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How Snakes and Leeches Provided Insight for Better Detergents

Name of Client: Procter & Gamble
Industry of Client: Consumer Products


Improve the stain-removing effectiveness of laundry products.


Together with the client, B3.8 “unpacked” the challenge to identify the functional challenges that informed our analysis of relevant biological strategies. We ranked the most promising strategies and presented the biological intelligence to the R&D team. We also provided the information in report format for the R&D department’s future use and reference.


By focusing on deep patterns in the biological world, Biomimicry 3.8 identified 30 unique biological strategies with potential to solve the vexing challenge of removing blood stains from fabric. Snakes and leeches are among the many organisms that digest blood, which is one of the toughest stain-makers. These organisms, plus many more, offered valuable design lessons for a solution with the potential to limit the use of chlorine, wastewater, and energy.


Following the delivery of our report, P&G’s R&D department shifted their entire research efforts. Principal scientist Yousef Aouad said the work gave the team a bloodstain model with a conceptual understanding of sequential steps to get rid of bloodstains. “But most importantly,” Yousef said, “the model now also explains in hindsight: Why is it that our current enzymes fall short of doing their job on bloodstains?”

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