Interview: Oxwash – the new sustainable laundry platform
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Interview: Oxwash – the new sustainable laundry platform

Oxwash is the new eco-friendly, sustainable approach to the traditional laundry model, which launched in Oxford 2018, prior to Cambridge and London in 2020. Having secured multiple rounds of seed investment, committed investors and partnerships with Vanish and rental clothing platform, Hurr since, 2022 looks bright with domestic expansion and future dreams to build a platform that powers circular models such as garment resale and aftercare. 

We caught up with Oxwash founder, Kyle Grant. The back story was so fascinating, I have focused on that here – you can find the stats and science backed research about the impact of traditional laundry/washing on the climate in the next journal post.

‘I got the idea for a laundry business at university. It was my turn to wash the team rugby kit but every machine in the uni laundry was broken and when I asked around to borrow one, no one had a free machine. So the initial idea came to me – and armed with a backpack and bike, I started collecting and washing clothes for my fellow students,’ begins Grant.

‘In summer 2018, as the idea was catching on, I went looking for a business partner, and electric cargo bikes sourced from London. I began to do a lot of research into commercial laundries and found the results shocking: traditional establishments were cramped and toxic with a lot of lint in the air, and chlorine being used to bleach whites. The end result was vast amounts of water, energy and fibres all going down the drain. These laundries were serving schools, hospitals, hotels etc.’

So, Grant, vehement that he would build a sustainable business, came up with his own bespoke model and in 2019, built his first ‘lagoon’ (a ‘dark kitchen’ processing hub for laundry). It’s easy to see why Oxwash are determined to create ‘better’ laundry services: early research shows the laundry industry emits 265,000 tonnes of CO2 in the UK alone, causing 35% ocean plastic pollution and using 65% of our drinking water. Moreover in the wash, every garment sheds fibres, so fine they escape the usual filtration process and end up in rivers, oceans or our air; plastic microfibres do not biodegrade, instead they persist in the environment, attracting other toxic materials to swell in size, decreasing the available oxygen in the water.

Oxwash has employed ‘space age technology’ similarly used by Nasa in their approach to laundry to protect the planet: they use reactive ozone molecules in the washing process, which are ideal to eradicate germs and odours, traditionally used in spacecraft disinfection, triggering oxidation and cell lysis, ozone destroys microorganisms.

The model is simple for consumers to use: customers place an order online, select washes, Oxwash riders pick up items on zero emissions cargo bikes, and deliver back at a selected time.

Grant explains the most challenging part of building Oxwash has been ‘finding the innovation to achieve net zero carbon emissions, to remove the need to burn natural gas in our tumble dryers.’ However, the future for Oxwash is looking bright, ‘we are working on three patentable inventions to reduce the moisture content remaining in textiles to enable the jump from gas to electricity as a heat source in their tumble dryers and roller ironer.’

Ultimately to build a proprietary scalable platform to power the circular fashion and textile sector.