Interview with Dr. Neil Lant from P&G

Exclusive 60-second interview with: Dr. Neil Lant, Research Fellow, Fabric & Home Care R&D, Procter & Gamble

Please give us a quick overview of what we will hear from you during your presentation?

Everyone expects laundry detergents to clean, and fabric conditioners to soften – these are the prototypical consumer benefits of these products. However, caring for fabrics goes way beyond cleaning and softening and we need to pay closer attention to the longevity of fabrics and preservation of their newness. I will describe insights from our research in this area, and some of the approaches taken to improve clothing longevity, for example in development of paradigm-breaking cleaning technology to improve soil removal through new mechanisms without causing fabric integrity loss, enabling conversion to colder and quicker washing cycles and demonstrating the role of fabric conditioners in clothing longevity.


What are the biggest industry challenges?

Improving sustainability is the biggest challenge facing the industry today. However, the real challenge is achieving this without compromising product performance or significantly increasing cost. We also need to properly consider the use stage: is a detergent sustainable if it requires high wash temperatures to achieve good performance or accelerates the degradation of clothing because it uses old-fashioned non-selective cleaning chemistry like soda and bleach?


What are the top three trends in the cleaning products industry from your point of view?

Beyond sustainability, which is more of a culture change than a trend, I have been fascinated by recent trends in a few areas:
E-commerce and appliance innovation: we now have autodosing washing machines that are able to re-order their own fabric care products over the internet for home delivery. We are also seeing washing machines with increased functionality and performance, such as microfiber filters and build-in water softening.
Textile innovation: we are observing a lot of change in clothing manufacturing processes, such as increased use of wood-based fibers, new low/no water dyeing processes, greater diversity in textile finishes and growth in wearable textiles.
All of these trends bring great opportunities for collaboration and innovation at the seams between the fabric care product, appliance and textile industries.


What are you most looking forward to at the Cleaning Products Europe conference 2020?

A great opportunity to engage and find new connections for innovation. We have a strong ‘Connect and Develop’ culture and I’m personally interested in new approaches to sustainably clean and care for fabrics. Here in Europe, we wash over 35 billion laundry loads a year and the vast majority are carried out using heated water. The potential for impact through innovative technology and products is phenomenal.