|Abstract:||Maintenance of textiles is a common activity in every household all over the world. Laundering is one of the most important aspects and it involves the use of chemical and mechanical energy as well as time. The important contribution of each of these factors in the laundering process varies from one country to another and also among households.
In some parts of the world, such as the United States of America and western Europe, most people use washing machines to launder their clothes. This means that less importance is attached to mechanical energy. Whereas in the majority of the developing countries, the stress is on mechanical energy because laundering is done by hand and manual scrubbing. Time is also an important factor in both hand and machine washing. In machine washing, less time is spent on laundering and all the clothes in one load receive equal treatment. This means that heavily soiled vclothes may not be adequately cleaned. Research by Lambert and Sanders (1950) and Kissa (1973) has shown that the removal rate of dirt depends on the length of washing time. Time is not a problem where clothes are washed by hand but as people spend less time in the homes due to socio economic and industrial changes, it will become an important factor. Another important variable is the chemical formulations of the detergents. In developed countries, there is a large variety of detergents to cater for all types of fabrics, and various types and levels of soiling, while in developing countries, the choice is limited to a few varieties. Despite this, there are certain cleaning products such as OmoTM in Kenya, which are preferred by consumers because they are convinced that it performs better than the other laundering products. This preference is very evident from the complaints raised by consumers when there is a shortfall in the production or availability of the favored product even when similar products are readily available.
This is the case in Kenya where, due to the aggressive advertizing of the manufacturer, consumers have been led to believe that OmoTM is the best cleaning agent. Whether this is true is the question. When there is a limited supply of this product due to manufacturing problems such as shortage of petroleum, or difficulties in transportation, it is felt all over the country and people travel to other parts of the country in search of the preferred laundering product. Also due to the dependence on petroleum as the raw material, which is subject to price fluctuation in the world market, the consumer who believes in the superior performance of this product will go all the way to acquire it, even though there are less expensive alternatives. This attitude has been fostered due to the effective advertising techniques such as demonstrations by sales agents, advertisement through the media using slogans such as "Omo washes brightest and it shows."
As a consumer and a student of textile science, it is of interest to study objectively the relative efficiency of these cleaning agents in relation to their cost effectiveness.
To be able to do this, it is necessary to understand how the use of selected detergents from Kenya affect the appearance retention of fabrics. This can be achieved through the study of soiling, soil removal, soil redeposition, changes in color, fabric hand, dimensional stability and surface appearance. These are important properties of textiles because in most situations, clothes are discarded because of the loss in appearance though they are not worn out. Thus appearance retention is an important aspect of wear life.
The objectives of this study are:
1. To examine the efficiency of the preferred detergent
as compared to the other detergent types used in Kenya,
2. To evaluate the effects of these detergents on the
appearance of commonly used fabrics.
To achieve these objectives, detergents and fabrics commonly used in Kenya were acquired. The detergents included OmoTM, DynamoTM and PerfixTM. Cotton, an indigenous fabric in Kenya and a polyester/cotton blend fabric were acquired. Standard soil fabrics no. 405 from Test Fabrics Incorporated of New Jersey were also used to study the soil redeposition aspects of these detergents.
The methodological aspects in the study were soiling, soil removal and the evaluation of the efficiency of the detergents through spectrophotometric methods.