It was only a matter of time before clothing manufacturers and retailers started marketing to consumer fears about coronavirus. Thanks to the profound impact COVID-19 has had on nearly every aspect of life, you can now find articles of clothing marketed as offering protection against the virus. Be wary of such products.
This is not to say that appropriately designed clothing cannot help slow down the spread of COVID-19. Rather, it is simply to say that marketing claims cannot always be trusted. Just because a manufacturer says its fabrics are effective at killing coronavirus does not mean it is so.
There are multiple things to consider:
- There are different kinds of coronaviruses
- Fabrics themselves are irrelevant
- Fabric treatments are that which enable virus protection.
The key is to always read the fine print. And even after that, a bit of suspicion never hurts. You can never go wrong by researching marketing claims for accuracy. You can go wrong by believing everything you hear and read without question.
Not Just One Coronavirus
Ignorance is one of the things marketers take advantage of when pushing new products. Unfortunately, there is plenty of it where coronavirus is concerned. For example, did you know that there is more than one kind of coronavirus?
The CDC website lists seven human coronaviruses science knows about. There are others not as well-known as these seven, plus additional coronavirus strains found in animals. Why does this matter? Because a garment that allegedly offers coronavirus protection may effectively deal with three or four types yet offer no protection against the type that causes COVID-19.
The thing one must understand is that a virus is not a living organism in the same vein as bacteria. Rather, a virus is a molecule. You cannot stop viruses by killing them because there is nothing to kill. Stopping a virus is a matter of figuring out how it replicates and then inhibiting that mechanism.
Fabric Treatment Is What Matters
A fabric is not antimicrobial in and of itself. Therefore, any antiviral properties a particular garment might offer comes from a treatment applied to the fabric post-weave. You could purchase a pair of denim jeans with no antiviral treatment from The Stockist in Salt Lake City. Likewise, you could also buy a pair that has been treated. The fabrics would look identical to the naked eye. And other than the treatment, they are identical.
Why is this important? Because fabric treatment determines how effective a garment is at stopping viruses and other pathogens in their tracks. A recent article published by Fast Company makes this point very well. The article profiled one particular manufacturer that had its fabric treatment tested to see how well it performed against the COVID-19 virus.
The owner of that company explained that some of its competitors market their treatments as effective against coronavirus. That they are, but not necessarily against the virus that causes COVID-19. He purposely had his treatment tested for COVID-19 effectiveness. Now he is sure that it does work.
Use Your Brain in the Fight against COVID-19
The long and short of this entire discussion boils down to the need to use your brain in the fight against COVID-19. It is easy to do what everyone else is doing without giving it a second thought. But going along with the crowd does not guarantee this fight will be won.
Before you lull yourself into a false sense of security by purchasing clothing marketed as protecting against coronavirus, do some research on your own. Marketing messages might not be telling you the whole truth.