Rethinking Healthcare

Germaphobes rejoice: Researchers invent germ-free spray

Germaphobes rejoice: Researchers invent germ-free spray

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To keep germs at bay, researchers at the University of Georgia have invented an anti-microbial spray which can turn clothes, uniforms, and linens into germ-free items after one application.

After a long, sweaty run, you dump your stinky clothes in the laundry basket. You head to the laundry room, but a glance at the clock reminds you that you're running behind schedule. Your clothes are a prime target for germs-the longer they are left in the laundry basket, the more likely they are to multiple and grow.

To keep germs at bay, researchers at the University of Georgia have invented an anti-microbial spray which can turn clothes, uniforms, and linens into germ-free items after one application. While the spray was created for the textile and plastics industry, researchers hope to be able to use this technology in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and private residences.

In a press release, researcher Jason Locklin said:

"The spread of pathogens on textiles and plastics is a growing concern, especially in healthcare facilities and hotels, which are ideal environments for the proliferation and spread of very harmful microorganisms, " said Jason Locklin, the inventor, who is an assistant professor of chemistry in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.

In an interview with SmartPlanet, Gennaro Gama, senior technology manager at the University of Georgia, explained how the spray can be used against germs and bacteria.

"The technology has been shown to be effective against a plurality of microorganisms, including both Gram negative and positive bacteria," said Gama. "It is aimed at controlling the spread of pathogens that are communicated by touch, such as salmonella, E. coli, and staph infections," said Gama.

Gamma also pointed out that if the antimicrobial layer is removed from a layer of clothing due to friction, it can be reapplied with a single spray.

This research was published in a paper for the June 2011 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

James Locklin did not respond to phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

Image: Wikimedia/Umberto Salvagnin

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Stacy Lipson

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer Stacy Lipson has written for Natural Health, MSNBC's Body Odd, HealthDay.com, Sprig.com, BNET.com, MarieClaire.com, MyDaily.com and Lemondrop.com. He holds a degree from Temple University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure