The use of antimicrobial compounds in textiles has grown dramatically over the last decades. The potential application field is wide. It ranges from industrial textiles exposed to weather such as awnings, screens and tents; upholstery used in large public areas such as hospitals, hotels and stations; fabrics for transports; protective clothing and personal protective equipment; bed sheets and blankets; textiles left wet between processing steps; intimate apparel, underwear, socks and sportswear. Another large field of application is in filtration and disinfection of air and water for white rooms, hospitals and operating theatres, food and pharmaceutical industries, water depuration, drinkable water supplying and air-conditioning systems. The present chapter is a review of recent research works related to antimicrobial finishes for textile materials. Several examples of antimicrobial treatments (e.g. traditional pad-dry-cure technique, exhaustion bath, encapsulation, electrospinning, cross-linking, etc.) were reported. The antimicrobial agents were divided by their origin from synthesis or from natural sources. Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), Triclosan, metals (including metal oxides and salts), polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB), N-halamines and conjugated polymers (i.e. polypyrrole) were listed as synthetic biocides in textile applications. Extracts from plants (e.g. aromatic compounds, essential oils and dyes), antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and chitosan were considered among natural-based biocides.
Part of the book: Antibacterial Agents