Anti Viral Finish on Textiles

Shubhradyuti Roy
Department of Jute and Fibre Technology
Institute of Jute Technology
University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal.

Increasing the public awareness about effects of pathogens on health creates a growing demand of antiviral finishes in various fields of textile material, medical devices, hygienic applications, water purification systems and food packing. Textile materials particularly made of natural fibres supply an outstanding medium for the microbial growth due to their large surface area and ability to retain moisture. Therefore to prevent undesirable effects such as degeneration, unpleasant odors, and potential health risks, textiles are treated with antimicrobial agents.

Recently, along with the global improvement in the level of living, consumers are showing the trend to seek healthcare and health protective products. Also an increase in the people`s interest for protection against epidemic diseases has been noted, as the overcrowded commuting trains, cars, where the commuters experience every day, the hospitals, nursing homes etc. Being supported by the processing technology of the textile products to provide a high performance which has been highly developed recently, the health protecting and hygiene related products have been advancing into the market.

Because these products are relatively new and included the technical aspects out of textile technology, the testing methods have been developed by the individual producers to evaluate product performance. That has resulted in existence of unified test methods, hindering for both consumers and producers a true explanation and understanding of those high functional products. The antiviral product is one of the products and includes the technical fields of textile technology and biotechnology. Antiviral textile products are textiles, capable of reducing the numbers of infective virus and particles that contact the surface of the textiles.

Today, in the 21st century, the killer pandemic is going on throughout the world. In this pandemic situation the self-protecting equipment are very much important for us. Corona virus is very much harmful for our health and causing very difficult situations in terms of our daily life, our working places even in our behavior courtesies.

In order to prevent the virus infection, we have to make the textile materials as protective as the viruses or other micro-organisms will be disabling in terms of their pathogenic working mechanisms. Antiviral finish is very important in terms of the infection causing by the contacts of the people. Besides we have to ensure that the material is user friendly and also not causing any kind of diseases for human skin and other body organ failures.

Personal protective equipment is very important for the people who are working in the medical and medical related fields in their daily works. Besides the masks are too– important. The Property we required in the fabrics is to protect the skin and other body parts from not only the bacteria, fungus or yeasts but also from the viruses that causes the pathogenic actions in the human beings. Parallely the chemicals that are used in the finished fabrics should not affect the skin or perspirations and the sebum secreted.


CONCEPT: In order to understand the concept of the Antiviral finish, we have to know about some terms and definitions related to this topic.

Virus: Original biological entity which has a single type of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA), specific structure that opposes the virus to living organisms with a cellular structure (prokaryotes and eukaryotes), and reproduces from its genetic material by replication within the host cell and leads to absolute intracellular parasitism.

Fig 1- Corona Virus

Example: HSV, Varicella, Herpes Zoster, HPV, SARS CoV, SARS CoV -2 (COVID-19) etc.

HOST CELL: Host cell is a living cell, invaded by of being capable of being invaded by an infectious agent such as bacteria or virus.     

STRUCTURE OF A VIRUS: Generally viruses are of two types in terms of their structures. They are – a) Enveloped virus and b) Non-enveloped virus.

ENVELOPED VIRUS:  Enveloped viruses are those which have the Protein or viral glycoprotein capsule like layer which is generally protects the capsid from outer substances and other kind of damage effects. These viruses are mostly having spikes containing envelop protein, which works as the connector to infect the host cell. After that there is a thick protein layer composed of cashmere is called the “Nucleo-capsid” which is protecting the nucleic acid of the virus i.e. either DNA or RNA.

NON-ENVELOPED VIRUS: Those viruses that are not having the spikes and the outer envelope is called the Non-enveloped viruses. In these kind of viruses, only the Capsid and Nucleic acid is present.

Fig- 2

Fig- 3

In the referred Figure: 2 and 3 two types of viruses i.e. Enveloped and Non-enveloped viruses are shown. 

How virus is infecting:

A virus is attached to a specific receptor site on the host cell membrane through attachment proteins in the capsid or via glycoproteins embedded in the viral envelop. The specificity of this interaction determines the host cell –and the cell within the host –that can be infected by particular virus. This can be illustrated by thinking of several keys and several locks, where each key will fit only one specific lock.

Virus may enter a host cell either with or without the viral capsid. The nucleic acid of bacteriophages enters the host cell “naked” leaving the capsid outside the cell. Plant and animal viruses can enter through endocytosis (as you may recall, the cell membrane surrounds and engulfs the entire virus). Some enveloped viruses enter in the cell when the viral envelop fuses, directly with the cell membrane. One inside the cell, the viral capsid degrades, and then the viral nucleic acid is released and becomes available for replication and transcription.



Here Figure 4 and 5 refers the mechanism and entire process of the virus infection and develop in the cells.


  • A finish that reduces the viruses in textiles is called Antiviral finish.
  • Antiviral finish contains that help in chemical adoption. It also creates a highly cationic charge density on the textile surface and de-activates the spread of the virus in contact.


  • The viruses that transmit by the body contacts are prevented.
  • Amount of the virus spread is reduced.
  • Protects the skin from the infection of the viruses.
  • User friendly and reduces infection by means of discrement the rate of contact to the viral pathogens.


We are already familiar to the essentiality of the antiviral finished textile materials. Now we have to know, how this finish is affecting the viruses and protects us from the harmful viruses.

In the above figure: 6, the behavior of an antiviral finish fabric is depicted.

Fig 7

In the refereed figure: 6 and 7, an Antiviral finished fabric is shown. The fabric is treated with the poly-cation or the metal oxide or Nano-particles, exposed to the viruses. When the virus attaches to the fabric, it attaches by the spike portion, just like the behavior of the virus is when it is infecting to the host cell. At the time of the contact, the spike gets entrapped by the cations, coated onto the surface of the fabric.The virus is immediately immobilized by the cations and it destroys the spike protein.

The immediate next layer of the virus i.e. the envelop and it`s protein and lipid layer ruptures and the capsid comes out. This capsid is containing the nucleic acid i.e. DNA or RNA of the virus. The capsid layer breaks followed by the envelop protein and the nucleic acid is coming out which inactivates the virus by destroying the main structure of the virus.


  • The finished textile materials should not be harshful to the skins.
  • The treated chemicals should not react with the perspiration.
  • The material doesn’t cause skin infection.
  • The finished textile material should have good wash fastness.
  • The finish should be applicable for the wide range of products and also have to be attractive.


In order to get the protection against the viruses, the textile materials should be treated with some kinds of chemicals. These chemicals should be user-friendly and don`t have the harsh effects. Cotton and other cellulosic textile materials are verily used by the mankind. If we have to make a commercial grade antiviral textile material, we can choice the cotton, viscose rayon or the other cellulosic textile materials to for this finish.

In case of cotton textile materials, we can select the Sodium Pentaborate Pentahydrate (NaB5O8·5H2O), Triclosan, Glucopon like chemical compounds. This chemical compounds are very effective against the enveloped viruses like Influenza virus, HPV,HIV, Adeno viruses, Polio viruses and also even the Ebola, SARS, MERS etc. 3% Sodium pentaborate pentahydrate, 0.03% Triclosan, 7% Glucopon is very effective against the viruses. It has been observed that these chemicals are very effective against not only the viruses, it gives us multi-protection against the virus, bacteria and also funguses.


Fig: 8- Chemical structure of (a): Sodium pent borate pent hydrate, (b): Triclosan, (c): Glucopon

In some other cases metal-ions are very effective against the viruses. The metal ions like silver, boron, silicon, and copper like metal coated fabrics impart more stability against the viruses. Copper ion zeolite based chemicals are very effective for the wool based materials. They provide good antiviral properties against the influenza virus, H5N1 and H5N3 type viruses.

In some other cases the N, N-dodecyl, methyl polyurethane based agents are very good for the synthetic fibres like polyester and polypropylene and the cotton and polyester based textile materials. They impart prevention not only against the viruses, but also protects from the wide range of bacteria and funguses.

Fig: 9- Silver based chemical compound action on the viruses

In most of the studies, can conclude that the silver coated textile materials are very effective and can reduce even up to 99.99% enveloped viruses like SARS CoV -2 and other corona virus species by immobilizing the virus and destroying it`s nucleic acids.

Fig: 10 Silicon-nitrogen based chemical compounds



In the experiment the Adenovirus type -5 (AV-5) and Polio virus type-1 (PV-1) is tested. The fabric was treated with 3% Sodium Pentaborate Pentahydrate (SPP) and 0.03% Triclosan (T). The modified textile material decreases both virus titer 60% immediately. On that study, antiviral test was performed for both the DNA and RNA viruses which were AV-5 and PV-1 respectively. From the aspect combination of 3% SPP and 0.03% T treated textile material should be effective against the enveloped and non-enveloped DNA viruses such as Hepatitis- B virus (HBV) and they are assumed to be effective against enveloped and non-enveloped RNA viruses such as HIV, HCV, Ebola, MERS and SARS.

Fig: 11- Inverted microscope view of death and viable Hep-2 cell mono layers at 72 h of PV-1virus titers that were passed through modified and untreated fabrics. 


Textiles are the fabrics or our lives literally offering protection from extreme cold, excessive heat and moisture. But in the COVID age the urgent need for antiviral fabrics open up a whole new chapter for the development of antimicrobial surface that now take center stage at the ongoing armory of PPE, a term that we are remarkably familiar with.

These antiviral finished textile materials can be used in the following fields:

  • PPE apparel
  • Smart textiles
  • Wearable and protective clothing.
  • Sports wear
  • Interior
  • Hospital industry uses.
  • Medical textiles.


The requirement of the antiviral finished textile materials are increasing day by day and the trend is going on acres the world is to wear the protective textile materials. The customer requirements are changing day by day also. People are very interested in protective clothing in the COVID situation to protect themselves from the harmful viruses and other micro-organisms. Besides the textile materials should have to be very attractive by its look and also protect themselves in many fields. In the above mentioned norms can clarify us about the versatility of this finish application in the various types of textile materials and fibres.

Antiviral finish application can be used in a wide range of fibres like starting from cotton, viscose rayon to the wool, acrylic and the synthetics like polyester, polypropylene like materials. We know that most of the protective textiles used in the medical fields are made of Non-woven Technology. Mostly the mask and PPE materials are made in spun bond techniques, some other kind of medical textile are made of spun bond- melt blown – spun bond (SMS) technique are very useful. Some products are also made from needle punch technique. They are mostly the common face masks that prevents the exposure of the droplets emitted from our mouth to the air. These products can be finished by the antiviral chemicals.

Parallely a new technique is used for the high performance masks like N99, N95, R99, R95 are 3 layers. These kind of masks are mostly made of spun bonded polypropylene which is treated by a high voltage static electric charge generated at the time of extrusion of the PP resin. This charge lasts long up to 30-40 washes.

In terms of daily use of the protective textiles, we can treat the cotton and viscose textile woven fabrics are also can be treated with antiviral finish chemicals. Besides the knit wears made of cotton/polyester blends are verily used our daily life. It can also be treated with this finish for our daily use. This would provide the versatility of its application in the apparel fields of textiles and better quality improvement and also to provide the necessity of the market.


  • Antiviral finish is can be used mostly in the medical and protective fields.
  • Hospital curtains, bed covers, pillow covers, napkins, draping materials are have to be finished by antiviral chemicals as these kind of materials provide highly comfortable zones for the growth of the virus as well as other kind of micro-organisms.
  • In the COVID pandemic situation, we have to use antiviral finished fabrics such as face masks, PPEs and other materials that can destroy the virus infection and growth, thus prevents the infection chances.
  • It can also be treated in case of automotive textile materials because these materials are not directly exposed to the sunlight and the regular usage of this materials provide a pleasant environment for growth of the virus and as well as bacteria.
  • Antiviral finish can be used also in the knitted and shirting and suiting fabrics. As we know that India is a tropical country and has a large amount of population, use the public transport and congested public transports are in a high risk of infection chances in daily basis.


In the COVID pandemic situation, antiviral finished textile material is on huge demand. In the time when every pharmacy and the eminent research institutes are trying to find the way to get rid of Corona virus i.e. the world class research work is going on across the world, it`s the high time to serve for the nation by launching the antiviral chemical treated fabrics and other textile materials. The textile materials are those products which provides us comfort and parallely can be able to give the protection against the harmful viruses like COVID-19 and some microbes also.

The examinations and the tests performed show that the modification of cotton fabrics with 3% SSP and 0.03% T makes it possible to obtain antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects as expected the inhibition zones of microbial and viral growth is 16 to 46 mm obtained in modified disc diffusion assay indicates notable antimicrobial and antiviral activity in the modified cotton fabrics. Modified cotton textiles shows antiviral activity against adenovirus type 5 and polio virus type 1and reduces the virus up to 60% where untreated textiles cause no decline in viral titers.

Besides the polycationic coating on the textile materials provides a strong barrier against the viruses. It immobilizes the virus and fixes the virus at a contact point. Some metals like silver, copper, iodine imparts a great antiviral actions against enveloped viruses and breaks the DNA or RNA of the virus.

As the fabric is so far concerned, this finish can be applied in the various kinds of fabrics like nonwoven, knitted and woven fabrics also. It does not depend on the weave design created in the fabric. So the application area for the Antiviral finish is very large.

In some current studies, the three layer masks are also treated with high voltage static electric charge at the resin stage of manmade fibres which is effective up to 20 to 30 washes, can be applied at the middle layer of the mask which can entrap the viruses effectively.

The formulations may be used not only in medical applications but also manufacturing textile products of daily use and technical textiles. In future newly developed antiviral textiles are recommended to use in military, health care, work uniform, home fashion and domestic products and sports apparel, with these new technologies, the growing need of consumer in antiviral and antimicrobial textile related to safety and human health and environment are fulfilled.

So, it`s the important time to increase the productivity by means of the technology related to textile chemical processing and the antiviral finished textile materials. It is a golden opportunity to make such kind of products that can protect us from the harmful corona virus. It would be the glory of the textile industry and also the milestone approach to mankind.


  • Zeynep Ustaoglu Iyigundogdu, Okan Demir, Ayla Bursin Austay, Fikrettin Sahin (2016). Springer science + Business media, New York, Developing Novel Antimicrobial and Antiviral Textile products.
  • Delano, C., Vega, Q., & Boesenberg, D. (2009). The antiviral action of common household disinfectants and antiseptics against murine hepatitis virus, a potential surrogate for SARS coronavirus. American Journal of Infection Control, 37, 649–652.
  • ISO: 18184: 2019 (E). International Standard, 2019. Textiles- Determination of Antiviral Activity of Textile products. Page: 1-5.
  • Reception for Antiviral Test, Tateshi Lab, Japan. Functionality tests for textile products: Antiviral Test. JIS L 1922: Plaque Assay, SEK.
  • Open-Stax Biology 2nd Edition.
  • – A Fibre2Fashion venture (2020). Carrington Textiles, Antiviral finish found effects.
  • JIS L 1922- Determination of Antiviral Activity of Textile products. 
  • Luisa A. Ikner & Charles P. Gerba, Research, Discovery and Innovation- Water & Energy Sustainable Technology Center. Modified ISO 18184: Determination of Antiviral activity Of Textile Products to Evaluate Three Treated Fabric against Human corona virus 229E (2020).
  • BASF product datasheet, Glucopon 215 UP.

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