Whether a waterless washing machine would work is probably the single biggest question one would have about such a device, but the idea behind it is hard to argue against. After all, who would not want to skip the hassle of heading to the dry cleaner each time for those few dress-clothing items that require special care?
According to its designer, Minsung Bae, a combination of humidity, ionization, ozone and air pressure can kill bacteria and remove stains clinging to a shirt – in practice, one has to wonder what the mechanism is for removing these dirty elements after finishing a cleaning cycle.
“The suit cover comprises two inflatable layers between which the clothing is placed. First of all, the O inside the cover is converted to O (ozone), effectively killing all the bacteria on the clothing. Then the fabric is blasted by pressurized air from tiny perforations in the panels to remove any dirt and detritus. No detergent or external water source is required.”
What would be really neat: a timer feature that would allow one to wear the warm and finished product in the morning, to get that feeling one has when putting on a freshly-dried pair of pants or newly-pressed dressy shirt. Power supply, waste management and some other technical details look like they have yet to be resolved, though, in addition to these other potential accessory functions.
The best part, if it works as it should: you could take these self-contained dry-cleaning containers on the road with you, and set them up in your car or hotel room to do your dirty work while in the middle of an extensive business trip. Wheels along the bottom and a pull-out handle on top make it perfect for air travel, in theory, assuming it does not constitute a too oddly-shaped (and high-tech) piece of over-sized luggage according to the TSA or specific airline.