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Antimicrobials: Sustainable protection for a good night’s rest

Did you know that your body sheds millions of skin cells while you are sleeping? This is the reason why our bed linen should be washed on a regular basis, at least once every two weeks. If you don’t wash your sheets regularly, your own bed can cause serious infections to your skin and eyes. And what about your mattress? It doesn’t fit in a washing machine, that’s for sure. The answer is hidden inside the mattress: Antimicrobials.

What are Antimicrobials?

Antimicrobials, together with pesticides, fall into the category biocides. Biocides were originally developed to protect plants from the damage caused by biological pests, for example to control plant diseases like fungi or in case of insect infestation in cotton plants. Over time, producers of biocides extended the use to other industrial applications, in order to protect products and extend shelf life.

Nowadays, biocides also help prevent and reduce antimicrobial health risks such as mould, bacteria and dust mites. Take bacteria: Some are good, and we even need them to stay healthy. But some are harmful to our health and can cause allergies, infections and malodor. They are adaptable, resourceful and hard to avoid. The same goes for dust mites. It only takes 25 days for an entire dust mite population to reproduce itself under the right conditions. Those conditions are characterized by heat, humidity and nutrients.

You can imagine what an important function these antimicrobials have in places where hygiene has a very high priority. Think of the treatment of bedding in hotels, hospitals and long-term senior residential and care facilities.

Biocide treatment in bedding & textile

Bedding can be treated to prevent these places from becoming infested. The antimicrobials are incorporated into the polyurethane structure of the mattress ticking during the production process. Mattress ticking is a type of cotton or linen textile that is tightly woven for durability and to prevent down feathers from poking through the fabric. This biocide treatment ensures permanent antimicrobial properties.

Textile and laundry are treated with the silane quaternary ammonium technology. When applied, they form covalent or ionic associations which lock and bond the active molecule to the surface. During drying the active ingredient changes from a monomer to a polymer, bonding to the surface. This means they are non-leaching and thereby safe for people, pets and plants as they don’t migrate into the environment.

A green, clean and cost-effective solution

So what about harmful chemicals in these biocides? The standard mechanism by which these antimicrobials work is based on leaching technology, meaning the treated materials have to release chemicals to kill or neutralize the bacteria. Although this technology is well known, more and more concerns have been raised regarding the toxicity of these chemicals and the fact that they may increase the antimicrobial resistance of the bacteria.

To overcome this problem, Caldic has been investing in a green and sustainable technology. Our products are bio-based, containing no heavy metals or harmful carcinogens. They are made from coconuts and do not cause bio-accumulation in the environment and waste water systems. And because these natural biocides are durable past many industrial washes, they offer long-term mechanical protection and thereby extend the lifetime of textile products leading to cost-reductions. But most importantly, they are providing you with a safe sleeping environment.

The Caldic antimicrobials give our customers innovative, safe alternatives consistent with their own sustainability aspirations. Together we work towards a greener and cleaner biocides industry.