Kodak's New Project: Clothes That Won't Get Smelly

The key: embedded silver
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2014 8:53 AM CDT
Kodak's New Project: Clothes That Won't Get Smelly
PurThread's golf shirt, via its website.   (PurThread)

Kodak knows silver—the element's use in film made the company one of the top silver consumers worldwide. Kodak is a printing company these days, but it's got a new use for silver: making clothing that doesn't get smelly. Even after it's worn "for days and days and days … it won't smell," says Terry Taber, the company's chief tech officer. Silver is known for its anti-microbial properties and can kill germs and bacteria, USA Today explains. In fact, "there are stories of people centuries ago taking silver coins and putting them on cuts," Taber notes.

Kodak is now the exclusive provider of the compound silver sulfate to textile company PurThread Technologies. The North Carolina company incorporates the compound into its synthetic fibers, with the goal of preventing not only bad smells but also discoloration caused by microbes that eat sweat. And it apparently works: One of the chemists who worked on the project tells WHAM he wore a shirt for two weeks without washing it, and it "never stunk." PurThread makes personal wear, but it's also focused on markets where the stakes are higher: It currently offers anti-microbial scrubs and lab coats for the medical world, and it plans to work with Kodak to develop solutions for the military, too, it says in a press release. (A much smellier story: Archaeologists recently uncovered 700-year-old poop that still reeks.)

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