Textile Research Takes Aim At Dirty Laundry

French scientists are developing new fabrics that not only make you look smart and elegant but protect you against odors, bacteria, and fungi. Researchers are developing a range of innovative textiles, including sheets and pillowcases that wipe out dust mites on contact and underwear that can go unlaundered with not the hint of a smell. The French are putting these new wares on show in March at the Techtextil trade show in Atlanta. Francital, a company that makes clothes for extreme environments, is currently testing its latest version of a fabric that absorbs perspiration and odors thanks to special chemicals. The material is being worn by two explorers trekking from the North Pole to Resolute Bay in northern Canada. "We expect each man to wear a single pair of underpants for 30 days," says company director Patrice Dheu. Francital's deodorizing underwear will be in the stores within a year or so. Other French fabrics contain antibacterial agents that are blended into the fiber before it is spun into cloth.

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