Space Laundry Sheet and 3D Space Shampoo Sheet selected for International Space Station (ISS)
Two products from Kao will be flying into space soon: The Space Laundry Sheet for removing dirt, stains and odors from clothing and the 3D Space Shampoo Sheet for cleaning scalp and hair of dirt and sebum without using water. They were selected for the International Space Station (ISS) and are scheduled to be used on board in 2022.
The innovations are a huge step forward for what is arguably one of the most relevant issues on our planet: the threat of water and resource scarcity. Because water is an extremely precious resource even in space, daily life during long stays on the ISS is very different from that on Earth. For one thing, clothes cannot be washed. Even if the smell of sweat becomes noticeable, the astronauts have to wear the same clothes every day. In turn, the best they can do is throw them away. To wash their hair, the astronauts currently still use a special shampoo with a very small amount of water. But since they are in a weightless environment, they have to be careful when washing that no shampoo droplets circulate in the air on the space station.
Aiming to develop technologies that provide answers for the challenges of life on Earth in the future on the one hand and for science in space on the other, Kao Corporation's research departments for household products, hair care products and packaging technology submitted and won proposals for new ideas in a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) call for proposals. Two of the products Kao has now proposed, the Space Laundry Sheet for removing dirt, stains and odors from clothing and the 3D Space Shampoo Sheet for cleaning scalp and hair of dirt and sebum without using water, have now been selected to be used aboard the International Space Station (ISS) starting in 2022.
Future technology also beneficial for life on Earth
The expertise gained in developing these products will not only have applications space exploration, but also on Earth in times of disaster, hospitalization, and in countries and regions with water shortages. Kao will
continue to research ways to achieve sustainable washing and cleaning without the use of water. This is the core of Kao’s vision and ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. Kirei means purity and cleanliness and stands for a sustainable and resource-saving lifestyle.
Space Laundry Sheet
The non-woven fabric sheets are impregnated with cleaning ingredient for use on clothing. Simply wiping
clothing with the sheets without using water makes it possible to remove dirty stains and unpleasant odors. The sheets provide cleaning power equivalent to washing clothes in a washing machine with detergent. In addition, the sheets' antimicrobial and deodorizing ingredients keep clothing in a pleasant state.
3D Space Shampoo Sheet
The non-woven fabric sheets have an uneven, three‐dimensional shape and come impregnated with cleanser for use on hair. The raised bumps on the 3D sheet wipe away dirt and sebum from the scalp and roots of the hair while massaging for the head. The sheets do not need to be used with water, so astronauts can wash their hair without worrying about drops of liquid flying around in the weightless conditions of space. The sheets come with a refreshing, clean scent to provide an invigorating feel when washing hair.