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Science & Technology

Self-cleaning clothes could soon be available

By T.K. Randall
March 23, 2016 · Comment icon 18 comments

Can clothes really clean themselves ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Michael Gabler
Researchers are developing clothes that can be cleaned simply by exposing them to a light source.
The idea of clothes that never need to be washed or cleaned might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but now thanks to the efforts of scientists at RMIT University in Australia, this futuristic concept may actually be closer to becoming reality than you might think.

The key to the technology lies in growing tiny nanostructures on the fabric which, when exposed to a light source, cause any organic matter on the clothing's surface to degrade.

"Basically what we do is take a simple cotton textile, we have a few different new methodologies to grow nanostructures directly on them, and then once these structures are formed we can just shine light on them," said Dr Rajesh Ramanathan.
The technology could prove invaluable in hospitals where this unique self-cleaning mechanism could help to prevent the spread of infections, especially superbugs.

"In fields like biology or antibacterial textiles, one of the problems the entire world is facing is superbugs, it's very difficult to kill them or get rid of them," said Dr Ramanathan.

"So one of the potential aspects of this material is that we have started testing it on superbugs and it's showing amazing results."

Source: ABC.net.au | Comments (18)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Nnicolette 8 years ago
Im really curious... What kind of items?
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
Im really curious... What kind of items? Just guessing... Maybe small leaves, grass, blown dirt, pollen? I know I had to "snap-shake" clothes after outside sun/air drying many years ago.
Comment icon #11 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
hang them inside in a sun room. or build one.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
WOOO for being lazy! hang them inside in a sun room. or build one. We have a mudroom for that.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Michelle 8 years ago
Just think about this. If you live in a large city with smog, bugs and other items in the air, would you really believe your cloths would get clean? I've been told that most people don't hang their wash outside to dry in the South because of the insect issues. Makes sense. When my family moved to North Carolina, we started hanging out our clothes on good days and quickly stopped due to "items", not all bugs, we found in our "clean" clothes. Huh? Maybe once a year a bird poops on something, but I don't have any problem hanging clothes out whatsoever. It only takes a couple of hours in the hot s... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Nnicolette 8 years ago
What? Why hang dry if you are just going to throw it in the dryer?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Michelle 8 years ago
What? Why hang dry if you are just going to throw it in the dryer? Anyone who has ever hung clothes on a line knows they can get sort of stiff and scratchy. Throwing them in the dryer for a few minutes with a damp towel softens them up and takes the wrinkles out.
Comment icon #16 Posted by freetoroam 8 years ago
"So one of the potential aspects of this material is that we have started testing it on superbugs and it's showing amazing results." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-23/nanotechnology-self-cleaning-clothes-are-on-the-way-researchers/7268780 Would this not be better to make bed linen? TBO I wear clothes everyday, and so far no superbug has caused me a problem because it may have landed on my sleeve, but for people who have bed bugs, then maybe this would stop that? I do not have a problem with bed bugs btw, well none that I have noticed.
Comment icon #17 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
the story does not say it is restricted to clothing. it says textiles.
Comment icon #18 Posted by toast 8 years ago
Also clothes are subject to erosion, so nano particles will get detached from the structure and will reach the lungs. I dont think that this is a healthy process in general. The idea might be of benetit for dressing material, due to single use, but it is a nonsense idea for clothes of frequent use. In addition, as the nanos are based on the metals silver and copper, so metals who chemically react with sweat, allergies and skin irritations will occur.


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