Life Support Systems
Section 4.3.5.
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Paper on CO2 Dry Cleaning Method

The ability to clean clothes on long-term or permanent space missions is a driving factor to reduce consumable requirements. The article Human Daily Needs and Effluents states that 27.50 lbm (12.50 kg) of clothing wash water is required per person per day for space applications.

While much of this water can be recycled, removing detergents from the water is a difficult filtration issue, and it is a significant mass to carry to the moon, even if it can be recycled. Also, it is unlikely that a near-term lunar base would recycle the detergents, creating another consumable requirement.

A paper entitled "Evaluation of the Utilization of Supercritical Fluid Technology for Analytical, Process and Environmental Applications in Textiles" poses an alternative to water-based cleaning by a CO2-based dry cleaning process.

"Supercritical CO2 which generates no waste effluent stream, is low cost and totally recyclable, has already been demonstrated in the textile industry as a process fluid for dyeing, scouring, bleaching and dry cleaning. Additional applications might include applying finishes, extrusion and specific extraction of components from solid waste streams for recovery and recycling."

Life Support Systems

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