Silver is the oldest antimicrobial agent and still in use today
The history of silver as an antimicrobial agent
There is a reason that silver, and not gold, has historically been viewed as a way to stop all sorts of impure creatures. Silver medallions were thought to ward off evil spirits and sickness, while silver bullets were thought to stop vampires and werewolves. This belief in the power of silver was surprisingly rational and grounded in thousands of years of evidence that silver did in fact stop infections and kill disease. Because of that, silver has been used medicinally for over 8,000 years. However, it wasn't until the last hundred years that we really understood how and why silver is so incredible at stopping disease. Unfortunately, silver fell out of favor before it could reach its true potential
The fall of silver during the era of synthetic chemistry
Silver lost popularity in the 1940's as chemists saw breakthroughs in making synthetic antibiotics. This was revolutionary for medicine and changed the world. However, we now know that these synthetic antibiotics lead to resistance and have led to a proliferation of so-called "super bugs". Synthetic antimicrobials will never be discontinued as they are still medically useful when responsibly used. But silver has slowly reemerged as the ideal antimicrobial as we gained a deeper understanding into how it can kill microbes and discovered that silver does not lead to antimicrobial resistance.
The return of silver in recent years
Silver can kill all types of microbes (including viruses, bacteria, and fungi) by tearing apart these nasty germs on the molecular level. Silver can act like little chemical bullets that tear apart the cells while destroying their ability to reproduce. Silver isn't consumed in this process, so only a small amount of silver is needed to kill a whole tank of microbes. Importantly, silver is incredibly potent against microbes but doesn't have any effect on humans. It doesn't interact with the human body or human cells, and is safe for most animals.
Silver ions vs silver nanoparticles
Silver ions are the most effective form of silver in terms of antimicrobial efficacy. Silver nanoparticles have been a sort of buzz material as of late due to fantastic marketing, unfortunately their performance doesn't match the hype. Essentially, they're balls of silver that are too small to see by the naked eye. Still, they have a nasty brown color and unfortunately, are far less effective antimicrobial agents than silver ions. In fact, silver nanoparticles primarily work by leaching silver ions. This means roughly 100x the amount of silver nanoparticles is needed to have the same effect as silver ions.
Chelated silver ions are the most effective form of silver
Interestingly, recent studies have demonstrated that chelated silver ions, exactly what is used in SWIFF, are 10x more effective than standard silver ions. Our plant antioxidant is a polyphenol that loves chelating silver ions and loves sticking to clothes. This makes sure the silver ions stay on the clothes and keeps their efficacy super-active.
Germs cause body odors, silver kills those germs
Microbes, and primarily bacteria, are the cause of body odor. In fact, they cause most of the bad odors we're familiar with, ranging from farts to BO to sewage and rotting garbage. This is why silver has become such an integral part of odor-protection products. Read more about how microbes cause odors on our blog and get SWIFF so you can smell fresh anywhere.