Self-cleaning Clothes with TiO2

March 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

It’s a fact of life: your clothes get dirty and smelly and they need to be washed. But Reedies, we all know, are strapped for time, so sometimes its just easier to stretch out those visits to the laundry room (at least until your friends start avoiding you). What a boon it would be to college life if your clothes would keep themselves clean instead. Your favorite black t-shirt would always be there for you. More importantly, clothes that clean themselves would save the community a large amount of water and energy, and would reduce problems associated with detergent manufacture and disposal (those suds have to go somewhere!).

Daoud et al. (Chem. Mater., 2008, 20(4), 1242-1244) describe a technique that they have developed for chemically bonding nanocrystals of titanium dioxide (TiO2) to keratin fibers. TiO2 is a well-known photocatalyst (and a major constituent of white paint), and Daoud et al. show that the TiO2-treated fibers can decompose dirt, stains, and even inhibit bacterial growth, when exposed to sunlight.

Perhaps one day soon, college students will be able to do their laundry just by going for a walk in the sun.

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Entry filed under: In the News.

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