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July 13, 2021

Globally aligned test measures microfibre shedding

The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) has announced the public release of a globally aligned and standard test method to determine the level of microfibre shedding from fabric during domestic laundering.

By Beth Wright

The test method has been developed through collaboration between the University of
Leeds (UoL), European Outdoor Group (EOG) and TMC, along with the larger stakeholder network. It has been released publicly now to assist and encourage adoption by the international textile industry and beyond.

In November 2019, TMC and UoL unveiled the world’s first thoroughly tested, validated and internationally aligned method for measuring microfibre material loss from textiles, and outlined plans for developing a comprehensive fibre fragmentation database. Work on a pilot continued throughout 2020 and now the data portal contains detailed fabric specification information for more than 250 materials and yarns that were provided for testing, including about 170 knit fabrics and 80 woven fabrics, ranging in fabric weight from 6g/m 2 to 500g/m 2 .

Fabrics from over 70 global vendors were submitted thanks to samples sent by TMC brand, retail and supplier members. Data is all now hosted on the TMC Fibre Fragmentation Data Portal, in order to support the collective scaling of understanding.

The TMC Test Method uses ISO 105-C06 which specifies methods intended for determining the resistance of the colour of textiles of all kinds and in all forms to domestic or commercial laundering procedures used for normal household articles
using a reference detergent. It has been developed to use standard laboratory
equipment and provide accurate comparable data, in a manner that can be scaled commercially across a range of lab facilities.

Those wishing to utilise the test method can do so using TMC third-party laboratory members, which currently include SGS and Eurofins.

Sophie Mather, executive director of The Microfibre Consortium, explains how it was always the intention to publicly release the method for broader use across the textile industry.

“We are able to do so following a year of robust testing and use by our members, and with additional accreditation steps in place with the third-party labs. All of this has
been possible thanks to the collaborative nature of how the test method has been developed.

“We openly invite any organisations that are looking to utilise this method to submit results to the TMC Fibre Fragmentation Data Portal. This is a really important resource that is already being using by TMC members. Opening it up will increase the scale of understanding at a global level, which is an essential step as the textile industry seeks to reduce the level of microfibre shedding. Submitting data to the portal will help everyone to strengthen and expedite the actions that are needed to bring
about necessary change around the world.”

Verification, testing and certification company SGS was approved by The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) as its first third-party laboratory member in April.

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