Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a special self-cleaning fabric that rids itself of pesticides and bacteria when exposed to light.
The new cotton fabric incorporates a novel compound, known as 2-anthraquinone carboxylic acid, or 2-AQC. Unlike other antimicrobial agents, 2-AQC bonds strongly to cellulose found in cotton, making it difficult to wash off. Moreover, 2-AQC doesn’t affect the properties of the cotton itself. When 2-AQC is exposed to light, it produces antimicrobial compounds such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide, which instantly kill bacteria and break down organic compounds and toxins.
The new fabric may soon be found in the clothing of healthcare workers, farmers, and military personnel. It could also give us another reason to love sun dried laundry!
From UC Davis: Self-cleaning cotton breaks down pesticides, bacteria
Article in Journal of Materials Chemistry: Photo-induced self-cleaning functions on 2-anthraquinone carboxylic acid treated cotton fabrics