A research team has developed CO2-based fabric cleaning invention that can help neutralize the threats to the lungs of asthma and allergy sufferers.
According to the University of South Carolina release, the patents use carbon dioxide to freeze-clean home fabrics like those used in carpet, mattresses, and furniture. CO2 is sprayed onto the fabrics directly. Its vapor allows for tiny pellets of dry ice to form. The fabric is then vacuumed, removing both the dry ice and the allergens attached.
The process can deactivate proteins in pet dander and remove smoke residue, thus neutralizing threats to the lungs in asthmatics. The CDC says about half of people with asthma will have a serious attack each year, so the benefit to public health is significant.
Tests done at the university showed that the process didn’t damage the fabrics and a single cleaning lasted for up to half a year.
The process of developing the patents initially began as an investigation of effective means of medical sterilization. “However, we realized that there was a critical need to address the removal of asthma triggers from the home,” said chemical engineering professor Manton Matthews. “These triggers, which are actually proteins produced by pets and pests, can be removed with our technology.”