Australian researchers at RMIT University have developed textiles that clean themselves using copper and silver based nanostructures. The textiles are soaked in a compound comprised of nanostructures that cling to the three dimensional texture of clothing. When activated by light, the nanostructures become charged and rid the clothing of organic stains. When the textiles are combined with the compound it takes as little as six minutes for the textile to become clean.
This technology can be used in many different ways to change the way we experience clothing. The degradation of adult clothing primarily stems from washing machines. If eliminated, the color and fabric retention of clothing would last much longer, resulting in longer lasting clothes and less clothes being thrown away.
The nanostructure technology could affect industries where cleanliness is important. Science labs, hospitals and many stages of the food industry could benefit by having clothing that stays clean throughout the day. Continuously clean clothing would decrease the possibility of transferring bacteria. Less bacteria means safer safer food and less chance of getting an infection in hospitals.
The process of cleaning textiles by applying nanostructures to them has a long ways to go; the compound may or may not change the color and appearance of the clothing, and the compound may wear off before the clothing looses its integrity. However, the technology is a good start to having cleaner, longer lasting clothing in the future.
RMIT University. “No more washing: Nano-enhanced textiles clean themselves with light: New technique to grow nanostructures that degrade organic matter when exposed to light.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160322110256.htm>.