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New Fabric Could Make Doing Laundry Unnecessary

A new type of fabric can kill bacteria with sunlight.


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It’s the rare individual who gets much pleasure out of doing laundry. So what if you didn’t have to?

A new scientific development may make that dream a reality: Researchers at the University of California Davis have created a chemical compound called 2-anthraquinone carboxylic acid, or 2-AQC, which can be incorporated into cotton fabric without washing off. When you step outside, the compound reacts with the natural sunlight to produce reactive oxygen species that break down harmful bacteria like e. coli.

Unfortunately, the bacteria-flushing compound can’t get out wine stains, so a little tweaking may be needed before the new invention can be used to create no-wash clothing. Nonetheless, the researchers believe the development could have more practical applications, in developing hygienic clothing for health care, food processing, and farm workers, and even members of the military. In hospitals in particular, the new fabric could help to reduce the spread of infection, which is often present on hospital curtains.

So, maybe you’ll need to keep doing your laundry a little bit longer—but keep an eye out for the next innovations in self-washing clothing, and eventually, you may be able to throw out the Tide.

Filed under: Green, Science, Weird,

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