This is laundry science at work. Researchers at the University of California at Davis have developed a compound that blends into cotton clothes and, when exposed to sunlight, destroys bacteria and toxins.
The compound is known as 2-anthraquinone carboxylic acid, or 2-AQC, and can be incorporated into cotton threads without the risk of washing off. After an hour's exposure to our yellow sun, the super compound produces reactive oxygen species, such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide, that break down nasties like E. coli and dangerous pesticides.
While it probably won't lift your average grass stain, the researchers hope to see it applied in health care, food processing, and even the military. I take this as the first step toward clothes that won't ever have to be washed again. [Journal of Material Chemistry via CNet]