The market for stain protective apparel has grown significantly in recent years. Stain repellent garments have proliferated the casual wear market due partly to the fact that they provide better protection against spills than conventional clothing. However, an additional benefit is that stain protection reduces the frequency with which garments need to be laundered and dry cleaned – thereby saving time as well as reducing energy use, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
These garments are essential in applications such as medical clothing and industrial work wear where there is a need to prevent spills from penetrating a garment and reaching the wearer – especially in cases where such spills have the potential to cause harm to human health.
Manufacturers of stain repellent technologies are therefore stepping up efforts to develop products which are more environment-friendly. As part of those efforts, many are focusing on the use of fluorocarbons with shorter fluorinated chains based on C6 chemistry.
Researchers are exploring the potential of garments which are capable of cleaning themselves – or even of repairing themselves if they become damaged. Many will use biomimicry and seek inspiration from the natural world in their quest for materials and treatments which combine effectiveness, safety and eco-friendliness.