The large surface area and ability to retain moisture of textile structures enable microorganisms’ growth, which causes a range of undesirable effects, not only on the textile itself, but also on the user. Due to the public health awareness of the pathogenic effects on personal hygiene and associated health risks, over the last few years, intensive research has been promoted in order to minimize microbes’ growth on textiles. Therefore, to impart an antimicrobial ability to textiles, different approaches have been studied, being mainly divided into the inclusion of antimicrobial agents in the textile polymeric fibers or their grafting onto the polymer surface. Regarding the antimicrobial agents, different types have been used, such as quaternary ammonium compounds, triclosan, metal salts, polybiguanides or even natural polymers. Any antimicrobial treatment performed on a textile, besides being efficient against microorganisms, must be non-toxic to the consumer and to the environment. This review mainly intends to provide an overview of antimicrobial agents and treatments that can be performed to produce antimicrobial textiles, using chemical or physical approaches, which are under development or already commercially available in the form of isolated agents or textile fibers or fabrics.
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