How Antimicrobial Technology Works

Antimicrobial Technology describes the collective knowledge, expertise, and methods of using additives to create products that are permanently protected against microbes. Antimicrobial: adjective | an·ti·mi·cro·bi·al / an-ti-mī-ˈkrō-bē-əl – Destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms. For PureHandle®, antimicrobial technology can be defined as a substance that works to inhibit the growth and reproduction of harmful bacteria, mold, and mildew. Unlike disinfectants which provide a limited residual activity once the treated surface dries, integrated antimicrobial technology works to continuously minimize the presence of microbes throughout the entire lifecycle of a product.

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So how exactly does this happen?

Antimicrobial technology typically contains one of three inorganic active ingredients:

  • Silver ion antimicrobials: Suitable for a wide range of materials and applications, including medical coatings, plastics, and food-contact products.
  • Zinc antimicrobials: A broad-spectrum antimicrobial that is commonly favored for its antifungal properties.
  • Copper antimicrobials: Often used as a preservative and is popular for medical products and surfaces.

What’s the difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial?

Antimicrobial Technology is effective against a wide spectrum of microbes: this includes bacteria, mold, fungi and even viruses. Antibacterial Technology, on the other hand, is only effective against bacteria.

How Antimicrobial Technology Works?

Introduced during the manufacturing process, our antimicrobial additives exert, by either chemical or mechanical means, a negative effect on any contaminating microbes causing them to die. Products protected by antimicrobial technology will negatively affect bacteria that contaminate the surface through:

Protein damage: Proteins are essential for the biological systems of life. Any damage to these components causes the failure of essential functions such as energy production.

Cell membrane damage: By disrupting the microbe’s membrane, its structural integrity is compromised, which can cause essential nutrients to leak out and catastrophic structural failure.

Oxidative damage: Antimicrobials can cause increased levels of reactive oxygen species, which result in damage to the internal systems of the microbe.

DNA interference: The genetic material of the bacteria is disrupted, ultimately stopping the bacteria from being able to replicate by blocking the copying of their genetic material.


PureHandle® treatment reduces the growth of bacteria on the product surface by at least 99.9 percent within 24 hours. It restricts the metabolism and reproducibility of bacteria so that the microorganisms die off. Due to the multiple mechanisms of action, the development of resistance to the treatment used is virtually excluded. On the contrary, its effectiveness against multiresistant microorganisms, for example, MRSA and MRSE, has been verified by independent test institutes.

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PureHandle® protected products, therefore, serve to complement the stringent hygiene principles that are required in the healthcare sector. If you are interested in finding out more about our antimicrobial products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the PureHandle® sales team.

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