Could Laundry Detergent Save the World? Star Trek Gains (ST+1=73%)

Your Clothes Could Soon Scrub Pollution Directly From The Air

A new laundry additive turns ordinary garments into wearable air-scrubbers that pull nitrogen oxides from the atmosphere.

 Could Laundry Detergent Save the World? Star Trek Gains (ST+1=73%)

Field of Jeans CatClo works particularly well on denim. DED Associates

By Clay Dillow

(POPSCI) Your washing machine and dryer are both energy intensive machines, but soon your rinse cycle could start giving something back. A liquid laundry additive called “CatClo” (for “catalytic clothing”) developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield and London College of Fashion in the UK could imbue clothing with titanium dioxice nanoparticles that scrub nitrogen oxides from the air and oxidize them in the fabric. On the next wash, these nitrogen oxides are simply washed away.

Via a press release from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council:

“The nitrogen oxides treated in this way are completely odourless and colourless and pose no pollution hazard as they are removed harmlessly when the item of clothing is next washed, if they haven’t already been dissipated harmlessly in sweat. The additive itself is also completely harmless and the nanoparticles are unnoticeable from the wearer’s point of view.”

The researchers say one person wearing clothes treated with CatClo–and it’s worth noting clothes only need to be washed in the additive once, not with every wash–can remove 5 grams of nitrogen oxides from the air per day, which they equate to roughly the output of the average family vehicle. Not a bad haul for simply getting dressed in the morning.

Published: 9/27/12