Textile finishing determines the final appearance and aesthetic qualities of a textile. It may also modify a variety of physical and chemical characteristics of textile materials in response to consumer needs. Textile finishing is the final stage in changing the quality of a fabric in terms of appearance, handling, and functionality by mechanical and chemical means. Textile finishing has evolved through time into the process by which textile resources are converted into technical textiles. Developing multifunctional fabrics that are highly efficient, durable, cost effective, and made in an ecologically sustainable manner is undoubtedly the future trend in textile finishing.

The finishing sector comprises operations such as the textile industry’s processing and functionalization unit, which is a high-cost, energy-intensive, and hazardous chemical-demanding process. Sustainability is a critical aspect that must be addressed to address the many problems provided by the textile industry in terms of regulating the use of water, electricity, hazardous chemicals, and so on. Textile finishing in a sustainable manner may be accomplished using environmentally friendly techniques.

Textile Finishing Techniques that are Eco-Friendly

  1. Antimicrobial finish derived from natural ingredients:

Antimicrobial materials are widely utilized in a variety of applications, including surgical gowns, undergarments, and infant wear. Antimicrobial treatments are now being applied to traditional clothing and household textiles. Antimicrobial agents kill or prevent pathogens from developing, and their effects are regulated. Because of the presence of carbohydrates in the fibres, bacteria may readily destroy cotton and other natural fibres. Antimicrobial-finished fabrics are utilized in a variety of goods, including athletic equipment, footwear, medical textiles, furniture, automotive textiles, intimate clothing, and others.

The presence of microorganisms in textiles causes odor and discoloration, as well as health problems. Microbial infections cause inflammation, allergies, and skin diseases; thus, clothes worn next to the skin should be antibacterial. Natural antibacterial compounds-based eco-friendly antimicrobial fabrics are becoming increasingly popular. Many plants contain compounds that, when applied, have an antibacterial effect, such as tannin, flavonoids, and terpenoids. They can act as both a bactericide (killing the bacterium) and a bacteriostat (preventing the microorganism from growing).

  1. Plasma completing processing

Plasma treatment is a physicochemical approach for surface modification that changes the surface both physically and chemically while leaving the material’s bulk characteristics intact. The plasma surface modification concept is as follows:

The plasma atmosphere is made up of free electrons, radicals, ions, atoms, molecules, and different excited particles, depending on the plasma gas involved. The interaction of these excited species with solid surfaces placed in plasma reactors causes chemical and physical change of the material surface.

All the active species react with the surface of the substrate, resulting in chemical functionality on the surface. Furthermore, the reactive particles produced react directly with the surface of the treated substrates without altering their bulk characteristics.

Cold plasmas, also known as non-thermal plasmas, are used extensively in a wide range of textile applications. Cold plasma is used to cure textiles either under vacuum or at atmospheric pressure. Without a doubt, plasmas are the most effective surface treatment treatments.

The following features differentiate plasma:

  • Because plasma is utilized at a low temperature, the possibility of fabric damage is reduced.
  • The ability to apply plasma over a wide range of thermal, physical, and chemical temperatures enables fine-tuning of fabric surface treatments.
  • Because of its dry treatment procedures, plasma is an ecologically friendly alternative.
  1. Nanotechnology implementation: 

Nanotechnology is one of the most sustainable technologies in the dyeing and finishing business. This technique employs textile fibres with sizes ranging from 1 to 100nm. When applied in textiles, nanotechnology has already demonstrated the ability to increase the surface area of individual threads. The long-term use of nanotechnology in the textile sector can minimize the use of hazardous and toxic chemicals that affect the environment. Water and beverage repellent protective coating is applied to nano-processed garments. Their protective layer is not visible to the naked eye.

When a material is transformed at sizes of about 100 nm, the structure of treated clothes becomes more compressed. As a result, clothing becomes stain- and dirt-resistant. This saves time and money on laundry. Technology is embracing environmentally beneficial features. Nanomaterials provide for superior ventilation and moisture absorption, resulting in enhanced breathability while retaining traditional materials’ pleasant hand feel. The crease-resistant function aids in the appearance of your garments. Toxins are not present in these Nano-processed products. Garments are more durable than usual fabrics and maintain their bright and new appearance. Manufacturing expenses are low, resulting in increased output.

  1. Ultrasound-based finishing: 

The procedure employs zinc oxide nanoparticles as an active medium and is based on the physical phenomenon of acoustic cavitation, which occurs when a solution containing nanoparticles is exposed to ultrasound, causing small bubbles in the solution to form, expand, and collapse in a matter of seconds. As a result, high-energy microstreaming patterns travel at a pace of around 500 meters per second. These particles are transported and securely embedded in the fabrics. This unique system enables maximum process reliability, productivity, sustainability, ease of maintenance, and cost effectiveness.

  1. Sustainable UV technology:  

Ultra-Violate exposure at low concentrations helps in killing the pathogens and others disease causing microbes. However, UV radiation causes wrinkles, skin damage, blisters, ageing, and other problems in the skin layer. As a result, UV protection gear has gained popularity in the textile sector. UV protection finishing is used in the fabric to counteract these negative effects. Several natural sources derived from mulberry, grapes, tulsi, aloe vera, honey, almonds, and other plants are used in the synthesis of UV protective garments to increase sun protection.

Conclusion:

Traditional finishing processes have a harmful impact on the environment. As a result, the need for long-term solutions is growing by the day. Some environmentally friendly techniques, such as plasma technology, nanotechnology, and UV technology, are being used in the textile sector. As a result, with the developing idea of sustainability, sustainable dyeing and finishing techniques in the textile industry have received a lot of attention.

Bibliography:

Author:

Ms. Kshipra Gadey,

Textile Value Chain