If there's one thing we’ve learned from all our testing in the laundry lab over the years, it’s that stains can be really, really hard to get out.
That simple truth has inspired wave after wave of products designed to make the cleaning process easier. Thanks to the miracles of modern science, we’ve been able to report on clothes that clean themselves when exposed to sunlight, as well as a special fabric softener that turns your clothes hydrophobic.
Unfortunately, both options have a catch: There are some health concerns regarding the chemical coating used in the former, and the latter wears off over time.
But leave it to the Aussies to come up with something that just might work, no strings attached: clothes that are hydrophobic thanks to nanotechnology.
The Cavalier is the world’s first fully hydrophobic t-shirt. Designed by Threadsmiths, a clothing technology company based in Melbourne, it utilizes a special lotus leaf–inspired nanotechnology to completely repel dirt and liquids.
Since the shirt is made from liquid-repelling fibers rather than sprayed with add-on chemicals, it ought to be free of health concerns and should last longer than any spray-on treatment. However, to maintain the shirt’s hydrophobic finish you do need to put it through a low-heat tumble-dry every three washes.
Otherwise, care is pretty basic: Don’t dry clean or bleach, and don’t use fabric softener. Machine-wash cold or do it by hand, iron dry on low heat. Sounds like pretty much all fabric care instructions, yeah? For that matter, you probably won’t have to wash it all that often, either, since it’s, you know... stain-repellent.
According to the Threadsmiths website, the Cavalier is available in both men’s and women’s styles, with a child’s shirt due to arrive later on. Each shirt costs $65, which is kind of insane for what amounts to a durable undershirt. Then again, having to buy a six-pack of Hanes every few months adds up.
If Threadsmiths could expand its color selection, maybe branch out into different styles of garments, we could easily see this turning into a booming business. In my mind, anything that could help cut down on laundry day is a move in the right direction.