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Sustainably Reducing Odor and Enhancing Garments with Antimicrobial Treatments

Dynamic trading company World Textile Sourcing (WTS) has been sourcing beautiful premium fabrics from Peru for decades, and now it has teamed up with Fuze™ Biotech to enhance their functionality, longevity and sustainability.

Taking technology developed for the medical field to inhibit growth of certain bacteria and pathogens, Fuze™ has applied this permanent, chemical-free treatment to the fashion industry—literally—to inhibit odor-causing bacteria and mold. This goes beyond the expected sweaty sport or performance garments, and works for anything from fashionable leisurewear and workwear to bedding and footwear.

Fuze™ also inhibits chemicals in detergents that are destructive to susceptible fibers during the washing process. The result? Fewer microfibers eroding into the ecosystem and longer-lasting garments.

“We took that technology and adapted it from the medical world into a need for the textile world,” said Andrew Peterson, chief technical officer, Fuze™ Biotech. “And we do this on a chemical-free and highly sustainable basis.”

Of course, no matter how efficient a textile treatment is, it’s worthless if it just washes out after a few launderings. This is where Fuze™ has a competitive advantage.

“Most of the anti-bacterials on the market use toxic ion activity to kill bacteria. And the standard procedure is to use a lot of chemicals to bind the product to the fabric and keep it there after numerous washings,” says Raul Perales, technical director, WTS. That comes at the cost of extra chemicals to overcompensate for those that wash out, all which affects the hand feel and the color of a garment.

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The permanent-adhering Fuze™, in contrast, uses “thousands of times less product to achieve a 99.9 percent efficiency in killing bacteria, all while maintaining performance even after 100 washes,” said Perales. “So, it’s superior to the lifecycle of a garment.”

Fuze™ achieves such fabric bonding with a unique system boasting 12 patents, one of which utilizes pure gold. It’s also applied with just a light misting process, so there is no water waste stream during application.

Less odor also means less laundering at a consumer’s home, which translates to less water waste throughout the garment’s lifecycle.

“It’s the process where we really feel we’re the most sustainable option out there in an odor control world and what people are looking for,” Peterson said. “And to do that all chemical free is really what we’re hanging our hat on.”

Pre-Covid, the general public didn’t know, or necessarily care to know, how a brand was treating its garments with anti-microbials or chemicals. But now such initiatives are front and center, from disinfectant signs in the hospitality industry to hang tags for fashion garments.

Such technical protectants and enhancements have emerged as major points of differentiation among brands, and are increasingly demanded and expected from end consumers.

“All our customers are always saying, ‘But what else?’” Perales said. “What else can we provide to these beautiful garments? So in that way we are always looking to add some performance or technical [attributes] to our fabrications.”

Click the image above to watch the fireside chat.