Self-cleaning clothing? Did you read that correctly? Has technology really come this far? The answer is yes, but it’s not just a fascinating new fashion trend. These clothes have incredible benefits for the environment.
Keep your lifestyle. Save the planet.
ODO is a clothing company that offers self-cleaning denim jeans and cotton T-shirts. Their goal of water conversation is the driving force behind their innovative product. “Conserving water doesn’t necessarily mean changing your lifestyle, it means creating intelligent solutions,” said the company.
With the reduced cleaning required for clothing of this nature, vast amounts of water can be saved as well. An estimated 7200 glasses of water are required to wash a single pair of jeans over the course of a year – think of how many drought-affected communities or gardens could benefit from this amount of water that could be saved by wearing self-cleaning jeans. One year of washing water equals about five years of drinking water.
With self-cleaning clothes, you can say goodbye to washing machines and tumble dryers that drain away at your electricity bill. By reducing the amount electricity being used on appliances like these, you’re helping rid the environment of the harmful gases being produced at electric plants. The production and demolition of machines will also be reduced, further benefitting the environment.
What are self-cleaning clothes?
Have you ever noticed that some plant leaves stay clean no matter what? Dirt can’t stick to the leaves’ finely structured surfaces and simply rinses off with the rain. The biology behind this is the basis of ODO’s designs. ODO are unique in their innovative clothing range, as they weave silver fibres into their fabric. This prevents odours and bacteria from clinging to the garments, keeping them fresh and clean.
Previously in 2013, Aamir Patel launched a self-cleaning T-shirt brand called Silic, which uses hydrophobic nanotechnology. Their soft, breathable fabric prevents stains from sweat and drink.
The next year, a Harvard team of scientists announced their development of self-cleaning cotton and polyester fabrics that use a unique technology called SLIPS (slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces).
Now ODO have revolutionised the concept with their silver-infused fabrics, which promise both anti-odour and anti-stain properties.
How does this work?
The technology devised by ODO involves 99.9% pure silver bonded polymer, which permanently kills bacteria that comes into contact with the fabric. The silver threads release positively charged silver ions that penetrate the bacteria cells and disrupt their production, causing them to die.
ODO clothing is also coated with NanoSphere, a protein based material that trumps other water-repellent materials. By treating the fabric surface with microscopic nano particles that bond and form an irregular surface, a complete barrier is formed between the fabric and any liquid. This makes the garment resistant to not only water, but liquid food products, oil and dirt. Excess residue on the clothing can be rinsed off with water too.
ODO launched in 2014, and the market has leapt at this innovative new clothing design. There are a few options when looking for self-cleaning clothing, such as Aamir Patel’s Silic range. There are also products on the market that offer anti-washing and anti-odour properties, such as LiquidOff. LiquidOff is a hydrophobic spray that can be applied to a range of materials and surfaces, including fabric, that prides itself on its safe and eco-friendly application.
Most recently, a research team in Melbourne, Australia, are developing a self-cleaning fabric from nano-materials that remove dirt and stains when exposed to light. By placing this fabric under a regular lightbulb or even direct sunlight, the fabric begins spontaneously cleaning itself. Anything from sweat marks to tomato sauce to wine stains can be removed. The research team uses copper and silver in the nanostructure of the fabric. These materials are highly light-receptive, and when exposed to light, will release an energy boost. This energy boost enables the nanostructures to degrade organic matter like sweat or wine, removing it from the fabric’s surface. Some of their designs took only six minutes to spontaneously clean themselves!
Are we heading for a cleaner future?
Are self-cleaning textiles the future direction of clothing industries? We certainly hope so. The reduced consumption of electricity and water resources is a leading motivator for most to buy this clothing. With a few more investors and manufacturers becoming involved, the field could also expand into self-cleaning upholstery and linen production. Imagine never having to change your sheets or worry about your dog’s muddy paw prints on the couch again!