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What are Antimicrobial Fabrics & How Do They Work?

June 17, 2021 3 min read

antimicrobial fabrics

Recent health concerns surrounding the worldwide pandemic have generated a renewed interest in the ways technology is helping us stay safe. One such example is antimicrobial fabrics and their potential to fend off illness or exposure to bacteria and viruses.

One of the most common uses of antimicrobial fabrics is in medical environments. The treated fabrics help fend off microorganisms, or pathogens, that would normally contaminate bedding and curtains found in medical offices or hospitals. They are used as an added layer of protection against the growth or spread of certain bacteria and other microorganisms.

Outside of the medical community, antimicrobial textiles are most commonly used to make athletic wear, specialty underwear like Ejis sweat proof undershirts and boxer briefs, and household items like mattresses and sheets.

This post was originally published in June 2020, and was updated in June 2021.

What is Antimicrobial Fabric?

Antimicrobial fabric is a textile that is either naturally resistant to microbe or has been treated in such a way as to resist microbes. Antimicrobial textiles offers protection against bacteria, mold, mildew, and other microbes (both hazardous and inert). 

Some naturally antimicrobial fabrics include linen, merino wool, and hemp. 

How Do Antimicrobial Fabrics Work?

When a microorganism, such as bacteria, comes into contact with an antimicrobial fabric, it breaks down in several ways.

  • The antimicrobial agent impedes the microbe’s genetics and its ability to reproduce. 
  • It increases oxygen levels, which causes internal damage to the microbe.
  • It damages the microbe’s membrane, which adversely affects its supply of nutrients.
  • It can assault the microbe’s proteins, which hinders its essential functions.

Common agents used to treat textiles are silver and copper because of their natural antimicrobial properties.

How are Antimicrobial Agents Applied to Fabric?

The intended use of an antimicrobial fabric, as well as the manufacturer’s capabilities, determine the process used to add the antimicrobial agent. The agents, or additives, may be applied to the surface of the textile or wound within its fibers. The agent may be added during the actual spinning of the fibers, combined with dyes, or applied as a treatment during finishing.

How can Antimicrobial Fabrics Help You?

Antimicrobial textiles used to make clothing, like Ejis sweat proof undershirts and boxer briefs, offer several benefits.

  1. The first, and perhaps most important, is fending off odor-causing bacteria. The bacteria on your skin feeds off of the nutrients found in your sweat and breaks it down, causing body odor. When you wear clothing made from antimicrobial fabric, your body odor is naturally regulated because the odor-causing bacteria is not given a chance to grow or spread.
  2. Because the odor-causing bacteria is not allowed to grow, the smell of body odor won’t linger on your clothes. This is especially useful for clothing made from synthetic fabric, which notoriously traps odors even after washing.
  3. Finally, clothing made from antimicrobial fabric stays fresh longer, and may even last longer since you may not need to work so hard to remove foul odors.

Antimicrobial fabrics offer several benefits to consumers, especially those concerned with body odor. When shopping for products touting antimicrobial properties, look for information from the company about the agents and processes used to treat the fabrics.

Ejis sweat proof and essential underwear is treated with silver ions to fend off odor-causing bacteria. Our dress socks have silver anti-odor technology permanently threaded into each sock. When bacteria and sweat mix, it can cause body odor that also lingers on your clothes. Stop worrying about odor, and start wearing Ejis undershirts, boxer briefs, and dress socks. (Buy from our shop or on Amazon.)

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