How often is it that you actually wash all of your bed sheets? How about when it comes to your gym clothes? What about those socks that you wear each and every week? Now what about your underwear? Now, how about having the fabric that all of those were made out of being infused with something that is naturally-occurring and would make them much less prone to becoming bacteria-ridden after they have been used all day?
There have been brands who have been using silver thread mixed in with other fabrics for quite some time now, all them basing using silver for its antimicrobial properties. So, if this is a real thing, why is it that using silver thread in everyday products has not become the gold standard? For all purposes, silver thread seems to be the new backbone for creating a sustainable fabric that will also be able to promote cleanliness, but what does it mean for how these silver infused products are going to be manufactured? And how is wearing a pair of socks that has silver threading in it actually benefit you, if at all?
While these are all great questions, before you can really answer them, you must first know why somebody would even want to add any type of silver thread into their fabrics.
The Benefits of Silver Fabric
When it comes to silver, it is a chemical element that is represented by the symbol AG and the atomic number 47. While silver is a white, soft, lustrous transition metal, it also happens to possess the absolute highest electrical conductivity, reflectivity, and thermal conductivity of any other metal out there. Silver is a naturally occurring metal in its free, pure form as an alloy, along with gold and several other metals, as well as in certain minerals, some of which include chloragyrite and argentite. What is not as well known about silver, is that fact that it is also produced as a byproduct of gold, copper, zinc, and lead refining. Throughout time, silver has been considered to be a precious metal, one of which that is regularly used when it comes to the jewelry market. Silver has also seen an increase in being used for creating footwear and apparel.
When it comes being ‘antimicrobial’, all this means is that silver has the ability to resist the collection and growth of different types of microbes. As for being ‘antibacterial’, this is referring to only bacteria, where ‘antimicrobial’ is going to refer to a much wider range of different organisms, some of which include molds, fungi, bacteria, and others.
Studies that have been done on silver have revealed that it can actually interrupt the ability to bacteria’s cells to form the necessary chemical bonds so that they are able to survive. It is these bonds that are going to produce all of the cell’s physical structures, meaning that whenever you have bacteria that meets up with silver, the bacteria’s cell structure is simply going to fall apart. Back in 1893, a study was done on various metals to test how effective it would be in regard to antibacterial properties. This property would come to be named the oligodynamic effect. It would later be discovered that out of all the metals that were tested for antimicrobial properties, silver was proven to be the most effective when it comes to antibacterial action, but with the least amount of toxicity to all animal cells.
Unlike some of the other types of metals that contain antimicrobial properties, it is believed that silver has no type of toxicity to humans. While there are going to need to be more studies that are done to verify this particular claim, until those studies are done you need to go with what you already know to be true. With that being said, it is always best to do your own research prior to incorporating silver into your daily lifestyle. And if you do decide that you are going to start using silver fabrics for its antimicrobial properties, you should always speak with your primary health care provider before doing so. When you meet with your primary health care provider and let them know what you are planning on doing in regards to silver fabrics, they will be able to answer any questions that you may have, as well as make sure that you remain healthy during the entire trial period with the silver infused fabrics. Just remember that you should always keep safety at the very front of your mind whenever you are trying anything new and different, meaning that if you start to feel symptoms that you were not feeling before, let your health care provider know immediately so that they can reevaluate you.
Silver in Fabrics
One of the leading manufacturers in sliver infused products known as Silvon, is a home goods brand that uses silver threads in their towels and bed sheets as a way to prevent bacteria from building up in parts of your body that will tend to collect it. They create all of their silver infused products by infusing their fibers with natural silver, which they then claim will be able to add an extra layer of antimicrobial properties to your body.
While it may sound somewhat far-fetched, the science behind silver actually supports this particular claim. “Silver would probably kill some bacteria on the sheets’ surface,” claimed James Ranville, one of the chemistry professors over at the Colorado School of Mines. Ranville also explained how just a tiny bit of silver will be able to dissolve into a silver ion, which is able to disrupt all of the functions of burgeoning bacteria. He also added that, “There’s been enough evidence to show that it does actually kill off bacteria.”
It is this particular evidence about silver that is allowing these manufacturers such as Silvon, to make these types of claims. Some of the other brands trying to capitalize on the silver craze include Lululemon’s Silverscent fabric, Hygenie’s Acne-Fighting Pillow Case, Mack Weldon’s Silver Boxer Briefs, and Organic Basics’ SilverTech line. All of these brands are trying to capitalize on infusing silver with their product’s fabrics to help innovate their already top-selling product lines. The claim that a silver infused item is ‘anti-stink’ because of the silver thread that has been infused into it is actually a major selling point for a lot of different activewear and other linen brands, as it is a very common issue that almost every one of their customers has had to deal with and suffer from at one point in time.
Do Silver Infused Fabrics Actually Work?
While there is a potential for problems when it comes to silver, this is only if you are ingesting a high quantity of it. With that being said, studies have shown that any type of health risk that humans may be at risk for from using fabrics that have been infused with silver is going to be negligible. In fact, most of the studies that have been done on humans pertaining to silver have revealed that any potential health risks are going to be very small and insignificant. With that being said, you must also keep in mind that there have actually been no studies done that have taken a look at any potential health problems when it comes to long-term exposure to silver.
As for sheets that have been laden with silver, while they may not pose any type of real harmful risks to humans, there are going to be trace amounts of the silver that will become dislodged when you wash them, which can potentially leak into the water supply, causing all types of problems. But since there have been no real studies done on the negative effects of long-term exposure to silver, any concerns that there may be are going to be largely speculative for until more research can be done. What this means is that you should not lose any sleep over this. So, even if you were drawn to silver infused fabric for its ability to help reduce bacteria buildup and eliminate any stinky smells, you should still do your best to clean all of your sheets and other silver infused products on a regular basis.
While there is still much that is needed to be learned when it comes to silver and how it is able to help the consumer (as well as whether or not all of the marketing and price tag are going to live up to the actual product), but studies have shown that the evidence of silver keeping away bad odors and bacteria are true. While it is not necessarily the best answer to getting an acne-free face or great smelling dirty gym socks, there is more and more innovation that is being made to help everyday people such as yourself, to experience certain products in a much healthier way. And when this happens, it is always going to be a good thing.