Volume 31, Issue 1 (January 1986)
Effect of Garment Cleaning on the Recovery and Redistribution of Transferred Fibers
In an attempt to remove incriminating evidence, a criminal may wash or dry-clean articles of clothing worn during the commission of a crime. This would be expected to remove contact trace material that might be present. In this study, articles of clothing were subjected to hand washing, machine washing, and dry cleaning following the transfer of fibers to them under simulated contact conditions. All three methods resulted in fiber loss, but the percentage of transferred fibers remaining varied from over 70% for any acrylic garment to less than 5% for a nylon garment, reflecting the persistence properties of these fabrics. In general, machine washing resulted in the poorest recovery of fibers. In all cases very few fibers in excess of 0.5 cm were recovered and there was some evidence of fragmentation of longer fibers. Fibers were also moved or redistributed away from the area of contact during cleaning.