. Examples as bacteria, mold, fungi, mildew, and other hazardous microbes. These textiles are prepared to prevent or reduce the addition of harmful microbes on surfaces. Also, it can be particularly useful in various applications. Including upholstery, clothing, medical textiles, and more. These fabrics, from hospital care to sportswear, provide a solution to harmful microbes. And also, promote cleanliness and freshness.

Growth of the market is mainly triggered by combating the increasing number of infections by the need for hygiene products. Also, due to microbe in various applications such as sportswear, curtains & drapes,  protective wear, bedding, carpets, surgical supplies &  intimates, wipes, and footwear.

Antimicrobial textile market volume is predicted to increase from USD 10.9 billion in 2021 to USD 14.9 billion by 2026, at 6.7% from 2021 to 2026.

The trending global hospital antimicrobial textiles market is to reach $5.17 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2020 to 2030, also valued at $3.20 billion in 2019.

How does antimicrobial fabric work?

Antimicrobial textiles work the same way as sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps do. Prevent their growth and reproduction by attacking pathogens on a cellular level.  effectiveness may differ by using different chemicals and textiles. Some products are designed to kill spore cells on contact and some merely slow the spread of pathogens over time, while others.

New antimicrobial cotton textile with Cu ions in nanofibers developed by Professors Robert Briber and Liangbing Hu from Maryland Materials Science.

Antimicrobial agents such as metal and metallic Salts, organic Compounds, Bio-Based Agents, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs), and Triclosan are primarily used on fabrics in the textile industry. Also, it inhibits the growth of microorganisms on the fabric material. Increase the demand for antimicrobial textiles for their production, thus, expected to lead to market growth in the upcoming years.

There are several methods used to create antimicrobial textiles

  • Chemical treatment
  • Nano-coatings
  • Incorporation of antimicrobial fibers
  • Microbial blocking technology
  • Enzyme-based treatments

Chemical treatment

To make antimicrobials several treatments can be used. Since this treatment method has its advantages, and disadvantages and is specific to the application, these application antimicrobial agents can be organic and inorganic. commonly used antimicrobial is silver nanoparticles and some type of chemicals. This involves applying antimicrobial agents onto the fabric. Here are some common chemical treatments for creating antimicrobial textiles

Silver-based treatments

Silver-based treatments are also called silver coating or silver ions.  It is used by applying various techniques such as coating, impregnation, or situ synthesis. More effective against microbes. Also, silver-based techniques reduce the growth of microorganisms.

Copper-based treatments

Known for their long-lasting antimicrobial properties. Copper nanoparticles can be applied to textiles through various techniques like impregnation or coating. Also, the Copper effect by inactivation interferes with microbes through enzymes and membranes.

Quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) treatment

In this antimicrobial textile quats are chemically bonded or firm to textile fibers, disrupting and attracting microorganisms by providing a positively charged surface. Mostly used in medical textiles as effective against bacteria and viruses.

Chitosan treatment

It offers biodegradable and natural antimicrobial properties. Chitosan, derived from chitin, can be applied to textiles through coating or impregnation. Resultantly it deranges microbial cell membranes and inhibits their growth.

Zinc pyrithione treatment

A common chemical compound used in textiles is Zinc pyrithione (ZPT). It is used for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Including care products, personal textiles, and coatings it has been widely used in various applications. Mainly to prevent the growth of microbes such as bacteria and fungi. ZPT is used in odor-controlling properties of fabrics and antimicrobial textile treatment.

Using different methods Zinc pyrithione can be applied to textiles, such as coating, enclosing, or soaking. This method depends on factors like the type of textile.  Also, depends upon the level of treated fabric and the level of treatment of antimicrobial fabric. This treatment in use is long-lasting and versatile. Commonly used in sportswear and outdoor textiles. Special environmental care should be adopted in treatment with ZPT as it is released in wastewater and washing.

To make it suitable for various applications that need enhanced antimicrobial properties ZPT textile can enhance hygiene and freshness benefits. Further, consumers need to know about specific properties benefits, and disadvantages of using ZPT zinc pyrithione treatment.

Triclosan treatment

Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent. It is used in a variety of textile products to reduce the growth of fungi, bacteria, and other microbes. To provide antimicrobial properties coating or embrace of this compound is used. Which reduces microbial enzymes and disrupts their membranes.

Different methods used for Triclosan treatment can be used for textiles. With textile fibers during manufacturing different treatments are coating, blending, or impregnation. Also, the use of Triclosan treatment become more controversial in recent years. Due to potential environmental and health concerns are the main reasons.

Triclosan treatment is antimicrobial and also, more durable. But environmental safety is the main concern. Now researchers are seeking new treatment agents that are safer for the environment and potential health risks.

Essential oils and natural extracts

Essential oils like tea tree oil, oregano oil, or thyme oil are used. Natural compounds in these oils have antimicrobial properties. Essential oils are applied through the impregnation method to the textile fabric. This method is more natural and environmentally friendly but has some drawbacks. A major drawback is limited durability.

Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB)

Poly-hexa-methylene biguanide (PHMB) is one of antimicrobial agent. To reduce the growth of microbes as bacteria and fungus this treatment is used widely as in textiles. To provide antimicrobial properties fabric surface treatment is applied with PHMB treatment. Textile treatment includes coating, blending, or impregnation.

PHMB treatment helps to reduce odors and maintain overall hygiene and freshness to textiles. Mostly used in wound dressing and health care textiles. As it has more effectiveness in antimicrobial while it has some harmful potential risks. These risks include chemicals wastewater during processing, some types of allergies, and sensitivity to use it.


A thin layer of Nano-coating is applied to various surfaces. These treatment methods can enhance the antimicrobial properties of textile products. The most common examples are water repellent, strain resistance, UV protection, and other antimicrobial properties. These coatings of nanomaterials are used at the nanoscale in such a way as to take advantage of unique properties. Overall performance is improved compared to traditional coating. This coating is applied using various methods and used in a wide range of textiles, automotive, healthcare, and electronics.

Nanotechnology creates a very thin layer of antimicrobial coating on the fabric surfaces.  These coatings can provide extra long-term protection against microbe growth.

Some common methods or applications are,

  • Dip coating
  • Spray coating
  • Layer-by-layer assembly
  • Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)

Nanotechnology has antimicrobial, durability, and breathability-enhanced properties. It has potential toxicity and environmental safety are potential impacts.

Incorporation of antimicrobial fibers

Different treated direct fiber is used in textiles which has antimicrobial Properties. Also, these fibers are blended or embodied with different fibers to inherent antimicrobial properties in the final fabric structure. This blended fiber releases antimicrobial agents to inhibit the further growth of microorganisms. So properties improved such as odor control, durability, and hygiene. Common examples of antimicrobial properties such as bamboo and certain types of wool.

Antimicrobial fiber incorporation offers a proactive approach to maintaining the prolonging and hygiene of the life of textiles. So, manufacturers and consumers should carefully choose antimicrobial agents. And also, fibers that align with their needs, health and safety concerns, and sustainability goals. Here are some fiber treatments

Silver-infused fibers

Some fibers have been infused or coated with silver nanoparticles or ion methods. It releases antimicrobial agents upon contact with moisture or microbes.

Copper-infused fibers

Similar to silver, copper-infused fibers release copper ions to reduce microbial growth.

Chitosan-coated fibers

Chitosan, derived from chitin, can be coated onto fibers

Zinc-infused fibers

To add antimicrobial effects Zinc ions can be embedded into into fiber.

Nanofiber technology

Nanofiber technology can also be inherent in textiles to enhance performance.

Microbial blocking technology

Microbial blocking technology refers to various techniques and materials. That reduces the growth of microbes, such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. To enhance hygiene and products such as consumer products, medical equipment, and food packaging in textiles this technology is used. This microbial-blocking technology surface resists or repels microorganisms or resists microbial attack and growth. This is used in places where a high standard of care or more risk of infection as in medicals, households, and public places.

Here are some techniques used

  1. Antimicrobial Surfaces
  2. Nanotechnology
  3. Biological Agents
  4. Advanced Filtration Systems
  5. Smart Materials
  6. Medical Devices and Implants
  7. Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering

Enzyme-based treatments

Enzymatic treatments are used to improve the textile properties. Enzymes are natural biocatalysts. Without consumption, it accelerates the process. There are many advantages in textile processing. Such as fewer environmental effects, enhanced efficiency, and improved quality. Here are some techniques


Also, enzymes like cellulases are used to remove fluff, lint, and protruding fibers from fabric surfaces. So, it improves smoothness reduces pilling, and enhances appearance.


Since, enzymes break down rigid cellulose fibers and can soften fabrics, making them more comfortable to wear. Also, leads to increased flexibility and a smoother feel.


In this process, the starch-based material applied to warp during weaving is removed by amylase enzymes. Since in afterword processes dying and finishing dye take up and enhanced fabric texture improved.

Denim fading

Stonewash appearance in denim garments is achieved by using enzymes such as cellulases. Since they remove indigo dye from denim to make a vintage or worn look.


This treatment by enzymes removes impurities, waxes, and oils from raw fiber  (wool, cotton, etc.) and also, enhances the absorbency of fibers

Color enhancement

In this enzyme technique enzymes are used to remove natural color impurities in fibers. So, in more brightness in color.

Antimicrobial finishes

Enzymatic finishes with microbial agents are used in textiles, to provide a protective layer to fabric and repellent to growth. also, most effective against sweat and moisture and used mostly in sportswear and activewear

Biodegradable processing

Enzyme-based treatments can be used to replace traditional chemical methods. Also, it can reduce the environmental impact of textile processing as enzymes are biodegradable.

Enzymatic bleaching

These advanced technology enzymes can be used as substitutes for harsh bleaching chemicals. It lightens the color of textiles. Also, this process is milder and environmentally friendly.

Enzymatic fabric softeners

Enzymes can be used to develop natural fabric softeners that enhance the softness and comfort of textiles.

Benefit antimicrobial textile

Antimicrobial textiles have many benefits, including

  • Hygiene
  • Odor control
  • Longevity
  • Health impacts
  • Safety impacts
  • Environmental impacts

Also, it reduces the speed of infections, diseases, odor, and unpleasant smell of sweat and moisture control. It is used in  PPE (personal protective equipment) for health and safety, such as masks and gloves. So, it is used to reduce the growth of microbes.  Also, it can reduce the usage of chemical disinfectants by reducing growth.

Consideration antimicrobial textile

There are some considerations as environmental concerns, some chemicals are mixed in wastewater disposal. Also, creates some safety and government concerns about antimicrobial agents can be regulated

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