Efficient laundry

High-falutin' detergents add expensive enzymes, which break up stains.  They really work, but when the wash cycle is over the enzymes go down the drain along with the cheap soap and dirty water.  But wait a minute -- didn't they tell us in chemistry class that the whole point of enzymes is that they facilitate reactions without being used up?

Two bright fellows, C.S. Pundir and Nidhi Chauhan, reported to the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research that they had bound the four most common laundry enzymes to plastic surfaces (a bucket and scrub brush used in pre-washing) in a way that made the enzymes available for at least 200 re-uses over a three-month period.  It's a cheaper approach, and a lot less junk in the wastewater, too.  It's not commercially available yet, unfortunately.


E Hines said...

It seems to me that if they can bind these enzymes to brush bristles and bucket walls in a way that leaves the business ends of the molecules free to do their business, then it wouldn't be a much greater additional step to bind these enzymes temporarily to filter strands. Then the expelled laundry water could be filtered on the way out of the washing machine's tub, the enzymes recovered, and then dumped into a holding tank for redispensing into the next laundry load.

Eric Hines

MikeD said...

You are assuming that it is not PLANNED that the enzymes (what with being expensive and all) are intended by the manufacturer to be flushed. After all, if you could retain them, why would you buy more of their product.

By the way, I'm not saying they're evil or wrong for wanting to do so. After all, they SHOULD look out for their interests and investors. Just saying that they have no financial reason to help you out.