For many thousands of years, paint has been used to decorate the spaces we live, work and play in. From adorning the walls of prehistoric caves to aesthetically transforming the modern-day home, paint has evolved into a protective application as well as a feature enhancing substance.
Antimicrobial paint additives are specific actives that can be introduced into a paint, coating, ink or lacquer during the manufacturing process to make it resistant to microbes. An additive will encompass a specific antimicrobial active, such as silver, and can be formulated to suit the type of paint or coating, the material it may be used to treat, and the manufacturing process employed.
Antimicrobial coatings are typically applied to counters, walls, door handles, and other high-touch areas; HVAC vents and mechanicals; and many other surfaces. In some cases, they are sprayed onto textiles, masks, gloves, and carpeting. Even paint manufacturers are applying them to their wall paint and primer products to inhibit the growth of pathogens in facilities. In hospitals and medical facilities, these coatings are also being applied to medical devices.
Along with helping to inhibit the spread of germs and bacteria on medical instruments, antimicrobial coatings can also impact how we clean health care facilities. If countertops, for instance, are coated with these materials, it means that powerful cleaning agents and disinfectants often used in health care facilities may no longer be necessary. If proven true, this would help reduce the environmental impact of cleaning in medical facilities significantly.
The following are some of the key promises for the significant growth of antimicrobial coatings in recent years to come:
- They help stop the spread of pathogens that can cause disease, which is especially important in a hospital setting where many people already have weakened immune systems.
- They have the potential to meaningfully lower the environmental impact of cleaning in a medical setting, where scores of different chemicals are used for a variety of purposes.
- If surfaces do not need as thorough a cleaning to prevent the spread of disease, it could reduce the amount of cleaning time—and therefore, cost—necessary to maintain facilities.