Antimicrobial Fabric Treatment

Antimicrobial Fabric and Nonwoven Textiles

Today’s consumers demand high performance from textiles, regardless of whether the fabric is for apparel, home textiles, or outdoor applications. A purchasing decision is often based as much on the functional aspects of a fabric as on colour and texture. For this reason, antimicrobial fabric can offer added value to many different types of goods.

Bacteria, fungi and dust mites can wreak havoc and cause issues in many ways. They create odors in intimate and athletic wear, proliferate in medical environments, cause allergic reactions, and can be responsible for stains in upholstery and other household items. Microbial growth also attacks outdoor textiles such as awnings, tents, or lawn furniture and leads to discoloration and degradation.

Learn about microbes, dust mites and more via our antimicrobial blog.

What are the Benefits of Antimicrobial Fabric Treatment?

Antimicrobial textiles promise freshness, stain protection and an extended product life, even for heavy-duty outdoor applications. Formulated to provide excellent durability, fabrics treated with Ultra-Fresh or Silpure continue to offer performance after multiple cleanings or extended exposure to environmental stresses.

What is the difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial?  Read more.

How are Antimicrobial Additives for Textiles Applied?

Antimicrobial fabric treatments can be applied during normal textile finishing processes, meaning no special equipment or processing steps are required. When applying by coating, padding, exhaustion or foaming, the antimicrobial additive can typically be used in combination with other common auxiliaries such as softeners, moisture management systems, fluorocarbons or resins.

Antimicrobial treatments can be used in textile coatings by adding antimicrobial additives directly to the liquid prior to application.  Certain treatments can also be included during the extrusion process of synthetic fibers such as polyester, polyamide or polypropylene.

Ultra-Fresh and Silpure antimicrobial additives are applicable to a wide range of substrates, including cotton, viscose, polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyolefin, rayon, wool and their blends. By offering a broad selection of actives and formulations, you can be confident we will always have the right product for you, regardless of your end use. Our range of antibacterial and antifungal additives for textiles ensure great protection and performance.

How Are Antimicrobial Fabrics Tested to Make Sure They Work?

When looking at a newly manufactured fabric, antimicrobial additives can’t be seen, smelled or felt.  In fact, antimicrobial fabrics look exactly the same as untreated textiles.  So how are antimicrobial fabrics tested to make sure they work under the right conditions for bacterial and/or fungal growth?

Many test methods developed by organizations such as the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC); American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM); International Organization for Standardization (ISO); and Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) are available to evaluate antimicrobial performance.

Such standardized test methods are often developed for specific types of materials, end-uses or antimicrobial technologies; therefore choosing the correct test method is crucial.

Common test methods used to assess antibacterial fabric include the ISO 20743 (JIS L 1902) or the ISO 22196 (JIS Z 2801).

Anti-microbial textiles exposed to outdoor elements, where antifungal protection is key, should be tested using the AATCC Method 30, Part III or the ASTM G21.  Other methods, such as the MIL-STD-810G, Method 508.6 Annex B are also used to assess antifungal fabric when specified.

Contact our labs to learn more about the tests we routinely run for our customers.

Can you see Difference between a Antimicrobial Fabric versus an Untreated Fabric?

The photos below are an example of the benefits of antimicrobial fabrics. Under the right conditions, mold and mildew can flourish by using the fabric as a food source. Anti microbial fabrics provide antibacterial and antifungal protection, keeping textiles clean and safe from attack.

Both fabric samples were tested using the AATCC Method 30, Part III using Aspergillus niger as specified by the method.  The untreated sample supported heavy amounts of the black mold after 7 days of incubation.  The anti-microbial fabric is free of fungal growth, maintaining esthetic appeal and strength.

Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial fabric
Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial fabric
Untreated fabric
Untreated fabric










Want to see more comparison photos?  Visit our antimicrobial photo gallery.

Where is an Antimicrobial Fabric Used?

Anti microbial fabrics are used in a wide range of end-use applications. We have listed a few examples below.

  • Housewares: towels, bedding, upholstery, carpets, curtains, pillows
  • Commercial: window coverings, military fabrics, uniforms, tenting, carpets.
  • Apparel: caps, jackets, work wear, sportswear, fleeces, intimates
  • Building Products: architectural fabrics, awnings, canopies
  • Healthcare: scrubs, masks, drapery, window coverings, bedding, filters, lab coats

Which Manufacturers/Brands Use Ultra-Fresh or Silpure?

Below are just a few examples of the textile and apparel companies/brands advertising the benefits of Ultra-Fresh and Silpure:

Read our blog to learn more about antimicrobials for textiles or why antimicrobial socks are such a wonderful invention!

Learn more about our bluesign® partnership or visit bluesign®’s website directly.

Download our textiles PDF

Learn more about our other antimicrobial applications:

Why Choose Ultra-Fresh or Silpure to Treat your Fabric?

  • • Can be applied during normal textile finishing processes
  • • Can be co-applied with other auxiliaries
  • • Can be used with natural and synthetic fibres
  • • Antibacterial & antifungal additive options available
  • • EPA registered, BPR listed and Okeo-tex certified
  • • We are a bluesign® system partner

Contact Us to Learn More