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Polymers can help remove staining materials from clothing
23
Jun '09
At the world's largest textile care exposition,GreenEarth Cleaning, LLC and Xeros Ltd announced a new partnership to bring “virtually waterless” laundry cleaning technology to the retail dry cleaning industry. Xeros is the brand name for a patented laundering process that replaces the majority of water with reusable polymer beads, reducing the water and electricity required for effective cleaning.

Three years of laboratory testing confirms that the Xeros cleaning process cleans as well as conventional washing while requiring 90% less water and operating with a substantially lower electricity burden. GreenEarth, which currently licenses its patented silicone-based dry cleaning technology around the world, will have exclusive rights to distribute the Xeros technology throughout North America to retail dry cleaners.

The partnership will enable dry cleaners using both cleaning processes to have the lowest overall carbon footprint possible. “We are excited to introduce this revolutionary technology here at the Clean Show, almost ten years to the date when we first introduced the GreenEarth technology at the 1999 Clean Show in Orlando,” says Ron Benjamin, GreenEarth Cleaning Managing Director. “We honestly believe Xeros will change the way we launder clothes while helping to conserve our fresh water supply. What a remarkable concept—wet cleaning that no longer sends water down the drain.”

BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Xeros was developed and patented after 30 years of research by world-class polymer scientists at the University of Leeds, which is home to one of the UK's most advanced textile institutes. The brainchild of Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, a color and textile chemist renowned for his work perfecting the science of anchoring dyes onto fabric, Xeros is an innovative application of reverse-science. “Stains behave just like dyes,” said Burkinshaw. “And nylon polymers have an inherent polarity that attract stains. Picture how white nylon garments can get dingy over time as dirt builds up on the surface despite repeated washing.” In designing the Xeros cleaning process, Professor Burkinshaw harnessed the property of polymers to transform under humid conditions and become absorbent.“Dirt is not just attracted to the surface, it is locked into the center. This is exactly what happens when Xeros nylon beads are gently tumbled with dampened garments.”

The tiny nylon polymer beads are designed to gently but fully penetrate into a large wash load. Only a small amount of water is required to dampen the garments, loosen stains and create the water vapor that activates the “molecular magic” of the beads. The beads are then tumbled with the clothes, allowing the polarizing properties of polymer to attract and absorb dirt. Once diffused into the bead itself, stains are locked away from the garment, preventing redeposition.

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