Fabric Frenzy
Kate Xu, Tayvie Van Eeuwen
R C Palmer Secondary
Floor Location : J 094 H

In this experiment the purpose was to see what types of clothing material allowed bacteria to grow the most. The hypothesis was that dri-fit fabric would allow the E.coli to spread and develop the most due to its breathable and wicking qualities. This would create a oxygen filled environment for the bacteria to thrive in. The experimentation took place over many days. Two drops of E.coli were placed on small pieces of fabric (polyester/fleece,cotton, denim, and dri-fit) and left for three days. The samples were then swabbed and observed over the following days for growth.

The results did not support our hypothesis. Polyester/fleece allowed the E.coli to develop the most. This is because the synthetic thickness of the material provided an environment where the E.coli would not evaporate and have a supply of oxygen. The fabric was able to lock in the bacteria and let it thrive. The results from greatest to least in growth was: polyester (fleece), dri-fit, denim, and then cotton. Another approach to this experiment was taken before these results. The same types of fabric (with a thinner polyester) were coated in a imitated sweat comprised of urea (a chemical compound that is protein in human sweat), water, and salt. After five days of the bacteria growing in the petri dishes the results were left inconclusive due to the lack of human skin for the sterile sweat to gain bacteria off of. As a source of error the partnership recognized that eye dropper method used to drop the E.coli onto the samples was possibly inconsistent. The force used in the squeezes was varying as the experimentation happened, perhaps affecting the results. This could have potentially been fixed by using the alcohol burner and an inoculating tube. This method could have made the process more exact.


This experiment was important to learn about because of its benefits to humanity. Every day people wear clothing and never stop to think about the bacteria it can carry. There are good and bad bacteria, however an excess amount can be harmful. Especially, to people with sensitive skin or skin conditions. An open wound with large amounts of bacteria entering it can be harmful, as well. Knowing what types of clothes are able to transmit and obtain bacteria the most can allow people to make wise decisions.