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Bubbles. Image source: Creative Commons

Environmentally friendly new method for washing clothes

Published: 16 October 2020

Örjan Johansson, professor in Engineering Acoustics at Luleå University of Technolgy, will in collaboration with the company Ozoneair try to develop a completely new and perhaps revolutionary method for washing. By combining ozone and ultrasound in a washing ball, the idea is to release "superpowers" that make the laundry extra clean in an environmentally friendly way.

"The vision is an efficient washing method that reduces both energy consumption and the need for detergent. This technology can become a global revolution", says Örjan Johansson.

Two proven techniques in a unique combination

Ozone protects us from dangerous UV radiation but also has a cleansing power. The ozone molecule, which consists of three oxygen atoms, is a strong oxidant that is used, among other things, to purify drinking water and decontaminate textiles in healthcare. Ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) is also used for washing, for example, instruments in healthcare in so-called ultrasonic washers.

"Separately, ozone and ultrasound are proven techniques for efficient cleaning. But the combination is completely new", says Örjan Johansson.

Secret design

How the washing ball works technically is still a secret, but Örjan Johansson can reveal that the ultrasound will be sent out from the ball's shell via high-frequency vibrations while micrometer-small ozone bubbles are emitted via an ampoule.

The hope is that the new combo will wash our clothes both more efficiently and gently than regular detergents.

"With these technologies, there is the potential to wash extremely clean at the micro level with a minimum of detergent", concludes Örjan Johansson.