Can you introduce us to Prime Medical’s SAF-T textiles and apparel?
Prime Medical is changing the fabric of healthcare for life with next-generation textiles and apparel that can be powered with chlorine bleach to continuously fight harmful pathogens. Under the SAF-T brand, Prime Medical manufactures cubicle curtains, patient gowns, bed linens, scrubs and lab coats – all made with a patented fabric technology that when washed with bleach, creates a chlorine-shield on the products which can last for up to 120 days with every laundering, and is clinically proven to kill bacteria and viruses with 99.9 per cent efficacy.
In the healthcare environment, soft surfaces including textiles and apparel are often overlooked as sources of contamination. However, just like the hard surfaces such as door handles, IV poles, bed rails and overbed tables, the apparel, linens and textiles worn and used in healthcare are just as capable and culpable in collecting and transmitting pathogens.
Prime Medical’s chlorine-shielded products are transforming traditional healthcare apparel, curtains and linens into next-generation, germ-fighting tools to support a safer environment for patients and staff.
How does the ‘chlorine-shield’ fabric technology work?
The patented fabric technology is called BioSmart by Milliken. BioSmart works with bleach in the laundry cycle, providing a surface on the fabric that binds chlorine molecules. In the presence of pathogens, the chlorine retained on the BioSmart treated fabric releases to kill bacteria and viruses with 99.9 per cent efficacy. BioSmart is a very durable fabric technology and can bind chlorine for up to 120 days with each laundering in bleach – a valuable benefit for textiles/apparel held in inventory/storage before use. Each wash fully recharges the fabric with a chlorine-shield, so even at 75 industrial washes, it maintains full capability to kill germs with 3-log efficacy.
How did the idea come about and reach fruition?
Prime Medical’s founder and senior vice president of manufacturing and product development Wayne Wilson discovered the BioSmart fabric technology while sourcing textiles at Milliken & Co. in Spartanburg, South Carolina, US. Wilson immediately realised the profound benefit this fabric technology could have in the healthcare environment for staff and patients.
With the rise of multidrug-resistant organisms and the alarming global risk of antibiotic resistant infections, he launched the company on the premise of empowering everyday textiles/apparel with a shield of chlorine molecules – as a simple, safe and smart way to fight pathogens with every fibre.
Prime Medical’s chlorine-shielded products are transforming traditional healthcare apparel, curtains and linens into next-generation, germ-fighting tools to support a safer environment for patients and staff
How do Prime Medical’s products seek to support a healthier, safer environment for patients, visitors and staff?
When you think about the sheer volume of fabric in the healthcare environment, it’s the primary surface that people are in contact with 24/7/365. With Prime Medical’s SAF-T line, this fabric becomes a surface that can actively kill pathogens like staphylococcus aureus, klebsiella pneumonia, hepatitis A, escherichia coli, salmonella and more. Just like hand-washing and hard surface disinfection, chlorine-shielded textiles/apparel add an important layer that can continuously fight germs. It’s simple – just add bleach to the laundry. It’s safe, causing no skin irritation or sensitivity. And it’s superior – chlorine bleach kills without pathogen mutation and the products are fully reactivated so they are just as effective at 75 washes, as the first wash.
Does the product line offer any other advantages?
Prime Medical fabrics are designed to be washed in regular bleach without any fading or degrading the fabric through the life of the product. Our scrubs are made with a premium weight 65/35 poly-cotton blend, providing softness, long-lasting wear and added warmth. What healthcare professionals find most surprising is the direction to launder their scrubs (black, charcoal, navy, hunter green, royal blue) in regular chlorine bleach and any detergent. There’s no fear of fading – just wash them like they’re white.
SAF-T scrubs are ideal for healthcare staff that launder their workwear at home. A recent UK study found that domestic laundering of scrubs was often inadequate to remove pathogens from the apparel – creating a risk of contamination for staff and patients. By using EPA-registered bleach in the domestic laundry process with SAF-T scrubs, there’s a greater assurance that garments are sanitised and shielded with chlorine for extended protection.
For what healthcare facilities are the products suitable?
Prime Medical products are ideal for any healthcare facility – acute care, long-term/rehabilitative care facilities, surgery centers, physician and dental offices. Prime Medical seeks to provide solutions to healthcare areas that serve the most immunocompromised individuals, including burn units, intensive care units, post-anaesthesia care units, dialysis facilities, transplant units and even emergency departments.
In what ways are they superior to existing fabrics in the healthcare environment?
Traditional antimicrobial fabric technologies have a tendency to lose effectiveness with subsequent launderings. What makes Prime Medical products unique is that each laundering in EPA-registered bleach not only sanitizes the products in the laundry process, they become fully recharged with a chlorine shield – so they’re just as effective at 75 washes than they are at wash one.
What’s next for Prime Medical?
The question we’re asked most frequently is to develop a line of sheets and towels for consumer markets, hospitality and cruise lines, so we’re exploring opportunities within those categories. We’re excited to be at the forefront of next-generation chlorine-shielded products that work with the safe, trusted and effective power of chlorine bleach.
In a complex world of dangerous superbugs and antibiotic resistant infections, there’s much truth to the adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Our products add another layer of prevention, and if you’re going to buy sheets, patient gowns, cubicle curtains and staff apparel – it’s time to choose a smarter solution that actively fights pathogens with every fibre.