A metal infused into a fabric? It sounds odd, but clothing has long garnered precious metals and has been a critical part of certain clothing. That royal English robe you saw in a museum once probably has silver threads layered throughout its tassels.
Ancient armor is still considered clothing, just with pounds of iron and steel armor, sometimes laden with silver and gold. But having metals like silver infused into fabric?
It’s not an uncommon practice; however many clothing brands claim there are potential health benefits to having silver embedded fabric. So, this blog explores these claimed health benefits and if there is any merit to these claims.
A Protective Shield?
In the journal Silver-Based Antimicrobials, published by MDPI, silver started getting attention from the medical community during the 1900s upon the discovery of antibiotics. Silver was seen as a possible antimicrobial agent, and so the private and public sectors got to work on creating useful medical products. Over 5,000 patents with silver as a key component were issued from 2007 – 2017! A silver-infused gel to reduce infection risks in dental procedures, a wound dressing embedded with silver, and bone implants are just a few patents created during this period of scientific discovery.
During this era, clothing brands saw an opportunity to create styles of clothing centered on silver and its antimicrobial properties. For instance, Lululemon has a Silverescent fabric designed to stop sweat from causing odor. Mack Weldon has silver boxer briefs, Organic Basics’ has a SilverTech line and Hygenie has an acne-fighting pillow case.
So, say you already have silver infused fabric or are thinking about buying products made with it. Should you throw it away or not buy that shirt you’ve been eyeing for some time? Of course not! Silver has its antimicrobial uses, even in fabrics, just be aware that there is still much more research to be done about silver’s long-term application inside of fabrics.
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