Fabric containing a silver solution can help ward off infections in hospitals

Photo Credit: FastCo

Photo Credit: FastCo


Researchers from Australia have effectively turned cotton fabric into bacteria killers by impregnating the fabric with a silver solution. The solution works to kill bacteria in just ten minutes.

The team behind the finding suggest the germ-killing cotton would best be used in bed linens and surgical aprons to stop potential infections in their tracks.

"Hospital-acquired secondary infections are a major issue in health care settings," Vipul Bansal, an associate professor at RMIT University, told Fast Company. "One of the most common route of such secondary infections is through fabric-based materials such as linens and aprons. Pathogens can easily home in fabric-based materials. Antibacterial fabrics can act on the route cause of those infections."

In their experiments, Bansal and his team entwined slowly dissolving nano-wires into cotton fabrics, which then released silver ions over a five-day period. The fabrics were found to be successful in killing E.coli, but still needs to be tested on humans.

Bansal's team is also working on a bandage dressing that will stop bacteria from growing. 

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