Over the past few months, you’ve likely heard the term “antimicrobial” thrown around in conversations about face masks and other personal protective gear. But what does "antimicrobial" mean as it relates to masks and do you need one for the best protection? Here, we’ll break down what exactly antimicrobial means, how antimicrobial masks are made, how they compare to cloth masks, and whether they are effective.
What Does Antimicrobial Mean?
Simply put, an antimicrobial is an agent that stops the growth of microorganisms or kills them entirely.
There has not been a time in recent history when antimicrobials have been more important to consumers. That’s because they work at a cellular level and ensure that the mask environment is not conducive to the growth of bacteria and other undesired microorganisms. People are using wide arsenals of antimicrobial products such as hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays and wipes, bleach, and various detergents to keep clean the environments where they work, play, and live. Masks can also be made using materials with antimicrobial properties — and the question of whether an antimicrobial mask is needed is a serious consideration to ensure the protections that are so vital to the health and safety of everyone.
Benefits of Antimicrobial Masks
Evaluating the effectiveness of antimicrobial masks versus masks without antimicrobials is the key to deciding if they are a necessity. Research suggests that antimicrobial masks help lessen or even stop the spread of viruses and other bacteria. Masks without antimicrobials don’t offer the same protection. This protection is especially significant for people who have compromised immune systems.
Another benefit of antimicrobial masks is that they are self-sanitizing. These masks are made from materials that help keep them clean. Antimicrobial masks are also designed to resist odors and as such, they stay fresher for the wearer.
How Antimicrobial Fabric Is Made
Antimicrobial fabric is created through chemical and physical processes. Manufacturers in Switzerland and Israel are in the early stages of producing antimicrobial fabric that is infused with elements like zinc and silver (silver is also antimicrobial by nature). Copper is also being used because of its natural filtration properties but also for its ability to specifically kill the COVID-19 virus. According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus died quickly after it was placed on a copper surface. Whether copper, zinc, or silver, all of the elements have been proven to effectively kill viruses like coronavirus.
Other antimicrobial fabrics are made by applying antimicrobial substances or agents to the surface of the textiles. These agents help to fight pathogens that might otherwise form on the fabric’s surface. They also extend the life of fabric. In another method, antimicrobial agents are infused into the fibers of the textile to create antimicrobial fabrics. Ultimately, antimicrobial fabrics are made from multiple fabric types such as polyester, vinyl, and various acrylics.
Boomer Naturals and Face Masks
Based on the need for protection during these times of a global pandemic, antimicrobial face masks are a more effective way to safeguard yourself and the people you care about. This is why we leverage Nano-Silver Technology in each and every one of our Nano-Silver Reusable Face Masks. In fact, independent laboratory tests of our masks performed at a FDA registered laboratory confirm >antimicrobial activity even after a 24-hour contact period. Ready to learn more? Try one today!