This page was printed from

Coating for textiles reduces growth of bacteria, viruses

Swatches | June 1, 2024 | By:

A colored image of the antimicrobial coating on a fabric sample, taken with a scanning electron microscope. Image: Empa

Researchers at Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), BASF, Spiez Laboratory and the Technical University of Berlin have created an antimicrobial coating for textiles that reduces or kills viruses and bacteria.

The coating, made with a benzalkonium chloride-containing disinfectant, was tested by incubating coated fabric samples with common hospital bacteria, including staphylococci and pseudomonas. Researchers found that the coating minimized the growth of bacteria and proved effective against viruses, killing more than 99% of viral pathogens.  

“The results of the laboratory tests were very encouraging,” says Peter Wick, a researcher at Empa’s Particles-Biology Interactions laboratory. “The hospital germs were significantly reduced or even killed after just 10 minutes of exposure.”

The researchers found that the coated samples had a shelf life of six months. Because the coating is easily washed away, they believe it could be useful for things like hospital curtains between patients or air filters, rather than patient gowns and bedding. 

This research was published in Scientific Reports in November 2023.

Share this Story