Can nanotech keep beds and jackets spotless?
While I don’t like to admit it, dogs can be dirty. Still, whether they track mud into the house or chew on messy treats, they can’t be faulted for not being able to keep their lounging areas spotless. Fortunately, more companies are using innovative textiles to design canine accessories that can withstand a dog’s messy lifestyle.
One such outfit, Dog Gone Smart, has gone so far as to dabble with nanotechnology to develop a line of goods that are easy to clean. The brand’s collection of dog beds and jackets are covered in a finish called Nanosphere. The coating takes its inspiration from lotus leaves, which feature a microscopic surface of peaks and valleys that make it hard for dirt to adhere and allows rain to easily wash any grime away. Nanosphere uses a layer of nanoparticles that form a similar structure. Liquids, dirt, and oil, the company says, only lie on the crests, which reduces adhesion and allows liquids to trickle off and shmutz to easily rinse or brush away.
While the video demonstrations on the company’s website impressively show ketchup and honey sliding right off fabrics, I wanted to know how the material stood up to real world use by a pup who loves his peanut butter-filled Kongs and laps through muddy trails. I tested Dog Gone Smart’s lounger bed and their mid-weight quilted jacket for over a month and found that while keeping both clean was easier than it was with standard cotton accessories, spot treatment was hit or miss.
My dog, Milo, managed to get his bed gunked up with peanut butter, mud, and fur pretty quickly. While his hair was easy to brush off (follicles don’t seem to embed into cotton canvas as they would without the nano coating) and dirt was also relatively easy to wipe off, the peanut butter was there to stay until the bed was put through the wash. Even when I attempted to spot clean with a wet towel, the stuff left a greasy residue that only suds and a proper spin cycle could remove.
While Milo’s potty training has been spotty, he (luckily?) didn’t leave me a deposit to test liquid absorption. Instead I mocked up a scenario using good old-fashioned water. The liquid for the most part remained pooled on the fabric, though in some areas it appeared to seep in. An optical illusion, it seems, since when I mopped up the water with a towel, the bed fabric was perfectly dry.
The quilted cotton canvas jacket fared better in our tests, though to be fair, Milo didn’t rub himself in anything as greasy as peanut butter. During an early summer rain, the coat kept droplets beaded on its exterior, allowing Milo to shake them off with ease. When my little mutt went running through a dirt and sand pit at our local trail, the jacket came home coated with evidence from his adventure. I was skeptical, but using only a dry towel, I was able to rub off all the grime. The only leftover gunk, unfortunately, stuck to the fleece underside, which despite a layer of nanoparticles is just too porous for dirt not to embed itself into, as well as to the Velcro straps.
Speaking of, the jacket’s adjustable closures have a disappointing design feature, in that the Velcro is sewn more than an inch from the edge of both the torso and neck straps. This left the closures to stick out from Milo’s body and neck in a way that made me continuously double check if the coat was closed properly.
Both products are a bit pricey in comparison to standard beds and jackets. The Lounger runs from $60 for a 19-by-15 inch bed to $151 for a 37-by-31 incher, about twice as much as resting spots without the nanotech. The jacket will set you back $45 to $95, depending on the size of your dog. Is it worth it? Well, is your dog prone to getting dirty? Does it shed a lot? Since both pieces are fairly easy to clean and don’t hold fur, they could be beneficial for some folks, especially those who don’t have easy access to a washer/dryer. Call me a superficial Luddite, but I personally find each product’s design a little lackluster and would rather spend the extra dough on something with less tech and more style, even if that means it needs to be thrown in the laundry basket more often.
(Images: Sonia Zjawinski)