Lifelike experimental approaches to evaluate hygiene-related effects in laundry and home care
Since in the domestic setting hygiene has become an increasingly important topic, there is a need for innovative products for home hygiene which must act in a sustainable and highly efficient manner. Existing standard procedures for the determination of antimicrobial effects may not deliver satisfactory results, because they might have been developed for other areas than the domestic setting. To close this gap between “proven” and “perceived” hygiene efficacy, we developed a range of methods that enable a product efficacy testing very close to the real life situation and thus allows for a realistic evaluation of the microbiological performance. By these means, not only formula development and claims can be efficiently supported, but also may customers’ complaints be avoided or optimal dosage be achieved.
THE NEED FOR MICROBIOLOGICAL EFFICACY TESTING CLOSE-TO-LIFE
In the domestic setting, hygiene has become an increasingly important topic due to several developments that impact the microbial communities at home, their possible adverse effects and antimicrobial interventions, such as cleaning or laundering. Several home care procedures – apart from removing visible dirt – has ever since been a means to prevent microbiological problems, such as infections, malodour or other impairments caused by microorganisms. Nowadays, however, an existing traditional knowledge on how to conduct “hygienic” laundering or cleaning which has been passed on in different ways in many countries, is in conflict with other requirements (1). For example, laundering at high temperatures interferes with the need for more energy-efficient appliances and the use of antimicrobial substances such as chlorine bleach is questioned by eco-toxicological or regulatory demands (2). On the other hand, it must be assumed, that the need for hygiene will even grow, caused by a rising number of older people who are more prone to infections and will be cared for in the domestic environment (3 ...