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Germaphobes, rejoice! Coats has launched the world’s first antimicrobial sewing thread. Developed in the textile firm’s North American laboratories, the “Coats Protect” line claims to create a “zone of inhibition” that prevents the growth of odor- and stain-causing bacteria around seams. Hygienic hobbyists notwithstanding, Coats designed the chemical treatment for items that need continuous protection from microbes, including hospital furnishings, operating-theater beds, muscle supports, military tactical vests, and outdoor gear. Sportswear manufacturers looking to provide odor-free and antifungal footwear are also a potential market.

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Coats Protect can be made available in any substrate, thread size, or color without affecting sewing performance or chemical properties, according to the company. Neither is color fastness an issue, it says. Just one catch: Hospital gowns and sports gear that require frequent laundering are not ideal applications of the technology. Coats Protect threads are effective to at least 25 industrial laundry cycles but not much more.

Just one catch: Coats Protect threads are effective to at least 25 industrial laundry cycles but not much more.

Then there’s the bigger question of whether we’re overdosing on antibacterial products. While Coats didn’t identify the components of its treatment, studies have shown that antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan may fuel the production of drug-resistant superbugs.

But that’s a whole other stitch sitch.

+ Coats Protect

+ Coats