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If you're a stickler for cleanliness, it sounds like a dream invention -- a washing machine that destroys bugs in the weekly laundry. Its designers at Samsung claim the technology will remove or kill 99.9 percent of odor-causing bacteria, including e.coli.

And they say the system will keep the clothes fresh for up to 30 days. Called the Silver Nano Health System, it works by bombarding clothing with jets of cold water primed with tiny silver ions. Users do not need to add hot water, bleach or other chemicals. As a result it saves energy and treats delicate items, such as lingerie, more gently, giving them a longer life.

There is research dating back many years showing that silver has cleaning properties. For example, water treatment facilities that service hospitals use silver ions, which act directly on bacterial cell walls, preventing reproduction. And there are suggestions that one form of the precious metal, colloidal silver, can even be more effective than antibiotics when applied to wound infections.

With the Samsung machine, water passes through two pure silver electrodes before entering the drum. Electricity pulses through these electrodes, generating nanosized silver ions. The resulting ions latch onto and destroy any bacteria.

Samsung says that modern fabrics cannot cope with being washed at high temperatures, which means it is more difficult for consumers to disinfect their clothes. Samsung says its machines kill bacteria at low temperatures. The machine bombards the clothes with silver ions for a second time in the final rinse cycle. This coats the items and for up to 30 days prevents any bacteria they come in to contact with from reproducing.

So, in theory, clothes need to be washed far less frequently. The machine is priced at just under $1,400 in the U.S. The UK price has not yet been decided, but it is expected to launch in April.

From Small Times

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