Levels of Bacterial Inhibition in Anti-Microbial Fabrics Before and After Laundering


  • Nikki Hickman


The purpose of this research was to determine if cotton fabrics treated with antimicrobial finishes would keep their antibacterial properties after being washed and dried multiple times. Antibacterial products became increasingly popular to the market of late, therefore leading consumers to believe there was a need for the finish to protect against bacteria. Hanes® FreshIQ™ was one prominent brand marketing this claim. The Hanes® tank tops were washed, dried, and tested at regular intervals to check for bacterial inhibition. A 100% jersey-knit cotton fabric was washed with a Hanes® FreshIQ™ tank to test antimicrobial leaching from one fabric to the other. The hypothesis was that cotton fabrics treated with antimicrobial finishes would lose their antibacterial properties after laundering. The independent variable was the antibacterial finish present in the FreshIQ™ technology. The dependent variable was the change in antimicrobial effectiveness after laundering. The characteristics of 100% cotton were considered. The history and composition of antimicrobial cotton fabrics were evaluated, as well as the influence of washing and drying fabrics. Leaching during washing was also evaluated. AATCC Test Method 147-2004 Antibacterial Activity Assessment of Textile Materials: Parallel Streak Method was used to test for bacterial resistance. The results of the test for antimicrobial activity show that the treatment for this garment is insufficient in terms of effectiveness. The conclusion was that Hanes® only used the antimicrobial label as a marketing campaign to sell more product. Recommendations were to test other antimicrobial branded items and to check for presence of agent.





Human Ecology