Most of us don’t bother thinking about the healthcare fabric we’re using or wearing. But when you boil it all down, the fact is that healthcare...
Antimicrobial Fabrics in the Medical Textiles Industry
Antimicrobial Fabrics are treated or made with chemicals which inhibit the growth of bacterial microbes on the fabric.
Did you know that sportswear, gauze, bed linen, mattresses, and even curtains can be made into antimicrobial fabrics? In fact, there are a variety of uses for antimicrobial fabrics, especially in medical bedding. You may not notice it but when you go to the hospital, your doctor’s office, or a clinic, you’re pretty much surrounded by antimicrobial fabrics.
The use of antimicrobial fabrics in the medical industry is quite amazing if you really think about it; from the clothes and equipment that doctors and surgeons use, to the bed you sleep on, antimicrobial medical fabrics are an integral part of patient care.
But before we continue, let’s define what antimicrobial fabrics are: simply put, an antimicrobial fabric is a textile that has been engineered to help inhibit or destroy the growth of microbes on the fabric surface. Examples of medical textile products that utilize antimicrobial fabrics include:
- Medical curtains
- Bed sheets and pillow coverings
- Mattress covers and linens
- Hospital gowns and gloves
- Gauze and other bandages used to help patients heal
So how do antimicrobial textiles work? Fabrics are engineered with antimicrobial chemicals which inhibit the growth of bacterial microbes on the fabric. The fabrics are often used in hospital beds and hospital curtains. Antimicrobial chemicals used to inhibit the growth of microbes include but are not limited to:
- Quaternary Ammonium: this chemical primarily targets the microbial membrane.
- Triclosan: this chemical has a variety of uses and can be found not only in antimicrobial medical textiles but in cosmetics and even toothpaste. The chemical is also good at protecting against mites.
An example of a medical textile and how it’s used is Herculite Inc.’s Sure-Chek™ line of medical fabric products. Sure-Chek fabrics are engineered to control release a specially formulated antimicrobial system to the surface of the fabric. This helps to ensure that the antimicrobial qualities of the fabric lasts, even with washing. In fact, Herculite’s Sure-Chek brand medical fabrics are the original healthcare fabrics which were patented for use as protective covering fabrics; today they are the standard in the industry.
The fabrics were developed with the help of healthcare professionals resulting in fabrics that are comfortable, safe, and effective for use in healthcare facilities, jails, camps, and dormitories. Sure-Chek fabrics are a thermoplastic fabric composite and are strong, durable, antimicrobial, antistatic, flame resistant, stain, odor, fluid resistant, and resistant to popular disinfectants when used as directed.
Sure-Chek fabrics can be used for hospital beds, curtains, and sheets as well as other applications in the medical industry. The fabrics are also designed to be flame and odor resistant. When you think about it, that’s kind of awesome! Technology and innovative solutions for our medical needs have come a long way…Antimicrobial medical fabrics are indeed an integral part of the healthcare industry. In fact, these fabrics are part of our lives in more ways than we probably know…Our sports clothes – shirts, shorts, gloves, and even towels – are antimicrobial. For more information about Sure-Chek fabrics visit www.herculite.com.