Difference Between Antimicrobial and Antibacterial

DECEMBER 20TH, 2018
Difference Between Antimicrobial and Antibacterial

The terms “antimicrobial” and “antibacterial” are often used interchangeably, however, they do have rather different meanings!

Would you say a car and an SUV are the same thing?

Well, kinda…but not really.

If you look at the pair one way, both of them are motorized vehicles that are used to travel, but at the same time, they do not carry the exact same meaning.  A car is a broad term for vehicles, whereas a SUV is a specific type of car.

This same line of thinking can be applied in order to understand the difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial.

Antimicrobial is the broad term while antibacterial is a specific type of antimicrobial.

Before we dive deeper, if you want a little refresher on the definition of a microbe – read our previous blog titled: An Introduction to Microorganisms.

 

So, What’s the Difference Between Antibacterial and Antimicrobial?

The primary difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial treatments is the types of microorganisms they inhibit.

Antibacterial

An antibacterial treatment is an active agent that, when included in the manufacturing process of a product or material, works to inhibit the growth and even entirely prevent bacteria from occurring within the product/material throughout its entire lifespan.

Definition of antibacterial

 

Antimicrobial

Antibacterial treatments only actively prevent the growth of bacteria within products.  Antimicrobial treatments may further protect products by safeguarding against fungi, viruses, algae and certain “micro-animals” such as house dust mites.

An antimicrobial treatment is an active agent that, when included in the manufacturing process of a product or material, works to inhibit the growth and even entirely eliminate microorganisms from occurring within the product/material throughout its entire lifespan.

“Anti” stands for “against,” while “microbe” refers to any microorganism (microscopic organism). In a broad description of common microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses and micro-animals (such as house dust mites) are included.

Definition of antimicrobial

 

Therefore, antimicrobial treatments may provide an additional line of defense against microorganisms beyond what antibacterial treatments can offer.

While antibacterial treatments will prevent bacterial growth, they do not protect against other odour-causing and damaging microbes to the extent that antimicrobials can.

Even though they mean different things, antimicrobial and antibacterial are still used somewhat interchangeably.  However, antimicrobials continue to offer more protection.  Therefore, your products and materials are further safeguarded from odor and stain-causing mold, mildew, algae and/or dust mites.

At Ultra-Fresh, our antimicrobial technology has been specifically created to help keep products and fabrics cleaner and fresher longer.  Items are protected against odors and material breakdown.  This ultimately leads to longer product life.

Our anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-algal and anti-dust mite treatments are applied to products across a variety of industries, from textiles to polymers.

 

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Who We Are:

Thomson Research Associates (TRA) is a global leader in the field of antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antialgal, and anti-dust mite treatments (see regulatory information), providing antimicrobial protection to finished products for over 60 years.

We are committed to helping clients deliver fresh, durable, and innovative products by providing antimicrobial additives and treatments for textiles, plastics, foams, coatings, and more.

Read more about us here or contact us for more information.