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Medical Gown Materials: Fabrics Guideline

Medical Gown Materials: Fabrics Guideline

It is crucial to provide healthcare workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) that not only protects them against the pandemic but is also comfortable to wear. Medical gown requires breathable fabric materials to prevent health professionals from being exposed to infectious fluids.

Suppliers must consider multiple factors when designing medical gowns. These include improving product sustainability, decreasing production costs, and providing comfortable gowns that are safe for healthcare users.


Analysis of Medical Gown Fabric Materials

Most medical gowns are made of this material, it is called non-woven synthetic fibers.
As protection levels increase, laminated materials are used to strengthen, reduce permeability, or make it flame retardant.

Sometimes, the barrier properties of single-layer materials may not be enough for certain medical procedures. To create composite materials, additional materials may be added such as coatings, reinforcements, and laminates.
You can also enhance product attributes to increase absorbency, slip resistance, or other desirable characteristics.


4 Common Types of Fabric Materials Used in Medical Gowns

  •  Polypropylene (PP)
  •  Polyethylene (PE)
  •  Polyester (PET)
  •  Spunbond Meltblown Spunbond (SMS)


Disposable Medical Gown vs. Reusable Medical Gown Materials

Gown Types  Disposable Gown
(Isolation Gown, Surgical Gown)
Reusable Gown
(Isolation Gown, Surgical Gown)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Spunbond Meltblown Spunbond (SMS)
  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Poly-cotton blend

*For Reference Only
The following contains examples of materials used in isolation and surgical gowns. Select the appropriate material based on the specific usage scenario and the associated risk levels.


Coating and Lamination

Coating and lamination provide additional fluid resistance, including antibacterial, antiviral, and other functional properties.



The most basic gown uses a single-layer spun-bond polypropylene (PP), and is breathable and comfortable.
It is used for basic patient care and medical or surgical unit maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, and acts as a barrier to non-hazardous cleanup in a dry environment.

Use single-layer when the expected risk of fluid exposure is low


Multilayers Fabric Materials

Multilayer fabrics are used to achieve specific objectives. For instance, outer layers are designed for puncture and abrasion resistance, middle layers ensure resistance to the penetration of fluids, and bottom layers provide comfort to users.

Name SMS
Spunbond Meltblown Spunbond
Spunbond+Meltblown x2+Spunbond Nonwoven
PPSB + PE coating
Polyethylene-Coated Polypropylene Spunbond
Laminated Details Tri-laminated

  1. Spunbond polypropylene (PP)
  2. Meltblown polypropylene (PP)
  3. Spunbond polypropylene (PP)
    layer thickness~0.1mm

  1. Spunbond (PP)
  2. Meltblown (PP)
  3. Meltblown (PP)
  4. Spunbond (PP)

  1. Polypropylene (PPSB)
  2. Polyethylene (PE)
  • High tensile strength
  • Softness
  • Comfortable breathability
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Lightweight

Waterproof and a barrier against bacteria, blood, and other liquids, as well as gas/steam transpiration.

  • Biodegradable
  • Breathable
  • Durable and tear-resistant
  • Dust-free filtration
  • Impervious
  • Liquid repellent
  • Non-irritating
  • Lightweight

Similar to SMS fabric features.

  • Coated with PE film
  • Waterproof
  • heat resistance
  • high tensile strength
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good moldability
Applications Widely used at high-class protection areas like medical, industrial, laboratory pharmaceutical use:

  • Isolation gowns
  • Patient gowns
  • Lab coats
  • Coveralls
  • Procedure gowns
  • Medical face masks
  • Boot covers
  • Aprons
  • Napkins and diapers
Widely applicable in conditions of fluid exposure ranging from moderate to severe:

  • Isolation gown
  • Surgical gown
  • Surgical Face mask
  • Shoe cover
  • Scrub suits
  • Surgical drape
  • Medical drapes
  • Medical equipment
  • covers
Widely used in the high level of fluid resistant area, to prevent biological hazards or liquid chemicals:


Polyethylene (PE)

PE is a single-layer plastic film that resists fluid. This fabric is highly durable, but has minimal breathability.
PE isolation gowns are used in situations where the patient’s blood, sputum, and breath may contain pathogenic bacteria, posing a potential threat to health and safety.

Polyethylene material is used in medical gowns to provide better resistance to fluid exposure.

PE Properties

PE is a synthetic fiber made from polymerized, polyethylene units. It’s often monofilament. However, it can also be made as a continuous filament yarn or staple fiber. PE yarn is inherently non-dyeable; however, it can be dyed by adding pigments to the melt during extrusion. PE can come in many different forms. The amount of branching in ethylene polymer units along the main chain will determine the structure. The fiber’s strength is determined by how much branching there is.

Typical Nomenclature for PE Includes:

  • Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)
  • Low-density PE (LDPE)
  • Medium-density PE (MDPE)
  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Ultra-high molecular weight PE (UHMWPE).


Polypropylene (PP)

A single layer of PP nonwoven fabric constitutes a soft cloth-like material that allows minimal exposure to fluids. Additionally, it acts as a protective barrier against harmful agents.

Polypropylene fabric can be affordable, comfortable, and breathable.

PP is a plastic that comes in many varieties which has the added benefit of being the least harmful to the environment. PP, a polymer that is inert and environmentally friendly, is gaining popularity across industries.

What Are the Most Appealing Features of Polypropylene?

Polypropylene has many great features including:

  • very durable and resistant to wear, water, and stains to withstand long-term, repeated use
  • being an excellent insulator because it has the lowest thermal conductivity among all synthetic and natural fabrics
  • resistant to bacteria, mildew and other microorganisms
  • high resistance to ignition (they can be ignited but are not combustible, their fire resistance can be enhanced by adding specific additives)
  • dyed polypropylene fibers are resistant to sunlight and are fade-resistant.

These incredible benefits are the driving force behind the widespread adoption of PP in various industries, including textiles, manufacturing, and the medical sector worldwide.


Spunbond-Meltblown-Spunbond (SMS)

SMS fabric has a unique trilaminate structure that provides high tensile strength and toughness. SMS is also soft, comfortable, and breathable. The material inherently serves as a barrier against fluids and particulates to protect its users.

  • • The spunbond layer consists of continuous filaments, offering good tensile strength and elongation.
    • The meltblown layer consists of continuous microfiber.

SMS is commonly used in laboratories, industrial applications, sanitation and the medical field.


Spunbond-Meltblown-Meltblown-Spunbond Nonwoven (SMMS)

SMMS fabric belongs to a type of laminated nonwoven with four layers. It is composed of two layers of spunbond and two layers of meltblown.

Similar to SMS fabric, SMMS features an additional layer providing enhanced fluid resistance, making it well-suited for extended use in conditions with moderate to high fluid exposure.


Polyethylene-Coated Polypropylene Spunbond (PPSB + PE coating)

PP stands for polypropylene, a thermoplastic known for its strength and ability to withstand high temperatures. PE, another thermoplastic, shares similarities with PP.
When the spunbond PP is combined with a PE coating, it provides an additional barrier for chemical resistance and waterproof performance. This standard fabric is designed for protection against microbial particulates and lighter fluid in non-toxic workplaces and grim work environments.

A lightweight material with increased fluid resistance protection.

What is Polypropylene Spunbond Nonwoven Fabric (PPSB)?

Spunlaid, commonly known as spunbond nonwoven fabric, is made from the continuous spinning of fibers, either directed with air streams or dispersed in a web-like shape. This process can significantly increase the production speed.
These materials are usually prepared in sheets or web structures and bonded through the entanglement of fibers or other filaments using thermal or chemical treatment methods, depending on the spunbond fabric manufacturer or supplier.
Nonwoven polypropylene fabric is a thermoplastic plastic polymer akin to PP, but it is designed to appear non-woven. It is used primarily in non-woven bags, interlining, face masks, healthcare coveralls, and isolation gowns, etc. It is becoming more popular in the fashion and healthcare industries.

10 Properties of Nonwoven Polypropylene Fabric

  1. Strong impermeability
  2. High tensile strength
  3. Strong chemical resistance,
  4. Corrosion resistance
  5. Mildew resistance
  6. Broad temperature range
  7. Long lifespan
  8. Good stability
  9. Non-toxic
  10. Water resistance


What is PE coating?

PE coating offers 3 key properties.

  • Waterproofing
  • Durability
  • Longevity

The primary benefit of PE-coated fabrics lies in their durability and resistance to mold and mildew, because such coating prevents moisture from entering, thereby eliminating the possibility of mold growth.


Customize Options for Medtecs Isolation Gown and Surgical Gown

We offer ODM/OEM service to help optimize the development of buyer’s medical gowns.
Medtecs is committed to create your product to the highest standards.
Here are the customization options currently available:

Fabric Types

  • SMS
  • SMMS
  • PP
  • PE
  • PPSB+PE coating

Taped Seams

  • Serged Seam
  • Bonded Seam
  • Heat Sealed Seam

AAMI Levels

  • AAMI Level 1
  • AAMI Level 2
  • AAMI Level 3
  • AAMI Level 4


Are you interested in understanding how Medtecs’ Cover U and isolation gown can provide protection for your employees and health professionals?

Our experts are just a click away, ready to guide you through the complex landscape of today’s healthcare safety regulations.



  1. A Review of Isolation Gowns in Healthcare: Fabric and Gown Properties. (2015, September 1). PubMed Central (PMC). 
  2. P. (2020, December 24). What is Polypropylene Spunbond Nonwoven Fabric? Is PP Spunbond Nonwoven Fabric Biodegradable? Park Non-Woven – Manufacturer of Non-Woven Fabric. 
  3. Corrosionpedia. (2017, October 10). Polyethylene (PE). 
  4. A. (2021, April 20). What is SMS Nonwoven Material for Disposable Patient Gown? Custom-Made Home & Hotel Textile Manufacturer. 
  5. R.I.C.H.A.R.D.H.O.Y.T. (n.d.). What Is Polyethylene Fabric? Hunker. 
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