The Waterless Washing Company: Gentle and Sustainable Laundry

Industrial Design Students 2019

Max Medhurst
Royal College of Art / Service Design

For our final year group project on the Innovation Design Engineering masters program, we set about changing the way we wash our clothes. Whilst it might be synonymous with the term washing, water is actually destroying our clothes and damaging our planet. To change this, we created a new, completely waterless, washing process which is gentle on clothes and on the planet. By using no water this process avoids problems such as fading, stretching and shrinking, prevents microfibres from being washed into waterways, and reduces our domestic freshwater and energy use. This helps your clothes last and the planet thrive.

Our motivation for this project came from wanting to do something to help tackle the sustainability issues faced by the clothing industry, and our discovery that the use-phase of clothing was consistently overlooked by existing interventions despite being one of the most environmentally damaging stages of a garment’s lifecycle.

I joined the IDE course having studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge; I wanted to take the technical skills I had developed and learn how to apply them in a design context, in a way that would allow me to create a positive impact and help people. I’m motivated by finding ways to tackle important problems, and believe the synergy of design and engineering is the most effective way to achieve that. The 1851 Industrial Design Studentship has been of great help, supporting me throughout the 2-years of the IDE program, allowing me to live close to campus in central London to take full advantage of all opportunities and helping ease the burden of project costs with the materials allowance. It’s also provided a great opportunity to network with other award recipients and alumni through events like the Annual Reception and Alumni Science Evening, which has also been extremely valuable.

This presentation was recorded in conjunction with our 1851 Virtual Alumni Science Evening 2021