Rejoice, womenfolk. Prepare to samba around your mops and crack open a new packet of J cloths. Self-cleaning clothes could soon be on the market. Scientists are perfecting garments that can rid themselves of stains and smells, thanks to a coating of titanium dioxide nano- particles, which react with oxygen and break down bacteria. Which means items can be worn for weeks on end without stinking like a wet dog.
Isn't this just heavenly news, sisters? Not only will this invention sever another chain of domestic servitude and eradicate rancid teenage underpants, but it will also stop all that dithering over whether to buy separate washing powder and fabric conditioner or just go for Bold 2 in 1 and treat ourselves to a new rolling pin with the savings. Oh, I forgot - it's not 1952, is it? In which case I'm wondering whether there is anyone, aside from the odd tramp, who would actually welcome the toxic advent of self-cleaning clothes when washing machines kind of do the job for us already? I believe not. But then I also blieve that self-cleaning clothes will prove to be one of those mongrel inventions we saw quite a lot of on Tomorrow's World and will die at birth. Like the fold-up car and the trouser cushion. I'm not saying they don't work and wouldn't save us money, just that they'll never catch on.
Remember being told that housework robots would revolutionise our lives? They haven't exactly killed off the Polish cleaner, have they? As a child I read that in 30 years there'd be no need for food because we'd get all our nutrition from a futuristic daily pill. Ha! Tell that to the obesity brigade. Do you know anyone who actually owns sauce-dispensing chopsticks? Can you ever imagine buying a tea bag squeezer? An automatic cucumber peeler?
I wonder how much more time we think we need to save in our busy lives. Whether if we think unloading a washing machine is too onerous, we shouldn't just give up and apply for a wheelchair. If we save time, it only frees us up to spend yet more hours queuing for the car park at Bluewater, anyway.
And yet, sitting here looking at a photograph of Jemima Khan getting into a car apparently sans knickers, I can suddenly foresee an important role for self-cleaning underwear. There's an entire breed of young women - let's call them the Lohans and the Hiltons - whose lives are so full they evidently don't have a minute to do laundry and thus are often caught by the paparazzi panty less, their smalls presumably still drying on the radiator at home.
It's easily done and I think for these poor girls alone, we should applaud the arrival of self-cleaning knickers. If nothing else we might be able to read the Sunday papers without fear of bringing up our breakfast.
Copyright (C) The Times, 2008
Photograph by Getty Images
"Sorry, it's pants; Bargainhunter.(Features)." Times [London, England] 23 Feb. 2008: 14. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.
(Album / Profile) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10030&id=1661531726&l=6a081800d6