The word antimicrobial states it characteristics by itself and which means active against microbes. So, we can say that the products which are antimicrobial, have the ability to fight against microbes. Although the ability of this protection may be vary from product to product. But on the whole, the ultimate purpose of this feature is to protect consumers from germs. Moreover, there are so many daily use items like socks, workwear suits, uniforms, towels and other footwear products. Those have the tendency to grab certain odor during and after use. Since these types of products are normally made by synthetic materials so that odor or microbes presence is obvious. The washing is not an ultimate solution to get rid from odor and germs issues. An antimicrobial treatment is the only way out for not only germs issues but also works for odor related issues.
There are so many products which are right now have the characteristics of antimicrobials. But today, we are going to discuss its contribution in our textiles and apparels industry. The antimicrobial fabrics market is no doubt is growing worldwide. The main reason behind this growth is an increasing rate of new diseases and infections. So, this is why, the precautionary measurement awareness about health and safety of the general public is increasing. The most of the people prefer to adopt preventive approach instead of suffering from any illness.
Why Antimicrobial Fabrics:
The regular textile fibers don’t have any inherent feature to protect against microbes. On the other hand, it provides the room for growth of microbes due to sweating. Especially in warm or humid weather, the growth rate of microbes gets double. Keeping in view this thing, an antimicrobial fabrics finish is introduced to protect the wearer from germs. There are so many famous brands which are already offering such type of finish garments to their end users. Since the hygiene conscious approach in end users is increasing and now on top priority. This is why, consumers are really conscious about their wearing which is directly touching their body all the day. As per the customers, the apparels which are direct interaction with your body normally considers as second skin. So, it should prevent or protect us from microbes instead of giving them room to grow.
The Potential of the antimicrobial fabrics and garments is really hot and trending now days. Although the antimicrobial products concept is old in healthcare industry and we can see so many products with this technology. But with the passage of time, its implications or scope is getting broader day by day. Now, we are using this into our fashion and textile industry, military and other consumer industry as well. This is why, the experts are predicting that antimicrobial fabrics and textile market will be US$ 1,076.1m till year 2026. The estimated growth rate of antimicrobial products is about 7.5% per year. If we review the growth trend from regional market (Europe, North & Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia) point of view. Then Asian market is on number one from growth point of view. After that European market is standing on number two and North America comes on number three.
The main reason of high growth rate in Asian market is an improvement in lifestyle, increasing income and especially tremendous investment in healthcare sector. And as the expert’s prediction, this list numbers will remain same for upcoming years. Because there are so many economic factors which are directly support this trend. And there is no doubt in this thing that medical industry is a key industry behind this positive growth rate. Other than the medical industry, the fashion or apparel sector is also influenced with this technology. This is why, the most of the fashion apparel brands and especially sportswear brands are using this technology. And now you can see so many products both outer and inner wears which have antimicrobial features.
For last few years, due to high potential growth rate, the Asian market is standing number one in antimicrobial textile market. Since the potential of the market is still too high so it is attracting the big giants of this industry to invest aggressively here. If we analyze the competition level of antimicrobial fabric industry then we observe a severe competition between the leading companies. Some of the leading companies include: Sciessent LLC, Sanitized AG, Trevira GmbH, Microban Int’l, Lonza Group, The Dow Chemicals, Biocote Ltd, Herculite Products etc. And in order to dominate into the industry, we observe several mergers and alliances between the big companies. The reason behind these mergers or alliances is just to offer unique and vast product line to the maximum market segments.
And if we closely review the target potential market of these big companies then we further conclude it few countries. These are the countries where companies are putting extensive efforts and finance to get maximum market share. And these countries include China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Brazil. This is not the end as the demand growth rate in Europe and Latin America is also very encouraging. So, we can’t ignore these markets too for more future business opportunities and shares.
Although the key features of antimicrobial fabrics are really tremendous from all aspects. And there is no doubt this thing too that most of textile companies are extensively using it into their product line. But the traditional treatment of this technology is not as environmental friendly as it should be. So, keeping in view the current scenario, the experts are striving their best to come up with some perfect solution. The solution, which is not only, covers the germs problem but the treatment is also sustainable and eco-friendly.
The Canadian based firm “Flispec” introduced two sustainable alternatives for antimicrobial treatment. The first one is “Rayon”, it takes its main ingredient from oyster shells. And this ingredient offers antimicrobial feature (moisture absorption, soft hand-feel) to the wearer. So, such kind of material are normally suitable for sportswear or footwear (socks). The second alternative is “RecoveryFil”, it uses zinc oxide as main ingredient. This ingredient combines with Tencel which gives the wearer to ultimate protection from UV rays. So, you are taking double benefits from your clothes. On one side it is protecting you from microbes and on the other way, it also keeps you safe from Ultraviolet rays.
Although there are so many alternatives that are now exists into the market to make any fabric or product antimicrobial. But we can’t sure about the method sustainability through which it becomes antimicrobial fabrics or garments. That’s why; the researchers and scientists are focusing on natural ways through which the fabric gets sustainable and antimicrobial features. And for this, plants materials are consider as best antimicrobial agents.
So, the research is going on these lines that how they could take maximum benefit from bioactive textile. And how they could utilize its maximum benefits for the protection of wearer from microbes which causes diseases. Moreover, these natural agents are non-toxic as well as don’t spread any allergy issues. Although there are some other natural antiseptic agents are already available yet there is still need to dig out more. That how we could utilize or take more and more benefits from these natural available antibacterial agents in textile industry.