The award-winning British designer Helen Storey joined Tony Ryan a University of Sheffield scientist, to create a laundry additive that has the capacity to clean the air. The additive is covered with tiny particles of titanium dioxide, which once applied to clothes, reacts with air and light to break down harmful emissions in the air.
This liquid additive, CatClo, can change ordinary clothes into catalytic converters, when added to the laundry powder and washed. The microscopic, pollution-eating particles in the additive will attach very firmly to the fabric so that only a single wash in the additive is required. The air pollution particles will wash away when the clothes are washed again.
Helen Storey believes her “Catalytic clothing“, as she calls the clothes which are washed in the detergent, could contribute to a significant improvement in air quality. The additive seems to work particularly well on denim and seeing that almost everybody has a pair of jeans in their closet, the pair think their product has a lot of potential. They hope they can persuade at least half the population to wear an item of catalytic clothing to help “suck up” and neutralize harmful emissions and therefore make the air around them cleaner.
Ryan and Storey say they won’t patent their invention, hoping all laundry manufacturers will add it to their products. The additive could become commercially available within two years. Meanwhile safety tests are being done, but it seems that the additive poses no threat to human skin or water supplies.