An ecofriendly herbal antibacterial finish has been prepared from the plant extracts for textile utility. Microbial increase on a fabric cloth causes lack of strength and elongation, discoloration, and changes in appearance. The antibacterial finishing agents extracted from nettle plant leaf are accustomed impart finish to the cotton cloth through the use of the Pad-Dry-Cure utility technique. Herbal extracts from Ocimum sanctum (tulsi leaf) and rind of pomegranate (pomegranate) are carried out to cotton cloth through the strategy of direct application, micro-encapsulation, resin cross-linking and their combinations. All the treatments display good antibacterial properties for the fabric. Except the tactic of direct application, all different treatments show proper washing durability up to 15 washes. The surface morphological studies the use of SEM display the surface coating, microcapsules and a few fibrillation. The antibacterial activity of Aloe Vera finished fabric were qualitatively evaluated through AATCC-147 technique sixteen and scanning electron microscope (SEM) technique. It were observed that aloe vera gel finished cloth has much less bacterial adhesion. Evaluations of physical properties of the treated fabrics were done through monitoring the tensile strength, elongation, roughness, water absorbency (wettability). Finally, the treated fabrics were evaluated as antimicrobial and characterized through the mean of Scanning electron microscope (SEM).


Natural cotton means cotton that is grown without using any agriculture chemicals or any pesticides. This cotton is easily attacked by microorganisms, it causes the strength of the fiber, and elongation of the fiber looses and also changes in fiber appearance. Some treatments are done on textile material to improve the looks and quality of fabric that means finishing , but to improve the appearance, feel of the fabric and also make germ free fabric. Example -Waterproof, bullet proof, fireproof crease residents, antibacterial etc. Regular cotton is not clean and sometimes, it causes fungal infection on the human skin like rashes and skin disease. Due to this we can use antibacterial finishing agents. Antibacterial finishing agent means natural or synthetic substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria and algae. Antibacterial finished agent resistance against the positive gram bacteria, negative germ bacteria and mist. Some substance slowly release iodine like phenols and thiophenols, antibiotics, heterocyclic and anionic groups and related compounds, formaldehyde derivatives, and amines. These chemicals do not easily degrade in the environment, some of these are toxic to human. These chemicals cause cancer and other side effects. Use of synthetic product is quite risky and becoming problematic. So there is great demand antibacterial finishing agent based on eco-friendly, which reduce the ill effect of bacterial growth on textile material. Antibacterial finished cotton is used in medical application and hygiene products, air filters, ventilator, food packaging, water-purification. Nowdays, safety being very important, germ-free and bacteria-free clothes are the need of human beings. Antibacterial finishing agent can be applied by physical and chemical method and by adding functional agent on the fabric. Functional finish are two main type i.e. temporary antibacterial finish and durable antibacterial finish. Temporary antibacterial finish lose when it comes in contact with skin and body fluid or washing process, because of weak bonding of finishing agent with the surface of fabric. Durable finish achieved by adding antibacterial finishing agent into fiber in wet processing.

Synthetic finishing agents are Triclosan, metal and their salts, phenols, quaternary ammonium compounds, organometallics. Metal oxides like copper and zinc, titanium, magnesium, silver and gold. Natural Antibacterial Agents are sourced from Neem extract, Tulsi leaves, Aloe Vera Sericin, Chitosan, Tea tree, Cinnamon, Pomegranate rind, Eucalyptus, Periwinkle, Henna leaves. Others Sources of Eco-friendly Antibacterial Agents are Chitosan, Sericin, Tea-Leaves, Eucalyptus, Clove oil, Onion skin or pulp, Adzuki beans etc. These are the different natural source of antibacterial finishing agent.

Regular uses of Cotton

a) Making yarns, Beds, Apparel Materials like T-Shirt, Suits and Cotton Sarees etc.

b) It is used to make wick.

C) For Decorations, Making Doll, Home Appliances.

d) For Making Cotton Paper, Bookbinding, and Cotton Seed Oil.

Need of Antibacterial Finished

  • To avoid the Infection by harmful Microorganisms.
  • To control and kill the microbes.
  • To arrest metabolism in microorganisms in order to reduce the formation of odor.
  • To increase the strength, quality of fiber and also increase the elongation of the fiber.
  • To improve the shine of the cotton.
  • For making safe fabric.

For protection of cotton fabric there are many natural finishes are applied to cotton fabric these are listed below:

  1. Aloe-Vera Finish
  2. Neem Extract
  3. Tulsi Leaves

Aloe-Vera Finish

To produce eco-friendly and natural finish from Aloe-Vera extract for different textile materials. Citric acid and methanol are used application of Aloe-Vera finish to textile material. Concentration of antibacterial agent are 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 gpl.  Fabric treated with concentration 5 gpl Aloe-Vera extraction are excellent. Reduction of bacteria in this case up to 99%. Finish durability to washing of antibacterial property treated sample was 98% after 50 washing.

Neem Finish

To control the growth of bacteria and their negative effect like odors, stain etc. This finish is applied to fabric by two methods exhaust technique and pad-dry-cure method. The concentration of neem extract is 3gpl and 5gpl. As concentration of extract increase bacterial reduction also increase. The antibacterial effect on neem treated wool fabric was durable after 20 washing.

Tulsi Finish

Tulsi belongs to Labiates family. It consistuent are eugenol 70%, methyl eugenol 20%, carvacrol 3%, Caryophylin etc. It exhibited bacterial reduction of 73% in challenge test. Tulsi oil have the properties to resist the growth of bacteria. This oil is added into the size paste as preservative size for application of cotton yarn in lea form.

Antibacterial Finishing Methodologies

  • Exhaust technique
  • Spray technique
  • Pad-dry-cure method
  • Microencapsulation
  • Coating technique
  • Nano encapsulation

Exhaust Technique

This method is for application of reactive dyes as it is resistance to small changes of system variables. It involves two steps: Exhaustion and Fixation. During exhaustion dyes are exhausted from dye bath and come into the fiber phase. High electrolyte concentration is required to have adequate exhaustion of the dye. In presence of an alkali fixation of dye takes place. After the addition of the alkali, the migration of the dyes ceases and they start reacting either with the fiber or also with water molecules. After the fixation the treated fabric is thoroughly rinsed to wash off the loose unfixed dyes from the fabric materials.

Pad-dry-cure Method

Figure No 1. Padding Mangle

The use of structure with a minimum of one dimension of nanometer size for the development of materials, device or system significantly improved properties due to their Nano size. Nano particles are mostly used in commercial products in the range of 1-100 nm. They have unique physical and chemical properties. Silver Nano particles (AgNPs) shows strong inhibitory and antibacterial effects. Normally preparation of AgNPs using synthetic reducing agent associated with environmental toxicity.

Coating Technique

In this method the polymetic layer is Appling on one or both sides of the fabric. Different types of techniques are used for textile coating such as spray technique, application of nanotechnology, biotechnology, plasma technology etc. Coating enhance and extend the range of functional performance properties of textile.

Figure No. 2 Coating Technique

Spray Technique

Spray technique is that the polymer applied by spray on the fabric. This method is similar as coating technique. In modern spray dryers the viscosity of the solutions to be sprayed can be as high as 300 mPa.

Figure No. 3 Spray Technique


In this process, tiny particles or droplets are surrounded by coating to give small capsules with useful properties. Most microcapsules have pores with diameters between a few nanometers and a few micrometers. Coating materials are gum, carbohydrates, cellulose, lipids and protein.

Figure No. 4 Microencapsulation


The technology of packaging nanoparticles of solid, liquid, or gas, also known as the core or active, within a secondary material, named as the matrix or shell, to form Nano capsules.

Figure No. 5 Nano-Encapsulation

Evaluation of Antibacterial Activity

Table No 1.Evaluation of Antibacterial Activity

     Qualitative           Quantitative
Parallel Streak method

(AATCC 147-2004)

Bacterial reduction method

(AATCC 100-2004)

Agar diffusion plate method

(ISO 20645)



Parallel streak method

This method tests the ability of the treated textile to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. This is quick and easily executed qualitative method. It determines the antibacterial activity of diffusible antibacterial agent treated on textile material. This method is not suitable for samples that encapsulate and prevent the diffusion of the antibacterial agent or contain antibacterial-neutralizing substances.


A small piece of specimen is taken. Sterilized nutrient agar is poured into petri dish and allow to solidify. 24 hrs. old broth culture mixed with sterile distilled water. Gently press the specimen transversely across the streak. The streak lines should be continues without any break. Load one full loop full on diluted inoculum and mark the streak. Incubate at 37° – 2°C for 18-24 hrs.

Agar diffusion plate method

From this method, we can determined the effects of antibacterial agent applied on textile materials. This method is suitable for only diffusive test materials. It is easy to perform and simple.


Figure No. 6 Agar Diffusion plate method

The test specimen cut into the circular manner. Placed in pre-conditioning zone at room temperature for 12-24 hrs. Standard cotton fabric with no antibacterial activity used as negative control. Pour prepared petri dish and allow to solidify. Inoculate sterile molten nutrient agar with bacterial culture (upper layer). Sterilized nutrient agar is poured into sterilized petri dish and allow to solidify (lower layer). Press the test specimen on the agar surface. Incubate at 37°C for 18-24 hrs. The presence of antimicrobial activity is indicated by the absence of bacterial growth directly below the test sample.

Figure No.7 Agar Plate

Bacterial reduction method

The ability of fabric or textile material to inhibit the growth of microorganisms or kill them, over a 24 hour’s period

Figure No. 8 Bacterial Reduction Method

of contact. The assessment of antibacterial finishes on textile materials and fabric finish is determined by the degree of antibacterial activity. This method is used to demonstrate antimicrobial performance against standard bacteria. The standard microorganisms tested are Staphylococcus aurous and Klebsiella pneumonia. The test microorganism is grown in liquid culture. This method consists six main steps preparation of samples, sterilization, inoculation, incubation, washing/shaking out, and counting. Shape of treated swatches are cut in a circular from the fabric. Stack the swatches in a wide-mouth glass jar with screw cap. The amount of swatches to be used is depends on the fiber type and fabric construction. Swatches of an equivalent fiber type and fabric construction as test sample but containing no antibacterial finish (negative control). Sterilization of samples is the optional step. It depends upon the type of fabric. Apply the dilution on the test sample for 24 hrs so that recovery from un- treated control fabric swatches or treated test fabric swatches at “0” contact time. The dilution of the test organ- ism should be made in nutrient. Incubate additional jars containing inoculated untreated control swatches and jars containing inoculated treated test swatches at 37±2°C for 18-24 hrs. After incubation, adding of neutralizing solution to jars containing untreated control swatches and to jars containing treated test swatches. Shake a jars for one minute. Then compare the sample before test and after 18 hrs.

Application of antibacterial material on cotton

Herbal extracts from tulsi leaf and pomegranate rind have been applied to cotton fabric by the method of direct application, micro-encapsulation, resin cross-linking and their combinations. All the treatments show good antibacterial properties for the fabrics. Except the director method application, other treatment shows good washing durability up to 15 washes.

Different application of antibacterial finished cotton

  • Making Hygienic Garment: – T-shirt, pants, tracksuits, baby wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene pads, and antiseptic wipes etc.
  • Medical application: – surgical dressings, cosmetic purposes, beds,
  • It is used for medical purposes, dispensaries and nursing homes to absorb the body fluids.
  • For making sanitary pads or napkins.
  • To removing make-up and dirt in beauty salon.
  • For making cotton masks, hand gloves, socks, etc.

Result and Discussion

Antibacterial activity of Aloe Vera finished cotton fabric was evaluated qualitatively by Parallel Streak Method (AATCC 147-1998) bacteria. It was observed that there is no visible growth of bacteria (both Staphylococcus aurous and Escherichia coli) on the cotton fabric treated with 200 3% (w/v) Aloe Vera concentration. However, there is no clear zone of inhibition found around 201 the treated fabric.

For Aloe-Vera Finish

Table No. 2 Aloe-Vera Finish

Sr.No.BacteriaFinishing Agent Conc. (gpl)% of bacteria reduction after treatment

From the Table no. 2, it was found that higher the concentration of the finishing agent more protection level from the bacteria and due to natural finish there is very negligible side effect on the body.

For Neem Finish

Table No. 3 Neem Finish

Sr.No.BacteriaFinishing Agent Conc. (gpl)% of bacteria reduction after treatment

For Tulsi Finish

Sr.No.BacteriaFinishing Agent Conc. (gpl)% of bacteria reduction after treatment


As compared to synthetic, natural and eco-friendly antibacterial finishing agents are excellent for textile material. Natural antibacterial agent exhibit higher efficiency. In Pad-Dry-Cure treatment 99-100% reduction in the count of test bacteria. Synthetic antibacterial finishing agent are toxic, not easily degradable, poor laundering durability, the physical properties like strength of the fabric, elongation and moisture absorbency increase. The specimen treated with the solution containing 5gpl aloe-vera showed excellent anti-bacterial activity. The finished durability to washing of antibacterial property of the aloe vera gel treated sample is about 97 % after 20 washing cycle. But compared with aloe-vera finish, thatwashing durability of tulsi and neem finish is very poor.


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