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Home / Knowledge / Article / Antimicrobial Finishing on Cotton Fabric with Mint Stem Extract

Antimicrobial Finishing on Cotton Fabric

with Mint Stem Extract

Written by: N. Saranya and G.Bagyalakshmi


Textiles have always played a central role in the evolution of human culture by being at the forefront of
both technological and artistic development. The protective aspects of textiles have provided the ground
for innovative developments, (Aswini et al 2010). Textiles have such an important bearing on our daily
lives that everyone needs to know something about them. From earliest times, people have used textiles of
various types for covering, warmth, personal adornment, and even to display personal wealth. Today,
textiles are still used for these purposes and everyone is an ultimate consumer, (Singh 2008). The
consumers are now increasingly aware of the hygienic life style, and there is necessity and expectation for
a wide range of textile products finished with antimicrobial properties, (Ramachandran et al 2004).

"Consumers are looking for solution to odour and microbial problem and the unique benefits provided by
antimicrobial problem and the unique benefits provided by antimicrobial finish" (Aswini et al, 2010). The
name textile finishing covers an extremely wide range of activities, which are performed on textiles before
they reach the final customer. Many natural dyes obtained from various plants are known to have
antimicrobial properties, (Ramasamy et al 2011).

However, all finishing to increase the attractiveness or serviceability of the textile product, (Horrocks et al
2000). Originally the word "textiles" meant "simply woven fabric" the meaning has changed over the
years and the word is now used more generally, (Thomas 2012).

Bacteria are unicellular organisms, which grow very rapidly under warmth and moisture. Sub divisions in
the bacteria family are Gram positive (Staphylococcus Aureus), Gram negative (E.coli), spore bearing or
non-spore bearing type. The growth of microbes on textiles during use and storage negatively affects the
wearer as well as the textile itself, (Zahid Zaheer et al 2010). Clothing normally used is prone to microbial
attack because of higher amount of surface area and presence of moisture, (Kavitha et al 2007).
Obnoxious smell from the inner garments, spread of diseases, staining in textiles and degradation of
clothing are detrimental effects of bad microbes. Though the use of antimicrobials have been known for
decades, it is only in the recent couple of years that attempts have been made on finishing textiles with
antimicrobial compounds. Antimicrobial textiles with improved functionality find a variety of applications
such as health and hygiene products, specially the garments worn close to the skin and several medical
applications, such as infection control and barrier material, (Joshi et al 2009).

Antimicrobials of plant origin have enormous therapeutic potential. They are effective in the treatment of
infectious diseases, while simultaneously mitigating many of the side effects that are often associated with
synthetic antimicrobials. Researchers are increasingly turning their attention to the medicinal plants and
it is estimated that, plant materials are present in or have provided the models for 25-50% western drugs.

To determine the antimicrobial effect of Mint stem.

To optimise and evaluate the parameters for antimicrobial finishing.

To treat the cotton fabric with selected source and evaluation

Materials and Methods

Selection of Source
The Mint Stem is collected from the local market. The stems were cleaned, washed and dried under shade.
The dried stems were powdered.

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Methods of Extraction
A total of 30g of Mint stem powder was weighted and taken in a soxhlet tube. A little cotton is inserted in
the extraction tube and above the cotton, mint stem powder is added. 300ml of ethanol solvent is added
in the bottom flask of soxhlet extractor. Then the soxhlet temperature is set to 40 C and the extractor is
switched on, the process is carried out for 24 hours. This process is repeated five times.

2.3 Antimicrobial Activity Assessment

Petri plates containing 50ml Nutrient Agar solution and streaked within 24 hours culture of E.coli and
S.aureus bacterial strains. The petri-plates were also sterilised in hot air oven at 110C for 10 minutes.
Then the fabric was treated with Mint stem extract is placed on petri-plates. The plates were then
incubated at 37C for 24 hours. The antibacterial activity was assayed by measuring the diameter of the
inhibition zone formed around the fabric. (Plate VII, VIII, IX)

The 50ml of Sabouraud's Dextrose Agar was prepared in a conical flask and sterilised in autoclave for 30
minutes. The petri-plates were also sterilised in hot air oven at 110C for 10 minutes. Then 25ml of
Sabouraud's Dextrose Agar was poured into each of the plates and allowed to solidify. After solidification
the plates were streaked parallel with C.albicans fungi strains. Then a small piece of fabric treated with
Mint stem and untreated fabric were placed above the streaked plates. The plates were kept at room
temperature for three days. After three days, the antifungal activity was assayed by measuring the
diameter of the inhibition zone formed around the fabric.

Fabric Treatment with Mint Stem Extract

Ultrasonic Automiser
Wide Track ultrasonic spray systems apply performance for textile finishing's, including flame retardant
coatings, water and oil repellent coatings, anti-microbial, and anti-stain finishes. Ultrasonic spray
replaces inefficient dip or padding methods with uniform thin film ultrasonic textile coatings. Wide Track
systems are designed to fully integrate with existing manufacturing lines, and have been proven

worldwide in high volume textile manufacturing. Therefore Ultrasonic Automiser was used for finishing
on cotton fabric. A small amount of solvent was passed through the Ultrasonic Automiser sprayer tube for
cleaning the tube. After that the Mint stem extract is filled in the beaker of the Ultrasonic Automiser. Then
the extract is pumped and passed through the sprayer finally the mint stem extract is sprayed evenly on to
the fabric. Then the fabric is dried in shade.

Padding Mangle
In order to obtain consistent chemical application, the nip pressure should be uniform across the fabric
width. The solution level and temperature in the pad should be constant and the fabric speed should not
vary throughout the application process (Schindler et al., 2004). The finishing solution was prepared by
mixing the solvent extract (20 ml/l) with liquor ratio 1:80. The cotton fabric was placed in the finishing
solution and there for 20 minutes. Then the fabric was taken out and padded in the padding mangle with
80 per cent wet pick up to get an even distribution of finishing and was then air dried at room
temperature. The wet pick up or per cent expression was calculated as follows:

Where W= weight of the fabric after padding, and W= weight of the fabric before padding (Kim, 2011).

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Written by: N. Saranya and G.Bagyalakshmi
Finishes are often pad applied to dyed or printed fabrics after a drying step. In this method, dry fabric was
passed through the chemical finish solution and the process was called 'wet on dry' process. The wet
pickup of a chemical solution in a pad mangle is influenced by many factors such as fabric characteristics
machine settings or emulsion properties.

Dip Dry
The fabric was dipped into the extraction solution for 30 minutes. After that the dipped fabric was taken
out and dried in the shade.

Results and Discussion

The general appearance of the fabric was excellent in the entire sample. The texture of the fabric was rated
as soft. The brilliancy of colour was medium. Evenness of the fabric was also rated to be even. Fabric
weight and thickness of the fabric increased in all sample. The strength in warp and weft direction

increased irrespectively. Elongation of the fabric decreased in both warp and weft direction. The abrasion
resistance of the fabric increased in the entire sample after treatment. Treated sample showed slight and
no pilling. Stiffness of the fabric increased in both warp and weft direction. The crease recovery increased
gradually in warp and reduced in weft direction of the entire samples. Drapability of the fabric improved
in the finished sample. Wicking property in warp and weft direction has increased.

The absorbency rate is increased in the entire sample when subjected to sinking test and drop test. The
antimicrobial treatment with Mint stem showed adherence of colour to the fabric with moderate and fair
color fastness properties.

Antimicrobial Activity Test

Zone Formation in mm

E. coli (mm)

S. aureus (mm)

C. albicans (mm)





UA 1



UA 2







PM 1


PM 2










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The fabric treated using Ultrasonic Automiser showed 10mm zone of inhibition of against E.coli and
15mm for both S.aureus and C.albicans. After washing of the same fabric the activity was assessed and the
zone formation was observed to be 8mm for E.coli and 12mm for S.aureus and 10mm for C.albicans where
as in second wash 7mm for E.coli, 10mm for S.aureus and 13mm for C.albicans of zone formation was
observed. (Plate I, II, III)

The fabric treated using dip and dry method showed zone of inhibition of 12mm for E.coli, 12mm for
S.aureus and 15mm for C.albicans. After first washing, the activity was studied and the zone formation
was observed as 8mm for both E.coli and S.aureus and 10mm for C.albicans whereas after second wash
7mm for E.coli, 5mm for S.aureus and 13mm for C.albicans of zone formation was observed. (Plate VII,

FTIR Test:
The result of FTIR states that the treated fabric with ethanol has the broad peak in the
region 2925.74 cm-1 this may be due to O-H stretch and C-H stretch (because sample has
been recorded in liquid form in ethanol solvent). Apart from this the prominent peak

was formed at 1458.09 cm-1 and 1165.53 cm-1. This may be due to the presence of O-H
bend and C-O stretch of extract. These bonds reveal the probability of antimicrobial
activity. Since the peak levels are higher in ethanol extraction it was selected for the final
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The SEM image of the untreated cotton fabric is presented in Figure 11 (a). It can be observed that the
surface of the fabric appears to be smooth. The surface appearance of treated cotton fabric is shown in
Figure 11 (b), 11 (c), 11 (d) and 11 (e). In the Figure 11 (b), 11 (c), 11 (d) and 11 (e) the microscope views as
follows 100m, 50 m, 10 m and 2 m. the micrograph shows that the Mint Stem extracts are well
coated on the cotton fibre surface.


The extract from Mint Stem is the best suitable for the treatment of cotton fabric for Antimicrobial finish.
The treatment of the fabric with the Mint Stem extract gave a pale green colour with moderate colour
fastness property too. Use and throw antimicrobial products could be created by treating the fabrics with
the Mint Stem extract.


Micro encapsulation of Mint Stem powder could be tried for textile finishing.

Medical textile products could be developed with Mint stem extract treated fabric.

The author wishes to thank South Indian Textile Research Association (SITRA) And South Indian Mills
Association (SIMA), for providing the library facilities.

1. Deepti Gupta and Somes Bhaumik (2007), Antimicrobial treatment for textiles, IJFTR, vol. 32, pp. 254263.
2). Essawi T and Srour M (2005), Screening of some Palestinian medicinal plants for antibacterial
activity, J Ethno Pharmacol, vol. 70, pp. 343-349.

3). Gouda, M. (2006), Enhancing flame resistance and antibacterial properties of cotton
fabric, Journal of industrial textiles 36 (2): Pp167-177
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