Soon, we could all be wearing clothes that purify the air as we simply move around in them.
Plans are now proceeding to commercialize a new liquid laundry additive called CatClo, which contains microscopic pollution-eating particles.
The new additive is the result of collaboration between the University of Sheffield and London College of Fashion, with initial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Items of clothing only need to be washed in the additive once, as the nanoparticles of titanium dioxide grip onto fabrics very tightly. When the particles then come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react with these pollutants and oxidize them in the fabric.
The nitrogen oxides treated in this way are completely odorless 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.