Is Tencel anti-bacterial?

Microbes and bacteria are ever-present in our environment and not always welcome. They can cause illnesses and must be controlled to stop the spread of infections. The terms anti-microbial and anti-bacterial are often used interchangeably and refers to the ability of a product, ingredient, or technique to prevent bacteria from growing in it.

Tencel lyocell is a non-toxic fabric that offers natural anti-bacterial protection. This is because Tencel fabric is breathable, absorbent and moisture-wicking. These qualities keeps the wearer cool and dry, discouraging bacterial, mold and mildew growth.  

Let’s take a deep dive:

Benefits of Tencel’s anti-microbial qualities

Tencel fabric is considered anti-microbial, and has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria on the textile surface. This is especially helpful when you are wearing Tencel clothing for exercising or in the summer.

When your feet are encased in socks and closed shoes all day, it becomes a sweaty, humid haven for bacterial growth. Along with bamboo socks, Tencel socks have been shown to be highly antimicrobial and reduces the growth of common bacterias, Eschericia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. This is especially important when you’re diabetic as you’re prone to foot infections.

These Tencel/hemp socks are naturally anti-bacterial and keeps your feet dry and odor-free:

MERGE4 Tencel/Hemp Wood Grain Medium Crew Socks for Men and Women White Blue GreenCheck it out on Amazon

Why is Tencel anti-bacterial?

Tencel is highly absorbent due to its hydrophilic nano-fibrils. It also has a fine pore system that allows it to absorb moisture to its core and wick it to the opposite surface to evaporate.

This keeps the wearer cool and dry. It also keeps your Tencel clothing dry, discouraging bacterial growth and odor.

In fact, Tencel’s natural antibacterial properties make it ten times more resistant to bacterial growth than cotton and up to 2000 times less bacteria grow on Tencel fibers when compared to synthetic fibers.

If industrial-strength anti-microbial capabilities is required, for example in hospital settings, Tencel fabric is finished with a synthetic anti-microbial agent.

For the most part, unless specified, Tencel clothing are not treated with chemical anti-microbial agents.

What are anti-microbial fabrics?

Anti-microbial fabrics offer protection against bacteria, mold, mildew and other hazardous microbes.

Different chemicals and fabrics offer different levels of resistance against bacteria.

There are naturally anti-bacterial fabrics like Tencel and merino, and any fabric can be anti-microbial if it is treated with anti-microbial agents.

This Tencel/merino exercise top can be worn throughout the year:

Icebreaker Merino Women's Sphere Lightweight Short Sleeve Crew Neck Shirt, New Zealand Merino Wool, Gumtree/Snow/Stripe, X-Small

Check it out on Amazon

How does anti-microbial fabric work?

Anti-microbial fabrics work by attacking pathogens on a cellular level. Textiles have different levels of effectiveness. Some merely slow the spread of pathogens, while others are designed to kill spore cells on contact.

Clothing like Tencel and merino are naturally anti-bacterial due to their inate properties. However, these fabrics only slow down and discourage the growth of bacteria.

Clothing offer an ideal environment for microbes to grow. To produce clothing that kill bacteria, the fabric is treated with chemical anti-bacterial agents.

What are the negatives of chemically finished anti-bacterial fabric?

Fabrics marketed as anti-microbial must be non-toxic to the consumer and the environment. However, this is often not the case.

Anti-microbial fabrics can promote bacterial resistance and their toxic breakdown products are a threat to the environment and to our health.

While the principle of anti-microbial clothing is good, researchers need to develop more environmentally-friendly and non-toxic anti-bacterial techniques and chemicals.

To wrap up

Tencel is not only naturally anti-microbial but also soft, breathable, and hypo-allergenic. Tencel clothing are great choices for exercising as it keeps you odor-free without any harmful chemicals or toxins entering your body through toxic anti-bacterial finishes.

Sharon James
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3 thoughts on “Is Tencel anti-bacterial?”

  1. Pingback: Tencel lyocell clothing: The best eco-friendly fabric

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  3. Pingback: Tencel vs merino: Which is best for you?

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