Given the amount of time we spend indoors on a daily basis, we need healthy, comfortable and inspiring indoor spaces that contribute to our productivity and well-being. Conscious interior design is now more important than ever and window blinds made from fabrics with antimicrobials can help create healthier interiors. Here is all you need to know about antimicrobial fabrics.
Depending on the moisture, nutrients and temperature levels of their surroundings, commonly found bacteria and fungi are able to quickly multiple. A single bacteria cell, under ideal conditions, can multiply to over a million in the span of just 8 hours. Negative effects can be controlled by the durable antimicrobial finishing of the fabric.
What is antimicrobial and how does it work?
Let’s start by explaining the term antimicrobial. One speaks of ‘microbial’ when something relates to or is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Antimicrobial is an agent that seals off the surface of the fabric and stops microorganisms from penetrating it which effectively slows down their growth within the internal structure of the fabric at the smallest of scales. It’s worth underlining here that we take for granted that antimicrobial agents would kill all dangerous microbes, however, its main purpose is to stop them from penetrating and multiplying inside the fabric.
Most of the antimicrobial agents used in commercial fabrics are biocides. These biocides contain particles of silver, utilising their bio-resistant properties. Fabric treated with a biocide is protected from undesirable bacterial and fungal infection. The active agent protects the user from microorganisms for aesthetic, hygiene, or medical reasons, and protects the fabric from biodeterioration caused by mould, mildew, and fungi.
Microorganism growth in fabric causes a range of undesirable effects, not only on the fabric itself but also on the user. Some effects include the generation of unpleasant odour, fabric structural damage that reduces its mechanical strength, stains and discolouration and an increased likelihood of contamination.
Graph: A – fabric treated with an antimicrobial biocide. B – non-antimicrobial fabric.
Less obvious benefit of antimicrobial fabrics
Most people associate antimicrobial properties with health and creating microbe-free environments. Now, that’s just one side of the coin as there’s another aspect that is being often overlooked. As mentioned before antimicrobial coating protects the fabric from bio-degradation and structural damage and this can significantly extend the lifespan of a window blind. Fabric that is free from ingrowing colonies of microbes is much less prone to rippling, discolouration, fraying, etc. – the list of possible defects caused by bacteria and fungi is very extensive. Most window shading producers protect end-users by offering products with a quality guarantee, however, such promise, in most of cases, covers issues such as incorrectly manufactured blinds or malfunction of its mechanical components. Mouldy or discoloured fabric will most certainly be considered a maintenance issue. So, unless you’re ready to hassle your warranty claim through, choosing window blinds with antimicrobial fabrics will help you avoid all of that, maintaining both your physical and mental health.
More is better
If you decided you want antimicrobial blinds for your space, don’t stop there. You can enhance the antimicrobial properties of your blinds even further. The operating chain is a part of the blind that we get in physical contact with the most. Imagine the number of microbes thriving on its surface. There is a range of antimicrobial copper-coated operating chains available.
Copper is naturally accruing antimicrobial, its ions obstruct bacteria’s metabolism, so it cannot “breathe”, “eat”, or “create energy”. Unlike silver ions, copper kills bacteria but is not as lethal for other types of microbes such as mould or fungi. However, when it comes to metal operating chains the danger of mould or fungi growing on its surface is minimal as they’re unable to penetrate the structure of metals.
Combine antimicrobial fabrics with antimicrobial operating chains and render your blinds almost 100% microbe-resistant. Alternatively, you can opt-out from using operating chains and look for motorisation options to control your blinds with a smartphone or your voice.
Discover our top 3 antimicrobial fabrics
Resistant to bacteria and aggressive cleaning methods without fading colour make Ormond range a perfect choice to create healthy spaces. Its antimicrobial coating helps to prevent the growth of microbes. Additionally, Ormond Clay is also free of PVC which means that it’s safe in direct contact with skin.
A high-performance polyester screen fabric with a 2% or 5% openness factor that combines the best of both worlds in terms of visual and thermal comfort by reflecting the heat and filtering natural light. The range includes 7 toned colour options, providing a high-end appearance for both commercial and residential spaces.
Ideal for commercial and domestic environments, Quad FR Screen Fabric is designed to give you total solar control. You can choose from 4 openness factors, meaning that you can tailor the openness factor across a building to maintain an even level of natural light whilst keeping a consistent look and feel.