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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #300577

Title: USDA research enables total quat release from cotton nonwoven disinfecting wipes

item Condon, Brian
item OSTEEN, KEITH - Smith, Johnson & Associates

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2013
Publication Date: 1/6/2014
Citation: Condon, B.D., Osteen, K. 2014. USDA research enables total quat release from cotton nonwoven disinfecting wipes. Nonwovens Industry. 45(1):38-42.

Interpretive Summary: Disinfecting wipes products have gained significant consumer and institutional market share in the past 10 years. The most common disinfecting agents used in these products are quaternary ammonium compounds commonly referred to as “quats” and the wipe fabrics themselves are made mostly from polyester or polypropylene. Industry’s ability to include cotton fiber is limited because of the very strong affinity between cotton fiber and quats which is far greater when compared to synthetic fibers such as polyester or polypropylene. This excess adsorption effect with cotton renders the quat ineffective in disinfecting contaminated surfaces because the quats do not transfer onto these surfaces when a cotton wipe is employed. Cotton brings many desirable performance characteristics to these wipes fabrics such as absorbency, scrubability and biodegradability. This study has demonstrated that cotton may be used in these disinfecting products if a few simple inexpensive changes are made to the cleaning formulations

Technical Abstract: The adsorption of alkyl-dimethyl-benzyl-ammonium chloride (ADBAC), a cationic surfactant commonly employed as an antimicrobial agent, on various cotton, cotton-blend, and synthetic nonwoven fabrics was investigated at varying surfactant concentrations using UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy. Modifying cleaning solutions intended for use in wet wipes type disinfecting products to include nonionic surfactants, inorganic salte, low molecular weight quats and alcohols was found to reduce or eliminate the excess adsorption effect.