Silver nanoparticles have turned out to be the missing ingredient in a fabric coating compound that causes some fabrics to self-clean. Cotton fabrics coated with a titanium dioxide and nitrogen mixture, then later treated with silver iodide, have been successfully tested for self stain removal.
Engineers, who invented the process, found that more than seventy percent of an orange dye stain on cotton treated with the compound, disappeared when exposed to light. The role of the silver iodide is to facilitate the light-based reaction that causes both stains and odor to leave the fabric.
The inexpensive treatment was developed in China at Shanghai Jiao Tong and Hubei Universities. The environmentally-friendly fabric treatment is expected to be available within two years. Researchers found the treatment to be lasting and non-toxic. After five wash and dry cycles, the effectiveness of the coating was not diminished.
Asian countries are likely to initially popularize the treated fabric, which is later expected to make its way to Western retailers.