This study aims to develop uniform fabrics for different industrial environments. The study also saw the types and effects of microbes as well as chemicals used to protect the uniform fabrics against their attack under the environment of different corporate industries. This work reports the influence of Alkoxy alkylsilyl dimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride on anti-bacterial properties of cotton (C), polyester/cotton (P/C) and polyester/viscose (P/V) blended fabric samples. Fabric samples were treated with silane modified dimethyl octadecyl quaternary ammonium chloride compound by the pad-dry-cure method. The influence of this treatment on treated fabrics in terms of antimicrobial activity was measured as per AATCC 100 quantitative method. Improvement in the anti-bacterial activity was observed for all the fabric samples but the improvement in cotton fabric is worth mentioning. This work is a sincere attempt to prepare hygienic common textiles at economical rates using continuous application technique which offers durable efficacy against the human pathogenic bacterium.
Worldwide awareness in retail buyers about leaving healthy and hygienic life increases the demand for antimicrobial/antibacterial textiles. The antibacterial “feature” is quickly moving to a standard requirement for the products that they buy for day-to-day life. Manufacturers who don’t currently treat fabrics with a durable antimicrobial finish should consider shielding their products from eroding value by incorporating microbial control agent. As manufacturers look to enhance the value of their products, they should recognize antimicrobial finishes as a feature with a future and the future is now . Textile consumers all around the world are now becoming much more aware of the deleterious effects that micro-organisms may have upon textiles and upon human hygiene. Textiles are one of the main bacteria-carrying mediums. Textile fibres provide the perfect platform for the growth of microorganisms. Even different environments (hot, humid, and cold) lead to the growth of different bacteria. These bacteria/microbes on textiles often result in staining, decoloring of the fabric, and lead to bad odour [2-4].
In tropical countries like India, sweating bad odor on textiles is a common problem for the wearer, especially living in coastal cities. This has aggravated due to polyester-rich blends and global warming. Consumers are looking for garments free from bad odor
at the end of the day so that the frequency of washing would be reduced apart from the comfort factor. The problems caused by microorganisms have been widely aired in the media in Western Europe & North America and the medical textile sector, in particular, has welcomed the greater applicability of antimicrobial finishes to stem the presence of the microorganism. In the technical textile sector, antimicrobial finishes are recognized as very beneficial in preventing bio-deterioration of technical textiles, particularly of natural fibres, caused by the growth of moulds, mildew or rot-inducing fungi on the textiles when exposed to weathering. Another area of concern is the growth of microbes and dust mites in floor covering and the general protection of the consumer from insects and other pests. While there has been increasing awareness of hygiene issues and greater consumer demand for hygienic products there is also the wider issue of the presence of antimicrobials that may meet the human body [5-12].
Uniform garment wearers are exposed to an environment where there is microbial cross-contamination be it in schools, hospitals, pathological labs, food processing, milk processing, hotels, airline companies, IT companies, etc. This further aggravates microbial growth. Above microbial growth on uniform textiles and textiles in general causes problems like bad odour,
itching, yellowing and rapid deterioration of such textile products.
Hospitals and pathological labs are the breeding ground
for microbes due to blood, body fluids, stools, urine, etc. Medical
workers especially doctors and medical staff are prone to
contaminating their clothing with these microbes. Anti-bacterial
fabrics prevent the growth and spreading of such bacteria and
ensure that doctors and patients alike are saved from the socalled
hospital-generated diseases (“Nosocomial infections”).
Nosocomial infections occur because of harmful bacteria present
in the environment and fabrics in hospitals. The anti-bacterial
fabric also finds special importance in the hospitality sector where
freshness, cleanliness, and personal hygiene are of paramount
Employees working in food processing, dairy etc. would
normally stain their garments with food product/milk. This
would result in cross-contamination of the food products being
processed. For example, there are select few microbes which are
active in hotel environment, milk processing environment, etc.
Bacterial growth and spread because of foods in restaurants and
hotels lead to staining and foul odor from the garments. In such a
scenario, fabrics can generate great interest and demand among
chefs. Similar is the case in dairy industry where regular
contact of the garment with milk leads to growth of bacterial
activity which can be avoided using antibacterial fabric [13,17-
19]. Textile products like undergarments, home textiles, kids
wear, medical textiles, sportswear, etc. come in intense contact
with human skin. Hence, they are likely to be soiled with human
dead skin, sweat/ body fluids, dirt from the environment, residual
detergent, different finishes, etc. which form food for bacterial
growth. Also, perspiration causes the growth of bacteria and leads
to discomfort and smell. Hence, uniforms made from antimicrobial
fabric by uniform suppliers in Indian sure freshness and improved
performance by school children, industrial and corporate workers
To benefit from the consumer demand for antimicrobial/
antibacterial products and the antibacterial and antifungal
performance needs of the textile world, manufacturers have a
choice. In choosing, they should utilize a treatment that provides
for an odor reduction/antibacterial claim and an antimicrobial
finish for their textile products consistent with their claims and
the needs of their target consumers. This selection should be done
a) Adopting an antimicrobial technology with a proven
history of use. This will help shorten the timelines in bringing
products with an antibacterial/antifungal/odor-reducing,
antimicrobial feature to market.
b) Adopting a non-leaching antimicrobial that doesn’t
pose the risk of crossing the skin barrier. If it creates a “zone of
inhibition” it leaches or moves and has the potential to cause
c) Adopting a non-leaching antimicrobial that could
provide durable resistance against microorganisms.
d) Adopting an antimicrobial technology that can have
its proper application tested for at the mill or the retailers. A
verifiable quality assurance program should be a key component
of any application process.
e) Adopting an antimicrobial technology that has technical
and marketing support .
The bio-deterioration of textile fibres caused by
microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and algae present in
the air, water, and soil can cause multiple problems for textile
products. Changes in textile colours and in physical properties
such as breaking strength, elongation, and elasticity negatively
affect the applicability value of textiles from a hygienic and
aesthetic point of view. In the last few decades, the prevention
of microbial attacks on textile and wearers of textile materials
has become increasingly important to consumers and textile
producers. For instance, a market study in Germany revealed a
steady increase in the demand for antimicrobial fabrics. Therefore,
with a rising interest in personal health and hygiene, textiles with
antimicrobial properties are becoming an increasingly desirable
aim of textile manufactures [18,19]. In our earlier research,
 antimicrobial efficacy of Corporate Uniform against Human
Pathogenic Bacterium by Bio-Burden Test was reported. In
the present investigation, silane based quaternary ammonium
chloride (Zycrobial) was applied on Polyester/Viscose, Polyester/
Cotton blend, and 100% Cotton fabric by pad–dry-cure method.
Efficacy of the treated textiles against potentially found bacteria in
the different industrial environment was evaluated by quantitative
test- AATCC TM 100. The efficacy of the treatment was also
evaluated for durability for 10, 20, and 30 wash according to the
The three types of fabrics were selected for uniform fabrics
namely, Polyester/Viscose (P/V), Polyester/Cotton (P/C) blend,
and 100% Cotton (C). The detailed specifications for fabrics are
given in Table 1.
Alkoxy alkylsilyl dimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride
(Zycrobial) supplied by Zydex industries limited, Vadodara was
used throughout the study. Other chemicals viz., acetic acid, nonionic
detergent (R-77), and sodium carbonate were used supplied
by Zydex Industries limited. The ECE reference detergent (Nonionic
and without optical brightener) supplied by Kiran threads,
Vapi was used for BS EN 26330:1994 domestic washing method.
All chemicals used in this experiment were of analytical grade and
used without further purification.
Preparation of textile fabrics for treatment: To remove
the finish and other hydrophobic impurities from all the three
selected fabrics. The fabrics were treated with the bath containing
5 gpl non-ionic detergent (R-77) and 2 gpl sodium carbonate for
30 minutes at 80 °C temperature. The fabrics were then washed
thoroughly in running water, neutralized, washed again in running
water, and finally dried under shade. The pre-treatment process
was carried out in the LG Direct Drive washing machine. The pH
of the fabrics was checked to neutral before further processing.
Application of Zycrobial on fabric by padding technique:
Application of Zycrobial on fabric was done by padding technique.
In pad application, the fabric immersed in liquor contain the
required amount of antimicrobial agent (Zycrobial- 10 gpl) and
passes through the padding mangle at 2.5 kg/cm2 pressure using
laboratory two bowl padding mangle. The fabric was subsequently
dried and cured at room temperature.
The durability of the zycrobial treatment was evaluated by BS
EN 26330:1994 method using the domestic washing process. The
specimen was washed in an automatic domestic washing machine
by using ECE detergent. The process was repeated 20 times using
the same procedure of washing. After 10 and 20 washes the
samples were again tested for their efficacy against bacterium
using AATCC TM 100.
Antibacterial activity of the samples was evaluated by using
AATCC TM 100 method , four bacteria namely Bacillus
cereus (ATCC 11778), Escherichia coli (ATCC 35218), Klebsiella
pneumonia (ATCC 4352), and Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538)
as test bacterium. The size was set 1-2 × 105cfu/ml and sample of
the fabric for each bacterium was used such that it would absorb
1 ml of the bacterium. A plate count spread plate technique was
utilized for this bacterium efficiency test. The incubation period
was 37 °C for 24 hrs. List and details of selected pathogens are
given in Table 2.
In this study P/V, P/C and 100% Cotton fabric were treated
with antibacterial chemical and four types of bacteria namely
Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and
Bacillus cereus were selected for testing antimicrobial efficiency.
The antibacterial activity on P/V fabric is mentioned in Table 3.
It can be observed from the Table 3 that excellent antibacterial
activity against E. Coli, S. Aureus and B. cereus with >99% activity
and good activity (>96%) against K. Pneumoniae is obtained on
treated P/V fabric. Antimicrobial activity after 10 and 20 washes
against two common bacteria E. Coli and S. Aureus is found to
be high. The efficacy on P/V fabric against K. Pneumoniae and
B. cereus after 10 and 20 washes is comparatively lower than
other two microbes, however overall bacterial reduction is good
(> 65%). Table 4 shows activity on P/C treated fabric against the
four bacteria. Treated fabric shows very high level of antibacterial
activity, killing all the bacterial colonies for E. Coli, S. Aureus. K.
Pneumonia showed comparatively lower reduction (>94%) than
other three bacteria. P/C fabric after 10 washes for all bacteria has
> 70% efficacy and after 20 washes >60% efficacy. Table 5 shows
activity on 100% cotton fabric against four bacteria. Excellent
antibacterial activity obtained on cotton from 95% to complete
elimination of bacteria. 10 times washed cotton fabric showed
> 76% activity and > 60% activity after 20 washes. It is evident
from the results that Zycrobial treatment showed more than
60% bacterial reduction on all types of fabrics against all four
bacteria. Also K. Pneumonia showed higher resistance against the
In (Figures 1-4), the antibacterial activity of the Alkoxy
alkylsilyl dimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride (zycrobial)
treated P/V, P/C, and Cotton against four different bacterial
species is shown.
Zycrobial treatment at a very low dosage i.e., 10 gpl showed
high retentivity after 20 washing cycles as evident from the
antibacterial results. However, it is worth noting that the
treatment curing was done at room temperature to simulate the
existing drying-curing process at home or at a laundry. Alkoxy
alkylsilyl quaternary ammonium chloride compounds are reactive
molecule and forms bond with fabric after proper curing. As room
temperature curing is a slow process, so the curing takes time.
The reason for reduction of antibacterial activity after 20 washes
can be attributed to lower overall curing of molecule on the fabric.
Textiles made from natural fibres are generally more
susceptible to bio-deterioration than are synthetic (manmade)
fibres [22,23] This is because their porous hydrophilic
structure retains water, oxygen, and nutrients, providing perfect
environments for bacterial growth. Products such as starch,
protein derivatives, fats, and oils used in the finishing textiles can
also promote microbial growth. Micro-organisms may attack the
entire substrate, that is the textiles fibres, or may attack only one component of the substrate or grow on dirt that has accumulated
on the surface of a product. It can also be observed from the
results that cotton and P/C fabric showed over all good bacterial
reduction, however the bacterial reduction on P/V (synthetic/
regenerated cellulose) overall higher than other types of fabric.
Alkoxy alkylsilyl dimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride
(Zycrobial), a quaternary ammonium chloride compound can
be applied by an economical pad-batch technique on cotton,
polyester/cotton, and polyester/viscose blend fabric. The treated
P/V, P/C and Cotton fabrics showed around 95-100% efficiency
against E. coli, S. aureus, K. Pneumonia and B. Cereus bacterium
and good bacterial reduction (more than 60%) even after 20
washes. It suggests that the Alkoxy alkylsilyl dimethyl octadecyl
ammonium chloride treated textiles may be used routinely to
minimize transpersonal contamination in the environment. The
durability of antimicrobial treatment evaluated by standard
laundering illustrates the treatment provides protection up to 20
washes against all the four bacteria. A wide range of antimicrobial
agents is now available for the benefit of the textile consumer.
Treatment should also be given to uniforms, tents, defense textiles
and technical textiles, which do not meet the human body, but this
finish can be given to increase the life of the product.