FOLDS was founded on the premise of building a more sustainable source for scrubwear but we didn’t stop there. We wanted to create a product that worked JUST as hard for the environment as it did for the humans who wore it. How did it go? Lab test results show FOLDS scrubs have a coronavirus reduction of 99.99%. We’ve proven that clothing can not only fight viruses, but that a single garment can be simultaneously antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral, a crucial progression for the safety and health of frontline workers.
The Origin Story for Microorganism-Fighting Fabrics
It was early during the pandemic when our founder, womenswear designer and engineer Nina Kharey, noticed a problem with the scrubs healthcare professionals were wearing. At the time, she had retooled her factory and was mass producing medical grade masks to help nurses with depleting supplies. She watched her own loved ones go to the front lines wearing scrubs that were poorly designed, made from cheap material that offered no protection from the diseases and infections they were combating. Nina immediately realized she had the potential and background to not only protect her loved ones but to make a massive impact for others in the field.
Nina took a deep dive into the cutting-edge world of textile technology. She learned about techwear and the different methods of making fabric that can be recycled, prolonging its life. Partnering with the right lab, Nina developed scrubs that are athletically functional, protective with antiviral means, and that have zero microfiber release, making them sterile. In addition to their protective attributes, FOLDS scrubs were intentionally designed to be recyclable at the end of their life and to release zero microplastics into the oceans!
Why Are Antibacterial Textiles Important?
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are invisible to the naked eye. They can be found inside and outside the human body, and are generally considered either dangerous or beneficial. Good bacteria are key players in the fermentation process, whereas dangerous bacteria can cause life-threatening infections and diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Textiles in their natural form can’t protect against bacteria. In fact, natural fibres, such as cotton and hemp, act as outstanding mediums for bacterial growth due to their large surface area and ability to retain moisture. Over time, this can lead to degeneration, unpleasant odors, and potential health risks, unless the textiles are treated with antibacterial agents.
Garments can be treated with various synthetic and bio-based antibacterial agents in order to protect them and their user from bacterial attacks. The problem is that many of these treatments become ineffective after the clothing goes through several wash cycles. Plus, antibacterial treatments won’t protect against viruses.
Antiviral Textiles and their Benefits
A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of either DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein coat. One of the main differences between viruses and bacteria is that viruses can’t replicate on their own. They must infect a human or animal cell and use that host cell to multiply.
When it comes to textiles, a virus can find its way onto a garment, but it can’t replicate or grow there because there’s no host cell present. You might be wondering why it matters if an article of clothing has antiviral properties if viruses can’t replicate on it? Because humans can pick up viruses from clothing, which then enter the body and cause a viral infection!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), viruses are deadlier for humans compared to bacteria—the diseases caused by viral infections are the second leading cause of human death. In an ideal world, viruses could be neutralized before making it into the body, where they can quickly reproduce and cause sickness and disease.
Antiviral textiles aim to serve as a first layer of protection against viruses. In the healthcare profession, personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for working in close contact with patient viruses.
How FOLDS Scrubs are Antibacterial
At FOLDS Wear, we use a type of fabric to create our scrubs called Meryl® Skinlife, which contains silver microparticles, ensuring no bacteria can grow in the textile, maintaining the natural balance of the skin and reducing unpleasant odors.
Meryl® Skinlife has a permanent effect on our scrubs—its effectiveness is tested after 100 washes at 40ºC, which means they don’t need frequent washing!
Meryl® Skinlife is active against the main bacteria’s groups Gram+ (S. Aureus) and Gran- (K. Pneumonia). Thanks to the presence of the exclusive antimicrobial agents in the polymeric matrix, there is no migration from the fabric to skin, avoiding induction of allergy.
How We Keep Our Scrubs Antiviral
Most antiviral textiles are treated with chemicals aimed at destroying SARS-CoV-2 particles (SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). As mentioned earlier, the problem is that these chemical treatments may wear off after several washes. Not to mention the fact that chemicals aren’t exactly the most environmentally friendly substances.
We’ve worked hard to ensure our scrubs are antiviral—without the use of chemicals. It’s our Meryl Skinlife Force® 2.0 yarn, which releases silver ions, which creates our fabric’s antiviral and antibacterial properties, even after 100 washes at 40 °C.
We use Meryl Skinlife Force® 2.0 yarns because of their potential to reduce the viability and effectiveness of microbes and viruses. Testing shows that the antiviral technology eliminates over 99% of Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria and Betacoronavirus 1 (ATCC® VR-1558™). Testing with the SARS-CoV-2 virus was conducted by researchers at the Doherty Institute. The test simulated the real-life interaction of small aerosol droplets contaminating clothing. A known concentrate of SARS-CoV-2 virus was contacted with the sample fabric for 30 minutes followed by the measurement of the remaining infectious SARS-CoV-2 viruses. The fabric sample treated with the advanced technology showed no infective viruses left after 30 mins. The results show a SARS-CoV-2 virus reduction of 99.99%!
In simpler terms, this means FOLDS scrubs stop the culturing of COVID-19 on the garment and prevent it from being inhaled via microfibre release. Once a virus makes it into the respiratory system, it can work its way into the rest of the body and make someone sick.
FOLDS Scrubs Protect Healthcare Workers
We can’t think of another group of people more exposed to dangerous bacteria and viruses than doctors, nurses, and other industry professionals. By helping prevent the Coronavirus from being spread on workwear, FOLDS scrubs protect healthcare workers.
Keeping our customers safe and comfortable at work is our top priority. Because our scrubs are antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial, this offers unparalleled peace of mind. You can focus on what matters most: doing your job to the best of your abilities. Plus, you’ll have freedom of movement in our 4-way stretch fabric that’s wrinkle resistant, self-cooling, and sweat-wicking. Win-win!