This study examined the effectiveness of home laundering with a fabric softener and commercial laundering with starch on the removal of pesticide residues from fabric specimens. A 0.2-mL aliquot of chlorpyrifos (0.5% AI, emulsifiable concentrate) was pipetted onto fabric specimens cut from two fabrics (100% cotton and 50% cotton/50% polyester) with two finishes (unfinished or fluorocarbon soil-repellent finished). Laundering treatments included commercial laundering with and without starch, and home laundering with and without fabric softener. The most significant factor in removal by laundering and in contamination level before laundering was the soil-repellent (SR) finish. The soil-repellent finish inhibited absorption of chemical on the controls; however, any treatment that involved laundering diminished the effectiveness of the SR finish. Pesticide removal was similar between the unfinished specimens and the SR finished specimens.
Additional aqueous solutions in commercial laundering did not result in greater residue removal. A single application of starch or fabric softener did not affect pesticide absorption. Starch and fabric softener were not shown to be effective laundry auxilaries in lowering pesticide residues and did not affect after-laundering residue levels when specimens had been laundered with these auxiliaries prior to contamination.