Zinc oxide (ZnO) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) are prepared from their salts in form of aqueous suspensions to provide multifunctional cellulosic substrate. ZnO-NPs and TiO2-NPs are obtained in the range of 3–5 nm and 8–15 nm, respectively. Prepared suspensions are loaded onto knitted cotton fabrics and fixed using reactive softener and/or citric acid. Antimicrobial activity, ultraviolet protection (UPF) and self-cleaning in respect to metal oxides add-on to the fabrics are investigated. Fabrics treated with ZnO-NPs for 10 g l−1 (white fabrics) and 5 g l−1 (dyed fabrics) were cidal for both gram negative and positive bacteria. Using 5 g l−1 TiO2-NPs in the presence of reactive softener has a bacteriostatic effect and showed a decent bacteria reduction. TiO2-NPs showed the better UPF values than those of ZnO treated fabrics when it compared to the same fabric structure. Discoloration values of TiO2-NPs treated fabrics showed superior color fading over the ZnO-NPs treated samples.
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