Do Copper-Infused Fabrics Have Antimicrobial Properties?

Have you ever gone to the gym before work, showered, threw the towel into a bag, and forgotten it? When you finally discovered it several days later, did you find it smelled and had mildew stains? It is so badly damaged that it would be impossible to clean, so you throw it away. Well, no more worries. There is a towel that will not grow mold or bacteria. It is a copper-infused cotton antimicrobial gym/bath towel developed by Copper Clothing. The towel is soft and very absorbent.

What better place to have an antimicrobial towel than the kitchen? Your kitchen has the potential to be full of viruses such as salmonella, E. Coli, and other infection-causing microorganisms if you process raw meat and eggs. Just washing your hands is not enough. You need to sanitize your working space and your hands. A copper-infused kitchen hand towel is the perfect solution.

What makes these towels resist mildew, odors, and viruses? Below we will share some of the science on what makes the towel antimicrobial, how it resists odors and mildew, plus protection against E. Coli and other infection-causing microorganisms.

Does copper have antimicrobial properties?

Yes, copper has been found to have antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that copper and copper alloys, such as brass and bronze, can kill many microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Copper ions are believed to disrupt the membrane and DNA of the microorganisms, leading to their death.

Copper has been used for thousands of years for various purposes, including medicinal and antimicrobial applications. In modern times, copper has been used in hospitals and other healthcare settings to reduce the spread of infections. Copper surfaces have been shown to be effective at reducing the survival of microorganisms, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria, on commonly touched surfaces such as door handles, bed rails, and faucets.

How is copper infused with cotton?

Copper can be infused into cotton fabrics through “copper ionization” or “copper coating.” In this process, copper particles are embedded or coated onto the surface of the cotton fibers or yarns (such as towels).

One method for infusing copper into cotton involves a technique called electroless plating. This involves immersing the cotton fabric in a solution containing copper ions, along with a reducing agent and other chemicals. The reducing agent reacts with the copper ions to deposit copper onto the surface of the cotton fibers, creating a thin layer of copper coating. This method can be used to coat the cotton fabric with different amounts of copper, depending on the desired level of antimicrobial properties.

Another method for infusing copper into cotton involves using copper-infused polyester or other synthetic fibers. These fibers are blended with cotton fibers to create a hybrid fabric that combines the antimicrobial properties of copper with the softness and comfort of cotton.

Copper-infused cotton fabrics have been marketed for various applications, including clothing, bedding, and medical textiles.

What makes copper-infused fabric antimicrobial?

Copper-infused fabric is antimicrobial due to the properties of copper ions. Copper ions are positively charged and can disrupt the cell membranes and other vital structures of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even some parasites. This can lead to the death of these microorganisms or prevent their growth and replication.

Infusing copper into the fabric releases copper ions onto its surface. These copper ions can then interact with microorganisms that come into contact with the material, causing damage to their cell membranes and other structures. These properties make copper-infused fabric an attractive option for various applications, including medical textiles, athletic wear, and everyday clothing. 


Using products with copper-infused fabric, such as bath, gym, and kitchen towels, can help kill the bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., that a damp towel can come into contact with. They can be washed many times without losing their antimicrobial properties. According to Copper Clothing, they will maintain their antimicrobial properties throughout the lifetime of the product. If you have mold allergies, you may find that you will benefit from a copper-infused towel. 

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva: