Your towels are dirtier than you think. 90% of towels contain coliform bacteria (in other words bacteria from 💩). This is one of the reasons why clinicians recommend washing your towel after just 2-3 uses—so while ordinary towels get you dry, why not use a self-cleaning towel that kills germs before they get a chance to grow?
Picking a towel that stays clean while keeping you clean too can be hard, so we’ve compiled some of the most important features and information to keep in mind while choosing an antimicrobial towel. From the type of technology used to make a towel self-cleaning to the best type of antimicrobial metal, we’ve gone through them all and listed them here for you to decide.
Coated vs. Infused
Many germ-killing towels feature a temporary antimicrobial coating, something which lessens their efficacy with use. Due to a coating’s impermanent nature, the towel’s antimicrobial material will slough off with each wash.
On the other hand, a towel that is permanently infused with antibacterial materials or ions is by far the more efficient choice in the long run. Because the infusion process allows material to permanently bond to the towel fibers on a microscopic level, a towel that is infused with antibacterial particles will never lose its germ-killing properties.
And when towels and fabrics are not even infused but are coated with metal (often silver), there is the fact that eventually, that metal will rub or wash off of the material. Those particles will slough off with every wash into the water, eventually reaching our oceans.
The Environmental Impact of an Impermanent Coating
When metal particulates wash off a coated piece of fabric, the increased toxicity and concentration of those compounds, especially silver, pose a possible threat to marine wildlife and the environment as a whole.
In addition, studies in mice have shown that increased concentrations of silver caused toxicity in organs including the brain, raising concerns over its effects in humans should it be absorbed into the skin through contact. And because the silver coating disappears with use (often lasting for about 40 washes), eventually these towels stop protecting against viruses and bacteria as well and so lose their odor-blocking properties, leading to the purchase of more towels and a repeat of the pollution cycle.
Copper or Silver?
While some antimicrobial towels on the market use silver, in terms of germ-killing efficacy, copper has been proven to be a stronger antimicrobial. In addition, silver is almost entirely ineffective as an antimicrobial agent when dry; it needs to be in warm and wet or extremely humid environments of approximately 95℉ to work, making it impractical for average indoor use, even when toweling off after a shower.
Copper’s efficiency as an antimicrobial agent has been confirmed by various scientific studies, and it has been used since ancient times to clean and disinfect. When copper particles infused into each and every fiber come into contact with bacteria or viruses, the copper releases ions that tear apart the bacterial membrane or viral envelope, destroying DNA and RNA and subsequently the microbe itself.
How Alta Compares
Unlike other antimicrobial towels that are coated or infused with silver, Alta combines 100% natural copper and cotton to provide the best of everything. Our EPA-approved sonic infusion process guarantees permanent attachment at the molecular level, meaning the copper in our towels will never come off.
Even after putting it through 100 washes, we found that the copper was still attached and there was no loss of antimicrobial efficacy—after literally being put through the wringer, our towel still killed 99% of bacteria on contact. Because our towel is self-sterilizing, the lack of odor-causing bacteria means Alta will stay fresh so you have a clean towel every shower. The result? A long-lasting, high quality towel that is safe for your skin and the environment.