In the world of textile and garment, finishing plays a vital role for quality and value. In the abundance of various finishes, importance is given to antimicrobial finish since people take much care about health and hygiene. Hygiene has acquired more importance in recent years. Natural fibres are more susceptible to bacterial attack than synthetic fibres due to their porous and hydrophilic nature. The structure of natural fibers retains water and oxygen along with nutrients, thereby offering optimal enrichment culture for rapid multiplication of micro-organisms. On the other hand, direct contact with human body supplies warmth, humidity and nutrients, i.e., provides a perfect environment and optimal conditions for bacterial growth. The most troublesome organisms are fungi and bacteria. Under very moist conditions algae can also grow on textiles. Fungi creates multiple problems to textile including discoloration, stains and fiber damage, unpleasant odor and a slick, slimy feel. Besides, structure of the substrate and the chemical processes may induce growth of microbes. Humid and warm environment further aggravates the problem.
The present research work is aimed at developing an eco-friendly antimicrobial finish from neem and aloe vera plant for textile application. The neem and aloe vera extracts are applied on cotton and silk fabric and a study is conducted to assess the antimicrobial activity of the finished samples.