Harsh detergents destroy antibacterial particles found in athletic clothing, hospital gowns
DENVER — Life’s bleachable moments may be a death sentence for bacteria-busting silver nanoparticles.
The tiny metal balls that coat some recently manufactured athletic clothing and hospital gowns can crack and crumble when they’re washed in tough detergents that contain bleach or bleach alternatives, researchers reported March 25 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society. The finding suggests that fabrics toting antibacterial nanoparticles may not stand the test of time – or the laundry cycle.
Silver nanoparticles are commonly used to shield clothes from smelly or infectious bacteria. But scientists know little about what happens to the silver particles over time — neither whether the nanoparticles’ bacteria-repelling powers wane nor whether they release toxic silver ions into the environment.