Antimicrobial Plastic & Polymers

Industrial and consumer polymers can be susceptible to microbial attack, causing undesirable effects such as staining, odours, and physical degradation.

Bacteria and fungi feed on most plastic and polymer additives – often leading to a potential loss of product integrity. This is particularly true for outdoor applications, where constant environmental stresses dramatically reduce the life of an untreated article.  Antimicrobial plastic, polymers and composites provide excellent benefits.

Antimicrobial Plastic and Polymer Benefits

Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial additives offer valuable protection for polymers. They are incorporated into a wide variety of plastics & polymeric materials to prolong their life, maintain their aesthetic appeal, or reduce surface bioburden. Our antimicrobial treatments are applicable to all types of polymer manufacturing including injection or rotational moulding, extrusion, blown film, calendaring, or coatings.

Simple Application

Ultra-Fresh antimicrobials for plastic can be applied by direct addition or as a masterbatch concentrate during the manufacturing process. Ultra-Fresh masterbatches can be supplied in carriers suitable for most polymers including PVC, PE, HDPE, PP, polyamide, polyester, ABS, polycarbonate, and styrenics. We can even apply Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial treatments to elastomeric polymers and rubbers such as TPEs and TPVs.

We cater to transparent grades – particularly ABS and polycarbonate – and can have Ultra-Fresh antibacterial plastic masterbatches designed for these applications. Several Ultra-Fresh treatments are FDA and EPA food contact approved and included in the European EFSA guidelines.  Furthermore, Ultra-Fresh silver antibacterial products are suitable for high temperature processing applications.

Whatever your end-use, Ultra-Fresh has an option that provides excellent protection for all of your performance needs.

How is Efficacy of Antimicrobial Plastic Measured?

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 antifungal polymers include the ASTM G21 and AATCC Method 30, whereas antibacterial plastics are often tested using the ISO 22196 or the JIS Z 2801.  Polymer materials destined for marine or outdoor applications are often also assessed for susceptibility to pink staining using the ASTM E1428.  Contact our labs to learn more about the tests we routinely run for our customers.

The photos below are an example of the benefit of adding antimicrobial additives to polymers. Under the right conditions, mold and mildew can flourish by using the polymer as a food source. Antimicrobials make polymers resistant to microbial growth.

Both vinyl samples were tested using the ASTM G21.

Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial vinyl
Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial vinyl
Untreated vinyl
Untreated vinyl









End Uses of Antimicrobial Products

Ultra-Fresh is used in an extensive array of antimicrobial plastic and polymer applications. We have listed a few examples below.

  • Housewares: Cutting boards, wallcoverings, appliances, toilet seats, flooring, mattresses
  • Commercial: PVC blinds, car interiors, packaging, signs, electronics, seating
  • Fitness: yoga mats, footwear, duffle bags, sports equipment
  • Building Products: flooring, vinyl siding, windows, insulation, piping, roofing membranes
  • Healthcare: business supplies, medical devices, seating, countertops, storage

For more information on which Ultra-Fresh products are suitable for your antimicrobial plastic and polymer applications, please contact us!

Download Our PDF

Read our latest blog article about antimicrobial masterbatches.

Why Use Ultra-Fresh?

  • • Applied by direct addition or masterbatch concentrate
  • • Antimicrobial masterbatches offered in a variety of resins
  • • Products available for high temperature applications
  • • We offer both antibacterial and antifungal treatments
  • • Food contact options also available
  • • Our additives are EPA (USA) registered & BPR (EU) listed