Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Microban’s antimicrobial solutions and how they can be used as part of your business strategy.

What is an antimicrobial? The antimicrobial definition.

An antimicrobial is any substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms by suppressing microorganism reproduction. Microorganisms are unicellular or cell-cluster microscopic organisms, including eukaryotes such as fungi and protists and prokaryotes such as bacteria and certain algae. 

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What is Microban®?

Microban International is the global leader and most trusted brand in the antimicrobial additives industry. We engineer antimicrobial, odor control, and surface modification technologies that are incorporated into products worldwide. Our technologies keep product surfaces cleaner and longer-lasting by preventing the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, mold, and mildew.

What is the difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial?

The primary difference between antibacterial vs. antimicrobial substances is the types of microorganisms they act upon. Antibacterial technologies are effective against a broad spectrum of harmful bacteria including E. coli and MRSA. They will typically incorporate silver active ingredients, allowing for successful application in a wide variety of product types.

Antimicrobial technologies minimize the presence of bacteria, mold, fungi and even some virus strains. In contrast to antibacterial agents, antimicrobial substances offer a greater level of product protection. Their broad-spectrum performance makes them perfect for use in hygiene critical environments such as schools, hospitals, and commercial kitchens. Typical active ingredients include silver or zinc.

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How do Microban antimicrobial agents work in antimicrobial products?

Microban antimicrobial treatments are built into products during the manufacturing process. When microbes come into contact with a product surface, Microban antimicrobial protection penetrates the cell wall of the microorganism and disrupts the cell, making the microorganism unable to grow and reproduce.

Does Microban manufacture antimicrobial products?

No. Microban engineers and produces antimicrobial additives and then partners with companies around the world who put our additives into their products to keep product surfaces cleaner and more durable by preventing the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.

What types of microorganisms do antimicrobial agents work against?

Microban antimicrobial protection is effective against most common bacteria, yeasts, molds and fungi that cause stains, odors and product degradation. Microban technology is not designed to protect users from disease-causing microorganisms.

How do I know that Microban antimicrobial product protection is safe?

We get this question a lot, “Is Microban safe?” Consumer safety is a fundamental concern for us. All of the antimicrobials and odor-control technologies used by Microban Products Company are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States and are notified with the Biocidal Products Regulation in Europe for their specific use in the product in which they are used. All of our technologies have a history of safe use in consumer, commercial, and healthcare product applications around the world. Risk assessments by independent scientists, scientific bodies, and governmental agencies (including EPA, FDA, and regulatory authorities in Europe and Canada) have consistently reconfirmed the safety of our antimicrobial additives at the levels approved for use in consumer, commercial, and healthcare products. The size and specific biological systems of microorganisms make them susceptible to antimicrobial agents at levels of exposure that are not harmful to humans. Microban antimicrobial additives are built into the products themselves, therefore, using products protected with Microban® technology does not result in consumer exposures or transmission directly into the environment in the way that products like disinfectants or liquid antibacterial soaps can during use.

Does this mean that antimicrobial products do not have to be cleaned?

No. Microban technology does not replace regular cleaning practices specified by product manufacturers. Instead, our antimicrobials complement regular cleaning by keeping products cleaner in between cleanings.

Does Microban protection begin working immediately?

Microban product protection begins to work as soon as a microorganism comes into contact with a product surface. The antimicrobial protection then works continuously to maintain a consistently lower bio-burden than would be expected on a product without Microban antimicrobial protection. Under the right conditions, microbes on an untreated surface can double every 20 minutes. Microban technology is not a disinfectant and is not a substitute for regular cleaning practices.

How long do Microban antimicrobial agents work?

Microban product protection is built-in during the manufacturing process and will not wash off or wear away. Microban protection is engineered to provide continuous antimicrobial and odor-control product protection for the useful lifetime of the product, keeping treated products cleaner and more durable than non-treated products.

Does the use of antimicrobial agents cause resistant strains of microorganisms?

After more than 30 years of use in numerous consumer, commercial, and healthcare applications around the world, there has been no evidence of resistant strain development.