Polyethylene/polypropylene (PE/PP) nonwoven fabrics were functionalized by gamma-initiated RAFT mediated grafting of 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), and the characterization of the grafted samples was carried out using various techniques. FTIR and XPS analysis showed an increase in the oxygenated content till a certain degree of grafting. The results implied a grafting process following the concept of 'front mechanism'. The initial grafting occurred on the topmost surface layer, and then moved further into the bulk of the polymer matrix. Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) mediated grafting yielded a better controlled grafting when compared to those obtained in conventional grafting. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.