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Textile Innovation Leading to Virus- and Bacteria-Fighting Materials

Textile companies are digging deeper into innovation and R&D to create materials that help safeguard to public from disease and infection.

Material innovation company HeiQ has partnered with Girbau to use HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 in the laundry process to add antiviral and antimicrobial effects to clothes and textiles.

Girbau, a market leader in comprehensive laundry solutions for the industrial, commercial and vended sectors, is now offering HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03, an antiviral and antimicrobial textile technology that can be applied to industrial laundry services for its clients across the healthcare, hospitality and food manufacturing sectors.

Consorci Hospitalari de Vic (Barcelona) has already started treating their laundry using HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03. HeiQ and Gibrau also plan to offer solutions to public launderettes, bringing branded HeiQ Viroblock dispensers to consumers.

Swiss textile technology HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, and has been applied by more than 150 brands worldwide to over 1 billion face masks.

Made with 100 percent cosmetic-grade ingredients, HeiQ Viroblock combines two mechanisms of attack resulting in an over 99.99 percent destruction of various kinds of viruses and bacteria, according to tests performed per ISO 18184 and ISO 20743 standards.

Until now, HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 has been added to textiles through one of two methods. One is to add it to the textile and fix it on the fibers permanently during the manufacturing process of the fabric at the mill before a fabric is cut and sewn into finished goods, such as clothes, sheets and towels.

For products that did not come inherently with the treatment from the factory, one can spray on the diluted formulation onto finished goods and air dry. Both processes convert the textiles into an antiviral and antimicrobial surface.

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This is the first time the application of an industrial antiviral treatment has been achieved during the laundry process, adding extra protection to the garments when they are already in the market.

Under this collaboration, Girbau will initially focus on a B2B offering, with a particular focus on bringing enhanced antimicrobial and antiviral protection to garments and textiles used in the healthcare and hospitality sector.

“This collaboration with Girbau opens up a new method to add HeiQ Viroblock antiviral properties through a post-treatment to textile products,” HeiQ co-founder and group CEO Carlo Centonze said. “This makes our Swiss Technology Award-winning antimicrobial technology available for protecting more textiles and benefiting more people.”

In a separate development, Livinguard announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the hygiene-technology company’s patented self-disinfecting textile.

Livinguard’s new textile is effective against Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria to the level of 100,000 times in 10 minutes, among the highest levels of defense against disease-causing pathogens. In addition to killing 99.99 percent of bacteria, Livinguard’s technology continuously disinfects and is safe for humans and the environment, the company said.

In addition, EPA approval confirms that Livinguard’s self-disinfecting technology remains effective on textiles tested after 30 industrial washes, giving it broad application across many industries.

“This EPA certification is confirmation of Livinguard’s patented and break-through invention, creating a new self-disinfecting-textile category whereby the textile kills bacteria on contact, is washable and reusable,” Sanjeev Swamy, Livinguard’s founder and CEO, said. “Unlocking the limitless possibilities of permanent hygiene and proactively improving the health and safety of the public is at the heart of Livinguard’s mission. We can now have self-disinfecting airplane seats, hospital & hotel linens, sports apparel, medical scrubs, footwear, uniforms and carpeting. Essentially, any business or organization that uses textiles can effectively utilize our self-disinfecting technology.”

Livinguard has already incorporated newer antimicrobial technology into a line of face masks that can be worn up to 210 times, or around six months, and a line of gloves that can be worn up to 30 times with no compromise on safety or efficacy. Worn together, the two provide peace of mind for those seeking protection against airborne viruses and those transmitted on surfaces.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have studied the effectiveness of Livinguard’s next-generation self-disinfecting textile against the virus. Freie University (Berlin) laboratory studies concluded that Livinguard’s textile efficiently inactivated SARS-CoV-2. In addition, studies conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona, Tucson’s Water & Energy Sustainable Technology center determined the material’s efficacy against Human Coronavirus 229E.

Livinguard is partnering with governments, retailers, transit companies, food packaging businesses and hospitals around the world to leverage products that can utilize its turn-key self-disinfecting technology.

Based in Zug, Switzerland, Livinguard licenses its patented technologies to companies from various industries to improve the health and well-being of consumers. Livinguard AG operates in Switzerland, Germany, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, India and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Laniere Health & Wellness, a division of Chargeurs, has been named the International Luxury Hotel Association’s official antimicrobial fabric partner. Products made with Lainiere Performance Silver include face masks and gloves for guests and staff, laundry and valet bags, and food and beverage uniform staples such as chef’s coats, aprons, pants and toques.

“At Chargeurs, we’re committed to driving innovation in antimicrobial textiles and fabrics and we couldn’t be prouder to partner with ILHA as we bring our Lainiere Performance Silver solutions to the hospitality industry,” said Thomas Becker, Chargeurs’ senior director of innovation and design. “With both hotel guests and staffs focused on health and safety, fabrics that offer antimicrobial benefits are a key tool that hoteliers can use to improve on-site hygiene and provide the peace of mind travelers are looking for.”