Cotton Fabric Cleans Itself When Exposed to Sunlight

December 21, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
A newly-developed fabric coated with nanoparticles can clean itself when exposed to sunlight. (Photos.com)

Clothing that cleans and de-odorizes itself will be a reality thanks to the development of a cotton fabric that removes stains and kills bacteria when exposed to ordinary sunlight.

The self-cleaning properties of the fabric are due to a special coating of nanoparticles made from a compound of titanium dioxide and nitrogen. Titanium dioxide is the white material used in products such as white paint, sunscreen lotions, and certain foods.

Titanium dioxide is known for its ability to break down dirt and kill microbes under certain types of light and is already used in goods such as self-cleaning windows, floor, wall tiles, and self-de-odorizing socks.

Researchers Mingce Long from China’s Hubei University for Nationalities and Deyong Wu from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University said that self-cleaning cotton fabrics have been developed in the past, but have only been able to clean thoroughly when exposed to ultra-violet light. Their fabric responds to direct sunlight, meaning that clothes can self-clean by simply being hung up on a washing line.

In their study, Long and Wu demonstrate how a fabric coated with their nanoparticle compound removes an orange dye stain when exposed to sunlight. The coating remains intact after washing and drying. 

The findings were published online in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Similar research has been conducted at UC Davis.The textile scientists there have created a compound that can cause cotton to break down toxins and bacteria when exposed to light.

This new self-cleaning cloth could be used in the medical and agriculture industries to protect people from illness.

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