Some Problems Involved in the Use of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds as Fabric Disinfectants
The current awareness of problems concerned with drug resistant strains of Staphylococcus and other bacteria includes an interest in the role of bedding, nightclothing, and other garments as means of transmission of these bacteria. Duguid and Wallace (1948 ), Ridenour (1950 ), Church and Loosli (1953 , Blowers and Wallace (1955) , and Ravenholt and La Veck (1956) are among those who have reported on the dangers of this type of transmission. Engley (1958) emphasized that Staphylococcus has
... ylococcus has remained viable on surfaces (including clothes) for several months. It is obvious, then, that proposed means of control of the spread of infection should include studies on both direct and residual disinfection of fabrics. Fabric disinfection in turn, involves a knowledge not only of the properties of the disinfectant but also of the physicochemical relationship between fabric and disinfectant. The quaternary ammonium compounds are among the chemicals frequently used in fabric disinfection. Goldsmith et al. (1956) reported on the importance of the weight-volume-concentration relationship in the adsorption of quaternary compounds on cotton gauze and on wool. To remove the starch and other foreign material from the fibers they desized the gauze with acid using the Textile Test Methods, Federal Specification 2610.2 (Federal Specification, 1953). Because of the possibility that the acid may have modified the adsorptive characteristics of cotton for the quaternary, it seemed advisable to investigate adsorption under other conditions. The purpose of this paper is: (a) to compare the amount of alkyldimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride adsorbed on undesized, acid desized, and enzyme desized gauze and muslin sheeting; and (b) to evaluate the bactericidal activity of the fabrics treated with quaternary. MATERIALS AND METHODS Three-gram samples of gauze (Curity2 cloth) and bleached muslin sheeting (at least 70 threads lengthwise and 60 crosswise) were used as standard test units. Samples of this weight were provided by four 4 by 5 in. pieces of gauze and two 4 by 5 in. pieces of sheeting.