Save Time, Water with Self-Washing Dishes

Swedish company designs eco-friendly, cellulose-based dishware

If you’re tired of doing the dishes, reprieve may be on the horizon: Swedish design company Tomorrow Machine has created self-washing tableware. These cellulose-based dishes, colored in marble blue and white like traditional ceramic, have a special self-cleaning coating. The innovative surface of the dishes, which mimics the surface of a lotus leaf, repels dirt and water, so no water, soap — or effort — is required to wash them. After eating and drinking, all you have to do is throw any remnants of food or drink in the compost, and voila, the dishes are done.

Tomorrow Machine, a design company based in Sweden and France, paired up with research company Innventia to create the cellulose-based dishes in response to a challenge by the Swedish Forest Industries Federation. The federation called on Tomorrow Machine and Innventia to find innovative uses for cellulose, a renewable resource harvested from Swedish forests. The companies paired up to create the futuristic self-washing dishes, made of light but strong cellulose material.


To create the dishes, the cellulose pulp is made into a sheet, then heat-pressed into dish molds. The cellulose becomes hard like ceramic, but the lightweight material is more durable and does not crack or break, offering an improvement on traditional ceramicware.

The cellulose dishes are eco-friendly since they’re derived from a renewable resource, and they offer the added environmental benefit of not requiring soap and water for a lifetime of upkeep.

The self-cleaning dishes feature a coating that’s a new technology developed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The innovative coating is comprised of a wax dissolved at a high temperature that repels water, oil and dirt. The repellant coating ensures that no one needs to wash the dishes. Any food leftovers can be simply thrown into the compost, saving water, soap and an argument about whose turn it is to do the dishes.

Tomorrow Machine, Inhabitat