Waterproofing natural textiles: non-toxic and breathable

Photo: Valeria Azovskaya


Natural and human-made cellulosic fabrics are an excellent alternative to fossil-fuel-based materials so popular today. However due to their structure, such natural textiles usually absorb water rather than repel it.

A group of chemistry and arts researchers at Aalto have now developed an ecological approach to waterproofing fabric. By combining anionic carnauba wax particles in water with a commercially-available cationic starch, this natural and non-toxic coating can be applied to textiles by spraying, dipping, or brushing onto the surface. The coating sticks to cellulose-based textiles but still allows the fabric to breathe, making such fabrics comfortable for the wearer.

In addition, researchers combined this waterproofing technique with color dyeing, both before or after the clothes are made, giving design and function control to the wearer or the textile manufacturer.

Read more and see a short video at aalto.fi.

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