Sheets, towels and Monkeypox. Is another anti-viral textile boom on the horizon?

New York – Declared a national health emergency on Aug. 4, Monkeypox cases in the U.S. surpassed 10,000 this week.

The most common method of spread is through personal, skin-to-skin contact. Although less common, Monkeypox can also spread by touching fabrics such as clothing, bedding and towels that have been used by someone with the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Could this lead to a spike in demand for health & wellness home textiles similar to the one that grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic?

HTT reached out to manufacturers who developed targeted products during the COVID-19 outbreak well as producers of anti-microbial and anti-viral textiles treatments. Here are 3 things to know:

  1. Monkeypox is not on the buy-side radar – at least not yet. While a few manufacturers said they are following the issue, those contacted by HTT said unanimously that none of their retail or hospitality accounts have been asked about it.
  2. First things first. Should demand arise, the first logical step would be to test existing textiles treatments against the virus. However, those tests don’t come cheap. “A COVID test costs us about $25K to get done with our protocol. Monkeypox would be way more expensive,” said one manufacturer, who added that absent significant interest from buyers, testing is not worth the expense at this point.
  3. Few consumers are worried about Monkeypox. Whether this is a matter of pandemic fatigue in the aftermath of the protracted COVID-19 era or simply because confirmed cases are relatively small in number, surveys have consistently shown that less than 20% of consumers are concerned about contracting the virus.

Of course, the home textiles industry already has a fleet of products available in the market that foster cleaner, healthier living environments. So if something changes, suppliers will be ready.


Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Marks shares news and views from around the home textiles marketplace.