Positioned as a new treatment to help keep fabrics pure, clean and fresh, Purista, the branded antimicrobial treatment from Avecia Protection and Hygiene, is already generating interest from manufacturers looking to create new or enhance existing products and brands.

Now, new research conducted by the company shows that towels treated with Purista will not only remain fresher between washes, but also offer users the possibility of reducing wash frequency, so saving time, energy and water.

In the tests at Avecia's research facilities in Manchester, towels were treated with Purista, washed 50 times at 50ºC using a standard reference detergent and tumble-dried after each wash. AATCC 100 antibacterial tests highlighted that even after 50 washes and dries, Purista was still effective at controlling the bacterial growth that leads to stale odours.

These results also have significant implications for modern laundering practices which favour water-saving rinse cycles and lower washing temperatures - both of which allow higher levels of bacteria to survive on fabrics. Any overloading of the washing machine also reduces effectiveness, favouring bacterial survival.

The laboratory trials were supported by more qualitative research undertaken amongst gym members, who kept damp towels in sports bags for several days. Although a strong odour would normally develop after around 72 hours, some users confirmed that their towels still smelled clean after 2-3 weeks.