The effect of chemical finishing on the microbial transfer from carpets to human skin and selected fabrics
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Microorganisms are commonly found in carpets during normal use and they can be transferred from carpets to human skin and textile materials through direct contact. To reduce the transfer of microorganisms from the carpets, chemical treatments (Humectant A treatment, Freepel 1225 treatment, and Sulfated 2-EH treatment) were applied to the carpets and altered their surface properties such as surface energy. The transfer of four microorganisms (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Aspergillus niger) from the treated and untreated carpets (loop pile and cut pile) to the receptor fingers and receptor fabrics (compression fabric, cotton knit fabric, and cotton woven fabric) was investigated in this study. The results show that the chemical treatment significantly influenced the microbial transfer. The transfer of microorganisms was decreased from carpets after the Humectant A treatment and the Sulfated 2-EH treatment. The transfer of microorganisms was increased from carpets after the Freepel 1225 treatment. The microbial species significantly influenced the transfer of microorganisms. Klebsiella pneumoniae was difficult to transfer from carpets. The transfer of Aspergillus niger was lower than that of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The transfer of Escherichia coli was higher than that of Staphylococcus aureus from the untreated and the Freepel 1225 treated carpets. The type of receptor fabric significantly influenced the amount of microorganisms transferred from carpets. The transfer of microorganisms from carpets to the cotton knit fabrics was highest, followed by the compression fabrics, and then the cotton woven fabrics. An airbrush method was developed to apply the microorganisms to the carpets. By examining LSCM images, most of the microorganisms were known to be located at the surface of carpets when applied to the carpet using this airbrush technique.