Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Fabric Reduces Hospital Infections – and Puts an End to Smelly Socks

A new antibacterial fabric that can kill a range of infectious bacteria within 10 minutes could significantly reduce the risk of deadly hospital-acquired infections and revolutionise the way the medical industry deals with infection control.

Secondary infections can be a deadly complication for hospital patients, but A/Prof Vipul Bansal of RMIT University said that the antibacterial fabrics could prevent nasty disease-causing bacteria to stick to and grow on their surface – creating an infection-free environment. “There is potential for special bedding, linens and surgical aprons on which bugs and bacteria do not grow, so we can maintain an infection-free environment in our healthcare settings,” he said.

“We may also have dressings and band-aids that can kill bacteria in the wound, resulting in faster healing. These will all have a major impact on the cost of the Australian healthcare system.”

Bansal said the next generation of smart textiles will be free from bacteria and odour and have a range of potential applications from clothing to sporting gear and uniforms – putting an end to smelly socks.

The results have been published in Advanced Functional Materials.