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Dolfi Ultrasonic Technology Keeps Your Activewear at Peak Performance

Dolfi Ultrasonic Technology Keeps Your Activewear at Peak Performance

Activewear has come a long way from the days of a traditional tracksuit. 

Now the items you use for crossfit, yoga or cycling are all state of the art pieces of textile created and designed in laboratories after years of research and experimentation to bring us the best performing activewear. 

                   

Not just to keep us warm and comfortable but to even improve performance.  A study published by the AUTEX Research Journal goes deep into what it takes to produce activewear that gives you the edge.  It mentions applications like nanotechnology, UV protection, anti-bacterial fabric and anti-static microfibers with complex fabric structures, all designed to help you perform at your best, every time.

Can't we just wash our gym clothes in the washing machine?

After all that development and technology to make the best piece of clothing possible we just throw them in the washing machine when we’re done.  While washing machines are another great invention, they can damage your perfectly designed leggings and cause them to lose that extra quality that you paid for when picking them out.

 

 

When you throw your sportswear in the washing machine and give it a spin cycle the damage to those fabrics is irreversible.  So after a short time, you need to go out and buy some more. 

Not to mention the cost of running the washing machine after every session.  Not only are you using electricity to power the washing machine, but a typical washing machine will also use anywhere from 70 to 120 liters of water in a single wash cycle.

What if there was a way to deep clean your gear after every use and never risk damaging those complex fabric structures? Save money and have a lower carbon footprint?   Well, ultrasonic technology is the answer!

 

What is Ultrasonic Technology and How Does it Work?

Put simply, ultrasonic technology can be applied to cleaning fabric because of the cavitation phenomenon. The ultrasonic devices have a transducer inside that converts electric power into a range of sound waves. These sound waves create rapid changes of pressure in the water and this generates millions of tiny bubbles. 

These bubbles then implode creating micro-jetstreams of water (mixed with detergent) that dislodges the dirt from deep inside the fabrics.  This activity allows for the washing of textiles without traditional mechanical rubbing and it is a perfect alternative to hand washing. 

Industrial ultrasonic cleaners have been using this technology for years to clean mechanical components, surgical instruments, human body implants and other items that would get damaged in other processes, but now this technology is available for you at home so you can take care of your sportswear.

           

 

 

A Use Case for Dolfi

Activewear is a broad concept, let’s take a look at one specific use case:  Swimwear.

Whether you’re chasing a wave or doing laps of the pool, your swimwear takes a lot of punishment.  Swimwear applies all those state of the art designs and technologies to produce fabric and shapes that work with you so they don’t slow you down.

Yet the first thing you and I do is expose them to saltwater or chlorine filled swimming pools.  Then what do you do?  You rinse them off under the tap and leave them out to dry because you need them again tomorrow. You’re not alone.  We all do it.  But saltwater and chlorine remain deep in the fibers and slowly weakens the fabric and it eventually loses its integrity.

                   

 

Washing your swimwear with Dolfi means not only you do not need aggressively rub it to get it clean, it cleans at a microscopic level to ensure there is no trace of saltwater, chlorine or even bacteria that always gets trapped.

So when you get home from your next trip to the beach or swimming pool just drop your swimwear in the sink filled with warm water and leave it to Dolfi to rinse them.  You don’t even need detergent.

When you want to give them a complete clean before storing them away, by all means you can use some detergent with Dolfi.  But when you’re just looking to get the chemicals and bacteria out of your swimwear there’s no better ally than Dolfi.

 

                   

 

What are the benefits of using Dolfi to clean and protect your activewear?

As we’ve learned, the process of ultrasonic cleaning is very delicate on fabric since there is no rubbing, twisting or stretching of the items.  So your favorite technologically designed sportswear will last much longer and keep performing at it best.

Using the Dolfi device only requires 5 to 10 liters of water instead of the 70 to 120 liters a washing machine will use whether it’s a full load or just you gym gear.

The Dolfi device uses around 80 times less energy than a traditional washing machine.  While the Dolfi device does not fully replace your automatic washing machine, it’s there for your small washloads and quick gentle refreshment of your daily items. It will reduce the number of times you turn on your washing machine, saving water, energy and your special clothing.

It’s very simple to use.  Just fill the sink or any basin with 5 to 10 liters of warm water (about 30°C)

Put your Dolfi device at the bottom of the sink and make sure there are approx.. 5 cm of space between Dolfi and your clothes so the tiny bubbles can do their thing. 

 

 

You can set and forget.  Hand-washing is not only damaging to delicate fibers, it also requires you to be there actively washing the items.  Since the Dolfi does all the work, you can set it and go do something else.  You just gained an hour back.  The device turns off automatically when the cycle is completed, so you just need to hang out to dry once you're back and you are done!

 

 

Do you have some activewear that you could use Dolfi on?  Check out the full specs here.  Your training clothes will thank you.

How to Use Dolfi - AKA The Holy Grail

How to Use Dolfi - AKA The Holy Grail
DOLFI EDUCATION SERIES

We created this How to Use Dolfi guide with everyone in mind. Whether you’ve just received your brand new, ultra-sleek device, you’ve had it for a while or you’re looking into getting your very own Dolfi - these tips will guide you through the entire process of using your Dolfi for optimal results, which will prevent any technical glitches from shortening the life of your new best friend in laundry. 

What types of clothes Dolfi is designed for:

Your next-gen washing device is not meant for all types of fabrics. Here are the items Dolfi is ideal for and will deliver the best results: 

  • Clothes made of delicate materials such as silk, chiffon, moire, most sheer fabrics, lace, cashmere, and mohair
  • Clothes that are originally meant to be hand-wash only but are not damaged from contact with water alone like leather pants
  • Shaped apparel (dresses, bras, corsages, and hats)
  • Fashion with applications like buttons, studs, jewellery and more 
  • Delicate lingerie and undergarments 
  • Activewear like leggings, sports bras, sport shirts, sport socks and trainers
  • Swimwear 

     

    Lace is a perfect example of a fabric that Dolfi is great at cleaning (Image sourced from Unsplash)

     

    What types of clothes are NOT recommended to wash with Dolfi 

    If you want to get the best results for your laundry, then you should take note of the clothing items that won’t work well with Dolfi. These are: 

    • Big volume laundry items like bed linens or towels
    • Working clothes with heavy duty dirt, like engine oil 
    • Jeans  
    • Large knitted items like blankets and big ol’ jerseys (sorry granny!) 

       

      The perfect water conditions for Dolfi 

      Achieving perfect water conditions is about the single most important thing to keep in mind when using your device. Water is the medium that creates the necessary conditions for the ultrasonic energy to do its cleaning magic and radiate its power. A low amount of water reduces the size of the active ultrasonic energy field and diminishes the cleaning results. You need enough water in the container to allow your clothes to float freely thus creating the best cleaning conditions. 

      It’s important to ensure that your Dolfi is never switched on and running outside of water. Pay close attention to the water level and make sure the water doesn't drain from the container during the wash cycle (Your Dolfi Sink Plug will help with this). These points are extremely important as both situations can lead to the device overheating.

      How much water do I need? 

      The more water you have around the fabric and device - the stronger the cleaning possibilities and results. We don’t mean that you need to head out to the swimming pool to wash your favorite threads - only that you need about 5-10 litres of lukewarm water for 1-2 pounds of laundry. 

      Water temperature 

      The water temperature should be around 30-40 degrees °C (86°F - 104°F). It should feel warm, but not burn to the touch. If the water is too hot, it can damage your delicates, especially woven ones.

      What container do I need?

      Dolfi should be used in a waterproof container. Hard materials, such as ceramic or metal, reflect the ultrasonic waves a bit better than plastic. Using it in your standard bathroom ceramic sink is perfect. 

       

      A standard ceramic bathroom sink is the perfect container for your Dolfi

       

      How to position the clothes and the device 

      The device needs to be placed in water in the center with the logo facing upwards. Let’s get one thing straight - your Dolfi is not meant for large washing loads but should instead be used for small loads and particularly delicate clothes. Ensure that the clothes are not packed too tightly. If there’s not enough water for the clothes to float freely, you’ll have less than ideal cleaning results. 

      Take note that you need about 5 cm of only water (no clothes or other objects) directly above the device. Your clothes should be placed in such a way that there’s an opening in the middle with the device being visible when looking into the container. This ensures that the ultrasonic energy can be radiated in the water to create the optimal conditions for cleaning. 

      An exception is when you’re washing only 1 item with a heavier stain. You’ll then need to place stained area directly above the device, while maintaining the 5 cm gap of only water. That’s where the energy radiation field is the strongest. 

      Dolfi and stains 

      If you have some stains on your clothes, you would generally try to pre-treat the stains before throwing them into a conventional washing machine. The same is true for Dolfi – you need to give special treatment to certain stains before the normal washing cycle. You can make use of a detergent enhancer or stain removing solution

      However, you’ll be happy to hear that Dolfi is great at removing common stains such as red wine, cacao, coffee, many juices, blood, sweat, and oil. Some stains that have large particle sizes, such as ketchup or mustard, will require an initial treatment or rinse in order to remove the heavy bulk of dirt. For those ‘eviler’ stains - detergent enhancer or stain remover will help you achieve the best results. 

      When you’re washing your swimwear, you don’t need to use any detergent as Dolfi is able to clean the chlorine and sea salt effectively without it. 

      How do I know if it’s working? 

      Due to the nature of ultrasound, which is beyond the capabilities of human hearing, it’s quite difficult to see or hear whether or not your clothes are really being cleaned. That’s because the device is completely inaudible to the human ear but take a quick video with your phone and the microphone will pick up a sound that’s so powerfully loud, you’ll barely need any other reassurance. 

      Another way you can test the functionality of the device is to simply put your Dolfi in a transparent container with enough water, (logo facing up), put a source of light next to the water (like your phone’s flashlight), switch on the device and then you’ll see millions of beautiful little bubbles moving around due to the ultrasonic waves doing its thing. And there you go! 

      We’ll be providing more educational pieces on different things you can wash with your small, but oh-so-powerful Dolfi. If you ever feel lost the How to use Dolfi - AKA The Holy Grail should be your go-to. Stay tuned and learn more on how to stay fresh with Dolfi. Anywhere you go.

      Ultrasonic Clean: A Dolfi Story | Chapter Two: Combining Design with Technology

      Ultrasonic Clean: A Dolfi Story | Chapter Two: Combining Design with Technology

      After finalizing the unique and elegant design for the Dolfi device, it was time to pair it with the advanced technology that would live inside and create a working prototype. This was the moment every company that creates an innovative product eagerly awaits. The process, however, wasn’t without its ups and downs.

      Combining our new casing design with the engineering prototype brought forth unexpected issues that were predictable, but difficult to identify at that time.

      The functional testing with our shiny new 3D printed casings kept failing time after time. Attempting to discover the reason for this failure, we made more prototypes with 3D printed plastic and ran multiple tests. We could not understand the reason why and started to doubt the reliability of our ultrasonic system, but the engineering prototypes housed in generic plastic boxes still worked well. We even considered that the casing's unique shape might be causing the problems and that our amazing Dolfi design might not be suitable at all for optimal performance. It was a tough time of setbacks and doubts.

      Some of our 3D printed casings looked almost identical to plastic pieces from mass production.

       



      Changing their approach, our engineers decided to test the acoustic properties of our beautiful 3D printed casings and determined that even though they looked very much like injection molded plastics from mass production, they had completely different acoustic properties due to the different production techniques. Enough so that they ultimately caused the ultrasonic system to fail. So much for the fast way.

      Technology had come a long way over the last few years. Back in 2014, 3D printing was advanced enough to allow us to quickly and relatively cheaply produce good looking prototypes, but once we discovered that the material’s properties were causing the problem, we had to change our prototyping technique. The next best option for producing a sample was by CNC machining our casing out of plastic blocks, pretty much like a sculptor carves from stone, only done by a precise machine. It took us a while to find blocks of the right plastic for our casings. The options for readily available plastic materials were quite limited, and our application demanded material with particular parameters for factors such as acoustic properties and temperature resistance.

       


      CNC machined casings made from various materials.

      Finally, after several long weeks, we got the new casings to the lab. This time the tech worked fine which was great news! We overcame a major hurdle but, as it mostly happens during the development process, you solve one problem, and another one is already waiting for you. We discovered that the casing’s size on the functional surface was just a few millimeters smaller than was needed.

       



      We didn't perceive the little resizing as a big challenge and asked Andre, our designer, to scale up the casing a bit. However, it appeared that scaling was not as easy for physical objects as it might be for 2D pictures on a screen. “We needed to flatten an area on top of the device slightly,” explained Andre, “but that interfered with the overall smoothness of our design. Adjustments were required all around so as not to ruin the look and feel of the entire object. At this point, it was not so much designing anymore as it was crafting the finer details. It was a fight for every millimeter." With him, we were engineering the functionality through the eyes of a craftsman.

      Finally, with a functional prototype in our hands, we were excited to share our creation with the world.

       



      To be continued in Chapter Three: Crowdfunding

      Previously, Chapter One: Design