British scientists from the Department of Chemistry at Warwick University, in conjunction with colleagues from Aston University in Birmingham, have discovered that adding small amounts of nanodiamonds – pieces of carbon less than a ten-thousandth of the diameter of a human hair – make powder detergent much more effective at removing dirt and grease.
The study found the mini diamonds made laundry soap much more effective at removing dirt and grease, even at 15C.
In one case, double the amount of fat was removed in a 25C wash when diamond dust was used.
Researchers believe the diamonds’ rough surface could help to rub grease and fat from materials and hope the discovery makes it possible to wash clothes effectively at lower temperatures.
In a statement, research leader Dr. Andrew Marsh said the findings tackle a problem that forces consumers to wash some of their laundry a between 60 and 90C more than 80 times a year.
“Even with modern biological washing powders, some fats and dirt cannot be removed at the lower temperatures many prefer to use for their weekly wash,” he said.
Nanodiamonds are created by exploding synthetically produced diamonds to create microscopic particles that are not much bigger than the size of a DNA molecule.
(Image: Addition of nanodiamond to surfactants promotes removal of lipid from surfaces. Courtesy of Warwick University.)