AbstractCellulosic fibres provide a very agreeable environment for growth of bacteria due to large surfaces with high moisture absorbability. Therefore, the demand for an anti-microbial finish as an effective means of preventing disease transmission is high; it inhibits growth of or kills microorganisms on textile fabrics. This paper reports results of experiments where silver oxide (Ag2O) or zinc oxide (ZnO) was used as a catalyst with the halogenated phenoxy compound (Microfresh, MF) and a binder (Microban, MB) on cotton fabrics to improve treatment effectiveness and minimize its side effects. Anti-microbial-treated fabrics showed some new characteristic peaks in chemical structure as evaluated by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. In an anti-microbial test, it was found that anti-bacterial activity increased as MF-MB chemical agents were applied to the fabrics. A noticeable result was that the metal oxide catalyst had a significant effect on enhancing the performance. Surface morphology of anti-microbial-treated cotton specimens showed roughened and wrinkled fabric surface with high deposition of the finishing agent, which had a lower breaking load and tearing strength resulting from side effects of the acidic treatment. However, the addition of the Ag2O catalyst was able to compensate for the reduction in tensile and tearing strength, and it is considered harmless for human skin.