Monday, February 07, 2005

Farewell to laundry detergent?

With Pesach only eleven weeks away, I bring you some useful household cleaning tips.

I noticed this story in today's Ma'ariv, reprinted from the Daily Telegraph (registration required). Excerpts:

A British scientist has found a way of cleaning clothes using nothing but water.

Richard Pashley, a professor of physical chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra, has discovered that when tiny air "particles" are removed from water - a process known as "de-gassing" - the water lifts oily stains from the surface of clothes, allowing soap-free cleaning.

Prof Pashley said that the technique was so effective that even the greasiest stains could be removed. "You can use de-gassed water to clean whatever you have dirtied. We even experimented with Vaseline. We cleaned it off completely. This is a new area of science - the mixing of oil and water. It could be a cleaning revolution."

Brilliant, no? But there's a catch:

In his experiment, Prof Pashley, whose findings are published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry, de-gassed water by freezing it with liquid nitrogen.

Mom! I can't do the laundry! We're out of liquid nitrogen!

There may be an alternative, though:

To simplify the process in the future, he intends to develop semipermeable membranes to de-gas water as it passes through.

"He intends to develop"? Don't hold your breath. Let's check back in ten years and see if this pans out commercially.

The paper was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. The full text is available for a fee.


Batya said...

A few years ago, when I was being bombarded by offerers to join/sell via the pyramid schemes, someone was offering these plastic round "doughnuts" like the baby toys. They claimed that by adding them to your wash, you didn't need detergent. Better ecology and great for those allergic to detergent. I tried one and complained that the wash was filthy.
You guessed it; they were the baby toys, and for some people with not very dirty wash, water's enough.

Zman Biur said...

They weren't baby toys. They were water de-gassers.