Textiles Intelligence says textile and apparel manufacturers turn to plant-based anti-odour materials
Odour control technologies have emerged as a key solution for preventing the development of unpleasant smells and maintaining freshness in textiles and clothing. However, there are growing concerns about the adverse effects of odour control technologies on the environment and human health and these are posing a threat to the future prospects of the anti-odour textiles and clothing market, according to "Odour control technologies: managing bacteria in textiles and clothing"— a 38-page report from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Odour control technologies were originally developed for use in the manufacture of sportswear and active apparel. However, because of their effectiveness in managing the presence of microorganisms in textiles and clothing, they have gained prominence in several other applications—notably home textiles, medical textiles, technical textiles and workwear.
The prominence of odour control technologies can also be attributed to growing consumer awareness of the value of personal care and healthy lifestyles. This is especially true given the benefits which odour control technologies offer, such as enhanced hygiene, prolonged freshness, and improved wearer comfort.
But in order to capitalise on the popularity of odour control technologies, manufacturers must invest in the development of new products which deliver high levels of performance and durability and, at the same time, address concerns raised by lobby groups about the detrimental effects of existing odour control technologies on the environment and on human health—especially those technologies which employ antimicrobial agents and nanomaterials. This is partly because fabrics treated with antimicrobial agents have been found to biodegrade more slowly than untreated fabrics. It is also because nanoparticles which possess anti-odour properties, such as nanosilver, have been found to wash off treated products during laundering. The nanoparticles released in this way may then find their way into waterways where they may damage the environment and cause harm to aquatic life.
In response to these concerns, some manufacturers are exploring plant-based materials as alternatives. Peppermint oil, for example, has been shown to be effective against odour-causing bacteria and strains of bacteria which can develop tolerance to antibiotics. Textile and apparel manufacturers who can accelerate efforts to develop odour control technologies made using plant-based materials look set to make significant gains in the years ahead.
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