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3 months
A project in collaboration with NASA

On ISS there is no laundry machine available for the astronauts. This means that all clothes worn by the astronauts will eventually end up being thrown away. Although pieces might be worn for a longer time than we are accustomed to on Earth, the amount of disposed clothes adds up to 660 kg each year. It’s cheaper to ship new clothes up than it is to clean them. When finding out about the (unnecessary) waste of clothes in space, this immediately motivated us to find a solution for this.

ZERO-G Clean has a size of 750 x 600 mm. It consists of two panels, a back panel which is attached to the wall of ISS, and a removable front panel. The clothes can be attached to a hexagonal grid using bungee cords. Exposure of UV-lights from the front and back, cleans the clothes. There is a fan to circulate the air and help remove odours and dirt. 

Upon pressing the power button, the cleaner runs for a time of 20 minutes to clean the clothes. The display shows how much time is left on the cycle. The power to turn on the display is only available when the front panel is attached to the back panel. This makes sure the UV-C lights never reach unwanted places and provides safety. The wings on the sides are handles to lift the front panel. To ensure that astronauts don’t hang on to these while floating, they aren’t intrusive but yet still indicate their function. The vents at the top and bottom of the device, as well as the front air panel allow light to pass through to indicate to astronauts that the machine is currently running. Bungee cords are used to clamp the clothes down on the hexagonal rack. These can be easily replaced over time and are a simple solution to fastening clothes. The hexagonal grid is removable and allows astronauts to prepare their laundry in their cabins.

An astronaut starts by taking his dirty laundry and attaching the clothes to the hexagonal grid. He then takes the grid with him to the ZERO-G Clean. After lifting off the front panel, he fixes the grid into place and reattaches the front panel. Now he can start the cleaning cycle by pressing the power button, and after 20 minutes the clothes will be clean and ready to wear!

Did you know…


kg of clothing worn by astronauts is thrown away and burnt up in the  atmosphere?

air ventilation
back panel
back UV-light
hexagonal grid
bungee cords
front UV-lights
power button
front panel

ZERO-G Clean uses UV-C radiation and air circulation to clean clothes in space.