Copper: a powerful, natural antimicrobial element.

The antimicrobial properties of copper have been known for centuries. The element was used in ancient Egyptian and Roman civilizations for water sterilization, as well as a means to help treat wounds and pulmonary diseases. In fact, the invention of copper cooking utensils by the Roman Empire was a means to help stop the spread of diseases.

Now, modern science has led us to understand exactly why copper has this effect on germs. When copper and a bacterium meet, the copper’s positive ions essentially steal electrons from the microorganism — this act enables it to penetrate the cell wall and release nutrients and water from the bacterium. At the same time, copper ions are work to weaken the cell wall through oxidation.

Once copper makes its way inside the bacterium, it disrupts the microbe’s RNA and DNA, while simultaneously stopping cell respiration and energy production. And this effect happens very quickly, meaning copper can rapidly deliver greater hygiene to any number of items it happens to touch.

So how do we embed copper in fabric?

Nightingale antimicrobial sleeves are made with active fiber technology, which means the copper in our fabric effectively manages any germs that come into contact with it, inside and out. But how do you get a metal like copper into fabric and keep it feeling like … well, fabric?

We’re able to do this thanks to an industrial process called melt extrusion — a fancy way of saying “safely embedding copper particles into the raw material used to create a fiber.” This process delivers an even and permanent distribution of copper throughout the fiber, which is then professionally woven to create a one-of-a-kind, patent-pending fabric. The end result is an innovative sleeve with germ protection that won’t wear down or wash off.

Dive deeper into the antimicrobial properties of copper.

How strange is it to learn that copper — the metal that comprises our least-valued coin — has so much potential as an antimicrobial innovation? While this information may be new to you, scientists have been publishing about this phenomenon for decades. Here are some great resources to help you better understand the science that goes into every Nightingale antimicrobial sleeve:

  • Discover the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities of copper-impregnated fibers and polyester products to create self-sterilizing fabrics.
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  • Learn about what makes copper so effective in managing microorganisms.
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  • Watch the speed with which copper minimizes the threat of the bacteria it touches versus the same bacteria on stainless steel.
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  • Explore how fabrics embedded with copper have been shown to control dust mites.
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  • Catch up on research about the ways copper-embedded linens are reducing healthcare-associated infections.
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  • Investigate the ways copper-impregnated textiles reduced microbe-related health issues in mechanically ventilated patients from long-term care wards.
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  • See how the addition of copper to the healing process helps patients treat chronic wounds.
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