Monitoring the Washing Efficiency of Stained Cotton Fabrics

The zeta potential serves as an indicator for stain removal of differently soiled textile fabrics and thus helps to optimize detergent formulations.

The success of textile fiber and fabrics processing strongly depends on their surface properties. The development of high-performance textiles, but also the applications of dye-stuffs or finishing agents require knowledge about the properties of the fiber surface.

Surface charge is a crucial parameter for the enhanced or suppressed interaction of an acceptable (detergent or dye-stuff) or undesirable component (proteins or simply dust particles) with the fiber surface. The zeta potential is an important indicator for the surface charge and reveals changes of surface chemistry of textiles when differently treated.

In below example the washing efficiency of stained cotton fabrics was monitored by zeta potential. Protein soiling of blood-stained cotton changes the zeta potential significantly compared to clean raw cotton. Even after washing the blood stained sample at 60 °C, a significant impact of the blood soiling remains on the cotton fabric.

The enhanced washing efficiency of an enzyme-containing detergent is approved by the zeta poten-tial. A comparison with the raw cotton characteristics indicates that the used enzyme (amylase) not only removes the blood soiling completely but also impurities of the raw cotton fabric such as pectins and waxes.

T. Luxbacher, T. Pusic, I. Petrinic, Proc 4th ITC&DC, ed. Z. Dragevic, 2008

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