see the light

Sick of doing the washing? Scientists are one step closer to inventing self-cleaning clothes

Researchers have developed textiles that can clean themselves when exposed to light.

RESEARCHERS HAVE DEVELOPED textile clothing that can clean itself of dirt when exposed to light.

Researchers from RMIT University in Australia invented special nanostructures which degrade organic material when exposed to direct sunlight or placed under a lightbulb, say the IB Times.

The breakthrough could eventually lead to clothes that can clean themselves while being worn.

The discovery builds upon research developed in 2012, where researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University created a chemical coating that allowed cotton materials to clean themselves of stains and removed odours when exposed to sunlight. It used an alcohol-based compound made up of titanium dioxide and nitrogen to create this effect.

This research took a similar approach. To ensure it could be easily recreated by clothes manufacturers, the researchers permanently attached copper and silver-based nanostructures to textiles – they did this by growing them directly onto the material by dipping them in special solutions.

After 30 minutes, the nanostructures were permanently attached they were able to start cleaning themselves within six minutes when exposed to light.

The researchers say there’s still more work to do before we can start thinking about ditching the washing machine entirely but the next step would be using it tests that are more relevant to people like food and wine stains.

Read: What happens when you throw a Samsung S7 into a washing machine? >

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