Scientists have come up with the ultimate dream kitchen — one which is capable of self-cleaning and destroying bacteria without a hint of soap or sprays.
The researchers, from University College London (UCL), have created paints and plastics that react with anything landing on them, driving off stains, repelling water or producing micro-doses of toxic molecules to assassinate microbes.
“We are creating self-cleaning and self-sterilising materials for use in hospitals and in homes — especially kitchens and bathrooms,” said Kris Page of UCL.
He will reveal the materials at the Royal Society summer exhibition in London this week.
Page and his colleagues were partly inspired by the self-cleaning glass used in modern buildings, which is coated with titanium dioxide catalysts that destroy dirt.
They have combined this with a “fluorinated silane” with properties similar to Teflon, which makes any water landing on it form a sphere, rather than soaking in. The spheres then pick up specks of dirt and carry it away, cleaning the surface.
UCL has already patented the materials which Page believes could help to clean the filthiest objects that most people possess — their mobile phones. Most are coated in a toxic mix including faecal bacteria, sundry body fluids and grease.
“Whenever I think of the best place to deploy self-cleaning materials, mobile phones — plus cases and screen protectors — come to mind,” said Page, emphasising that he meant other people’s.