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ISO Launches New Test Method to Determine Material Loss from Fabrics During Washing

SafeGuardSSoftlinesFebruary 28, 2023

SG 31/23

In February 2023, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launched ISO 4484-1, a new test method to help the textile industry select fabrics that reduce shedding or material loss during use and laundering.

Microplastics in the natural environment are considered emerging contaminants. There is increasing scientific and public concern at the widespread presence of microplastics in oceans and the potential physical and toxicological risks posed to organisms. Microplastics can be released directly into the environment or can result from the degradation of larger pieces of plastic. Wear and washing of textiles are one recognized source of microplastics in the environment. All textiles release potentially problematic fiber fragments that shed throughout their life cycle. The fragmentation of fibers occurs based on a variety of factors and processes, such as textile construction, finishing processes, washing methods, age and fiber type. 

ISO 4481-1 Textile and textile products – Microplastics from textile sources – Part 1 Determination of material loss from fabric during washing, is a method to determine the material loss from fabrics under standardized laundering conditions. It is a modification of ISO 106-C06. The test specimen is subjected to an accelerated laundering process under appropriate conditions of temperature, time and mechanical action. The residual wash liquid is vacuum filtered, then the material loss is collected and its mass is reported. ISO 4484-1 can be used to assess both synthetic and natural material loss.

Since 2018, SGS has participated in the Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) as a research organization to develop a harmonized test method and share its knowledge of fiber fragmentation. The harmonized test method developed has been handed over to CEN for use as an official CEN standard1. In addition to SGS’s capability to conduct ISO 4484-1 tests, we have the capability to test AATCC TM212-20212. Also, SGS is approved by The Microfiber Consortium (TMC) to provide small scale TMC test services for the industry, and has been since 202034. Apart from the small-scale method, SGS also offers testing services for evaluating fiber fragmentation of finished products based on our in-house full-scale method5.

SGS has an extensive network of over 40 softlines laboratories worldwide, with a strong team of committed professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Our internationally accredited state-of-the-art testing laboratories offer a comprehensive range of physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. We help your company ensure quality, performance and compliance with international, industrial and regulatory standards worldwide. Visit our website, read our brochure or contact us to discover more. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested.

SGS is committed to making a positive impact on society through our extensive global supply chain and services provided in all sectors. We have defined high-level ambitions and specific targets for 2023 and 2030 in three areas: better governance, a better society, and a better planet. Our Sustainability Ambitions 2030 address our entire value chain and aim to deliver a measurable contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals through our SGS Impact Valuation Framework. Visit our sustainability website, or contact us to discover more.



  1. Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) Brochure
  2. AATCC Launches New Test Method to Measure Fibre Shedding
  3. SGS Approved by The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) as its First Third-Party Laboratory Member
  4. TMC Approves Five SGS Laboratories for Fiber Fragmentation Testing in Asia, Europe and USA
  5. What is Fiber Fragmentation?

© SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. This publication or website is a property of SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. All contents including website designs, text, and graphics contained herein are owned by or licensed to SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. The information provided is for technical and general information purposes only and offers no legal advice. The information is no substitute for professional legal advice to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. All information is provided in good faith “as is”, and SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, and does not warrant that the information will be error-free or meet any particular criteria of performance or quality.

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Louann Spirito

Louann Spirito

Consumer and Retail — Softlines
US & Canada Softlines Business Head

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