Stain Repelling Technology
It comes as no surprise when the latest incarnation of the iPhone or Call of Duty are big news. Even minor scientific advances make headlines. New technology of any kind is always an attention grabber. But perhaps not stain prevention. At least until now.
Stain prevention is suddenly all the rage. But why?
Perhaps this trend is just an extension of our growing paranoia about bacteria. There are now so many cleaning products for the home that we are faced with a mind boggling array of ways to cleanse our kitchen tops. Never mind that the chemicals in these potions are probably much more dangerous than the killer bacteria they are formulated to eradicate.
Maybe the recent fascination with stains has been fuelled by the environmental lobby. If our possessions don't get dirty we won't have to wash them so often. This will conserve water and energy and thus save the planet from the effects of those evil washing machines.
In other words, we are often scared into availing ourselves of the latest in thing. I mean who could live with themselves if their home was full of bacteria and their washing machine had sucked the local reservoir dry? Being seen without the latest smartphone would be even more shameful.
For whatever reason stain repelling technology is rapidly becoming the next big thing. New potions and products are promising to free us from the scourge of stains but do we need them? Furthermore, what has any of this got to do with jeans?
Stain Repelling Jeans
A new label called ODO is set to bring us self-cleaning jeans. The project is being crowdfunded via Kickstarter (what isn't?) where it has attracted pledges far exceeding its original target. ODO claim that the jeans will repel all liquids including wine, coffee and even honey. You won't need to wash the jeans and they won't smell either. Silver fibres are woven into the fabric. These apparently kill bacteria and so prevent the jeans from developing unpleasant odours. The team at ODO are so confident that the jeans will not smell that they are promising a free pair to anyone who ends up with stinky denim.
Evidently the washing of a conventional pair of jeans uses up 7200 cups of water each year. Washing machines also guzzle energy so ODO jeans are environmentally friendly. Which sounds great except that we don't really know what is in the stain repellent or how it is made. Are the chemicals used so environmentally friendly? Anyway, the jeans will be joined by T shirts and accessories with the same liquid repellent properties. Time will tell whether this new range is a winner.
Facing the Dragons
Meanwhile a stain repellent has made an appearance on Dragon's Den. Entrepreneur Caner Veli delivered an attention grabbing pitch for Liquiproof. This is a spray which instantly waterproofs fabrics. The Liquiproof range features products for clothing, upholstery and shoes. Veli's dramatic demonstration was enough to gain him an offer of investment from Touker Suleyman, despite Veli having no patent on the spray.
The lack of a patent for Liquiproof might prove to be an issue but maybe not because there are already rival products. An organisation called Chemours offers sprays with Teflon which appear to work in the same way as Liquiproof. Then there is the excellent Jason Markk Repel which we offer here at Jean Store. Repel is highly effective at protecting shoes. There are other sprays too. Notably one called NeverWet which hit the headlines in America.
NeverWet was introduced to America via news articles and promotional videos. These made some fairly impressive claims for the spray including its ability to waterproof mobile phones. An advertisement showed a phone being submerged in a bucket of water. It was said to have emerged thirty minutes later in full working order. The carefully crafted publicity whipped up a storm of anticipation but when NeverWet was finally launched it didn't work! At least it didn't work very well and it left an unpleasant cloudy residue on everything it touched.
Stain repellent technology can be effective but not always in the spectacular way that is suggested by the advertisements. None of the manufacturers are going to reveal their secret recipes but all of the products seem to work in the same way. The repellent causes liquids to bead and run off the protected surface. I guess that the longevity of the protection will depend on how often you use or wear the protected item as much as on the quality of the repellent. This kind of protection is certainly very useful for shoes. Footwear takes a pounding, gets dirty quickly and often cannot be washed. Upholstery also benefits from being shielded. So sometimes protection is welcome. But what about stain repellent for jeans?
How often does anyone spill wine or coffee on their jeans? When liquid is repelled by the jeans it simply runs off the fabric. Then what? It would be pretty annoying to save your jeans from that red wine only for it to run onto your expensive carpet. You can't put that in the washing machine. What about food? What happens if you drop your dinner rather than your drink onto your denim? People might not be interested in stain repellent jeans because they may not see the need for them. In any case stain protection is never going to trump style when we choose our jeans.