The garment industry relies a great deal on the
textile industry for innovation and fresh ideas in regard to fabrics.
Speaking of “fresh" ideas, let’s learn about how silver textiles can
help keep your clothing fresh with reduced odors.
Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and
atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it
possesses the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and
reflectivity of any metal. The metal occurs naturally in its pure, free
form (native silver), as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in
minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced
as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining. Silver
has long been valued as a precious metal and is very frequently used in
the jewelry market. This metal can also be utilized in apparel and
‘Antimicrobial’ is simply the term used to describe
something that has the ability to resist the growth of microbes. While
the term ‘antibacterial’ refers only to bacteria, ‘antimicrobial’ refers
to a wider range of organisms including bacteria, molds, fungi and
Scientists have discovered that silver
interrupts the bacteria cell’s ability to form the chemical
bonds essential to its survival. These bonds produce the cell’s
physical structure so when bacteria meets silver it literally falls
apart. In 1893, the antibacterial effectiveness of various metals were
noted and this property was named the oligodynamic effect. It was later
found that out of all the metals with antimicrobial properties, silver
has the most effective antibacterial action and the least toxicity to
animal cells (Guggenbichler et al., 1999).
Silver fabric is helpful for reducing antibacterial
effects on clothing and fashion accessories. When the fabric is
produced properly, the silver ions on the surface of a material treated
with additives bind with microbes that come into contact with the
surface and irreparably damage them, disrupting their normal cell
function which stops them from reproducing and finally results in the
death of the cell. Terminating the bacteria cell is beneficial.
Unlike some other metals with antimicrobial
properties, it is believed that it is not toxic to humans (Apparel
Search is NOT owned by scientists and we are NOT certain that silver is
completely safe. Please do your own research regarding safety
Silver nanoparticles have been used to impart
antimicrobial activity to cotton fibers. Cotton samples were immersed
in silver nanoparticle solutions and then subjected to a curing process
to allow the nanoparticles to adhere to the cotton (El-Rafie et al.,
2010). A chemical binder was then applied to the fabric to help
maintain nanoparticle-cotton binding. Cotton samples prepared in this
manner were able to reduce S. aureus and E. coli cell counts by 97% and
91% respectively. Even after subjecting the fabric to 20 laundry
cycles, the cotton samples were still able to reduce S. aureus and E.
coli cell counts by 94% and 85% respectively. Cotton prepared in
this manner could be used by individuals working in the medical field or
those who often work with microbes to prevent the spread of infectious
bacteria (El-Rafie et al., 2010). Read more at
Silver is an Antimicrobial Agent.
Learn more about
You may also want to learn about the following
companies in the field of silver fabric technology.
SILVADUR from DOW: A Global Technology Leader. SILVADUR
Intelligent Freshness was invented at Dow, a global leader in science
and microbial control technology. SILVADUR’s polymer containing
silver technology secures silver molecules to denim surfaces. When
odor-causing bacteria come in contact with your jeans, SILVADUR releases
silver ions which neutralize the bacteria on contact. SILVADUR
works continuously and invisibly and won’t affect the fit, feel, finish,
or appearance of your denim fabrics. SILVADUR just makes sure they stay
fresh and odor-free. When applied to fabric surfaces, SILVADUR
antimicrobial technology forms an extensive polymeric network on fiber
surfaces… it becomes the holding pen for the needed silver ions. Through
scientific engineering, SILVADUR technology regulates the release rate
of silver ions and allows for activation only in the presence of
unwanted bacteria thus minimizing the buildup of undesirable bacteria.
With less buildup of bacteria on fabric surfaces, textile products
experience the long lasting antimicrobial benefits of reduced
deterioration and the elimination of undesirable odors.
Silver Crystal Technology (Agiene): Agiene® Micro Silver Crystal
technology is an advanced silver antimicrobial treatment for textiles.
It keeps garments, footwear and home textiles cleaner, fresher and free
of unpleasant odors.
Silpure Silver Antimicrobial Fabric Treatment: Silpure uses the
power of silver to bring long-lasting antibacterial properties to your
textiles. This unique patented antimicrobial product contains ultra-fine
silver crystals that release silver ions at a controlled rate only when
the conditions for bacterial growth exist. Through careful control of
the size and shape of the particles during production, Silpure avoids
the fabric discoloration that can occur with other silver antimicrobial
products. Garments treated with Silpure, especially intimates and
sportswear, provide lasting cleanliness and freshness. Silpure can also
be used to protect domestic textiles such as towels, bedding, upholstery
and more from the undesirable effects of microbial growth.
HHL Technology PureTex
Additional reading that may be worth a look:
Determination of silver nanoparticle release from antibacterial fabrics
into artificial sweat (US National Library of Medicine National
Institutes of Health)
Influence of Nanofinishes on the Antimicrobial Properties of Fabrics
Learn more about the
textile industry here on Apparel Search.