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Brief Published: 19 Jan 2016

Odo: Self-Cleaning Clothes

Odo Jeans

San Francisco-based start-up Odo has launched a range of self-cleaning T-shirts and jeans in a bid to reduce the amount of energy and water usage associated with laundry.

The clothes are ultra-resistant to dirt and spills due to a specially engineered fabric that features billions of microscopic peaks across its surface. The peaks minimise the contact area between the spillage and the fabric itself, repelling the liquid rather than allowing it to soak into the material. This innovation enables substances including ketchup and oil to simply roll off the garments, while stubborn spills can also easily be rinsed off with water.

Patent-pending technology in the fabric further elongates the time between washes, by using silver ions to kill the bacteria in sweat that produces unpleasant odours. A 99.9% pure silver bonded polymer is woven through the fabric itself, creating an infinite supply of positively charged ions when the silver reacts with moisture and oxygen in the air.

As highlighted in Learning from Sustainable Denim, water consumption through laundry is a key factor in reducing the ecological footprint of clothing – 45% of the water consumed during the lifecycle of a pair of Levi Jeans is used by the consumer during washing. Innovations such as Odo's offer alternatives to conventional laundry habits in a bid to redefine our social perception of 'clean' – see A Greener Clean for further insight into eco-friendly approaches to laundry.

For more on growing concerns and solutions for the future of water security, see Water: Sustaining Supplies.