Crypton Fabric: The First And Only Disinfectable Fabric Approved By The EPA

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Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.

Understanding that the priority on cleanliness is higher now than ever, Crypton Fabric has increased their focus on cleanability and disinfectability, while also reducing fluorine levels to just 0.1 percent.

As design professionals heed the call of a new day, we’re having to pivot and re-strategize on all fronts. But not on fabric! Crypton Fabric, a leading provider of pioneering textile solutions, has been poised for this new normal for 15 years and counting, as their fabric system became the first and only EPA-approved disinfectable fabric in 2005. Decades of fabric science, 15 patents and a five-year warranty ensures that, as always, each fiber in every yard of Crypton Fabric repels not only liquids and oils, but also bacteria, mold and fungus. Crypton Fabric with moisture barrier, and Crypton’s HHI-compliant C-Zero + are the first and only fabrics approved by the EPA to be disinfected.

Crypton innovates at the highest level, thinking ahead so that designers can ideate future built environments beautifully, sustainably, safely and with clarity of purpose while providing transparency and knowledge of the science behind their products. It is with that in mind that Crypton shares with us the news of its advancement of its core product Crypton Fabric. They are pleased to announce they have reduced the level of fluorine to just 0.1 percent while increasing the focus on cleanability and disinfectability, understanding the priority on cleanliness is higher now than ever.

Why is the reduction of fluorine such a groundbreaking development for the development of performance textiles?

As a company we are committed to continuously innovate to produce the highest quality fabric technology with the absolute lowest environmental impact. 

“Our chemistry and philosophy have always focused and performance sustainability. It’s part of our DNA. Crypton was created to be the highest performing fabric in high traffic areas, one that by nature of its performance, extends its useful life. This latest breakthrough is indicative of our ongoing evolution and continued dedication,” says Crypton CEO, Lance Keziah. “And it does not stop here.”

What makes this innovation so important with respect to what designers need to consider when specifying textiles for new and refurbished workplaces?

We conceive innovative fabrics that resist staining, odor, moisture, and bacteria, while correspondingly keeping a focus on achieving the lowest environmental impact possible. Our recent advancement reduces the amount of fluorine while also increasing our focus on disinfectability, and cleanability.

What is fluorine and how does reducing its presence in textiles so important?

Fluorine is in a myriad of products we use every day from pharmaceuticals, smart phones, food containers and even makeup. Why? Because it is the only element that allows products to resist oil. The only one. However, not all fluorine is the same. Some are concerning, and others, are not.

The class of “concerning” fluorine is composed of small, mobile molecules that can leach. Crypton technology uses a proprietary “preferred” form of fluorine—a large polymer durably bonded to the fabric’s fibers, safely encased, sealed and immobile to prevent migration. In other words, our special polymers permanently bond to the fabric’s fibers, so it is safely sealed, impossible to rub off. It is permanent. We are always refining our products, and we found a means to reduce our use of fluorine while increasing hand and performance—with only 0.1 percent fluorine, our lowest amount yet and a new industry standard. We think that is pretty exciting.

How was this breakthrough achieved?

Our research team was able to achieve 99.9 percent fluorine-free by leveraging our C-Zero technology, which is the industry’s first 100 percent fluorine-free, soil-repellent technology. The science of C-Zero informed our Crypton Fabrics.

With that one-tenth of percent, you get so much. It has a positive ripple effect, with one benefit creating another and another for your clients, their end-users, and ultimately, the planet.

“With Crypton you are ‘future-proofing’ your interior spaces. We invest our time and resources in planned longevity, not disposable technology. We believe that by using Crypton you are selecting the most environmentally preferable performance fabric. It is a longer-game approach, but by extending the useful life of fabric and furniture, you measurably reduce your environmental footprint overall,” says Michael Grigat, VP of R & D for Crypton.

What does 99.9 percent fluorine free really mean? It all comes down to oil and water.

Offering better performance benefits with a lower level of fluorine, all verified by the AATCC189 third-party testing method, the recalibrated product possesses a miniscule proportion of fluorine, measuring only 0.1 percent or less across the surface of fabric. In support of their environmentally conscious endeavors, Crypton kept this minute measurement of fluorine to extend the fabric’s lifespan. That 0.1 percent enables resistance to both oil and water-based stains, and extends the useful life of the fabric by up to seven years.  

Where should designers consider using Crypton fluorine free textiles?

If you are specifying for a hospital requiring HHI or an office compliant with the ILFI Red List, we recommend our C-Zero fabric which resists water-based stains.

It’s a matter of considering the particular needs of each project. Both options offer your clients and informed, responsible and beautiful choice.

As people are returned to the workplace, and designers are tackling retrofit of existing spaces or design of new spaces, material selection becomes even more critical. The variety and scope of products that use Crypton technology are available to meet any need.

ArcCom, Brentano, C.F. Stinson, HBF Textiles

Are there other significant features that are going to be critical in material selection as designers move forward?

While Crypton products have always been considered for their properties of cleanability, that additional ability to disinfect is now critical. In addition to the trademarked moisture barrier the core product also allows disinfection. Crypton’s integrated moisture barrier allows the product to be completely disinfected when used in conjunction with Crypton Disinfectant & Deodorizer, a one-step disinfectant cleaner that is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew and fungus. The EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant eliminates 99.9 percent of germs with a no-rinse formula that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfectants in one fell swoop. Safe for use around children and animals, it is suitable for a broad spectrum of spaces—including hospitals, nursing homes, medical facilities, restaurants, hotels, and public transportation. 

Why should designers look for these textiles when considering products for their latest projects?

Here are the key elements that fabrics using this technology feature:

  • Engineered to resist liquids, water-based stains, oil-based stains, and odors
  • Less than 0.1 percent fluorine, tested and verified in accordance with test method AATCC 189
  • Moisture barrier
  • Protected by 15 patents
  • 5-year warranty
  • Extends furniture life up to seven years
  • GREENGUARD Gold Certified
  • Manufactured in North Carolina
In celebration of 25 years since the creation of Crypton®, DesignTex commissioned five contemporary artists to design a pattern to be digitally printed on Crypton fabric.

Designers should also consider C-Zero Fabric is 100 percent fluorine-free. That’s zero, as in 0 percent.

  • Engineered to resist liquids and water-based stains
  • Zero percent fluorine, tested and verified in accordance to test method AATCC 189
  • Moisture barrier (optional)
  • Extends furniture life up to three years
  • GREENGUARD Gold Certified
  • Manufactured in North Carolina
  • 0.1 percent fluorine

Is there anything else our readers should understand about Crypton’s technology with respect to the properties we have described?

Designers should know that Crypton utilizes highly engineered, fabric-specific processes to permanently seal patented performance technology into every fiber; the permanent bind of Crypton chemistry guarantees safe use and consistent performance. It is NOT a topical solution. Crypton’s stain and moisture protection lasts the life of the fabric and can extend the useful life of case goods by up to seven years.

By extending the useful life, the cost and environmental benefits fall in line. Reduction in replacement and repair costs, plus reduction of use of non-renewable fossil fuels and natural resources – wood, water, energy, landfill waste, and carbon emissions – emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change.

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