In the CleanCloth project, the aim is to develop a superior cleaning cloth with constant and continuous antibacterial effect, ensuring that no bacteria are left in the cloth and making bacterial re-growth impossible, eliminating the need for using special and time consuming hygiene procedures. This will be accomplished by a unique technology with antibacterial agent integrated into the microfiber of the cloth. The advances in this technology will allow significant reduction of cross contamination and bacterial re-growth.
Infectious diseases arising in the domestic setting are a significant concern. Although a proportion of these infections are caused by direct person-to-person interaction or consumption of contaminated food, evidence shows that a significant amount of infections, not only food-borne but also person-to-person, relate to cross contamination via hands, surfaces or other bacteria containing objects such as the kitchen-cloth.
In Europe, there are about 24 million cases reported of illness due to microbial contamination reported annually. However, studies demonstrate that this number is actually much higher, probably ten times higher, due to the mild cases not being reported. Of the reported cases of illness due to microbial contamination, more than 800.000 resulted in consultancy in the emergency department of a hospital, approximately 170.000 were hospitalised and 6.500 deaths are reported annually. The primary causes of diseases due to microbial contamination include
- Salmonella – 92.300 cases of hospitalisation and more than 3.000 deaths
- Campylobacter – 34.000 cases of hospitalisation and 150 deaths
- Parasites – 5.000 cases of hospitalisation and 400 deaths
- Listeria – 3.500 cases of hospitalisation and 900 deaths
Diseases caused by microbial contamination are especially hazardous for people with reduced immunity to infection, such as the elderly, newborns, pregnant women and discharged hospital patients.
Food contamination creates an enormous social and economic strain on societies. The possibility of reducing absence from work and hospitalisation due to hygiene related sickness would have a great positive impact on the economy, both through the savings achieved in the companies experiencing absence of employees due to sickness and through savings achieved by reduced hospitalisation frequency. Social impact studies demonstrate that diseases due to microbial contamination directly cause approximately 14.000 man-years being lost in Europe annually, representing an estimated cost of more than 50 billion Euro in medical costs and lost productivity.
The overall project objective is the development of an intrinsically antibacterial cloth based on microfibre providing a constant and continuous antibacterial effect ensuring that no bacteria are left in the cloth and making re-growth of bacteria impossible.