Inspired solution: Fast-drying Laundry

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File this under: Solutions we didn’t know we needed. Researchers in Florida — funded by P&G — have developed a detergent that leaves clothes 20% drier, reducing tumble time and thus saving electricity. (Dryers account for 5.8% of US residential electrical use.) The science? During the wash, cloth fibers act like tiny capillaries, holding on to water, even through the vigorous spin cycle. But when surface tension is lowered in the liquid detergent, capillaries release liquid more easily, and extra water is forced from clothes. To achieve the effect, scientists simply mix common ingredients in different proportion.