Stained cotton. Photo by Mikael Nyberg
Stained cotton. Photo: Mikael Nyberg

Beyond Stains: self-cleaning cotton

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Department of Chemistry, 

University of Turku

The project explores the potential of self-cleaning textiles. Through effective photo-responsive coatings, cotton is protected from stains while maintaining its primary properties, presenting an enticing option for adoption in the textile industry. Remarkably, cotton demonstrates the ability to self-clean 73% of organic contaminants within just one hour of 1 Sun exposure, which is double the speed reported in related studies. Consequently, the application of ZnO to a textile substrate has the potential to significantly reduce the need for frequent washing, conserving water and reducing cleaning labor costs in the garment's life cycle.

Clean cotton. Photo by Mikael Nyberg
Clean cotton. Photo: Mikael Nyberg


-Alicja Lawrynowicz, doctoral researcher 

-Emilia Palo, postdoctoral researcher

-Mikael Nyberg, laboratory engineer 

-Rustem Nizamov, doctoral researcher 

-Kati Miettunen, Professor


Contact information:

Alicja Lawrynowicz - [email protected]

Solar Energy Materials and Systems research group

Stained cotton. Photo by Mikael Nyberg
Deliberate staining with methylene blue and coffee stress tests the coating. Photo: Mikael Nyberg
Cotton treated with zinc oxide. Photo by Mikael Nyberg
Cotton can be treated with zinc oxide (sample on the right) to form a self-cleaning coating. Photo: Mikael Nyberg
ZnO structures. Photo by Alicja Lawrynowicz
These beautiful flower-like structures ZnO (zinc oxide) are a key to high performance. Photo: Alicja Lawrynowicz
Self-cleaning cotton. Photo by Rustem Nizamov
ZnO-loaded cotton fabric needs only UV light to self-clean. Photo: Rustem Nizamov

To the exhibition's main page:

Entangled exhibition, title image. Image by Mithila Mohan. Photo by Maija Vaara.


Reimagining Textile Functionalities, Aesthetics and Sustainability (Aalto University - VIA University College - University of BorĂ¥s - University of Turku - Iceland University of the Arts)

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