OXFORD’S latest bike-based business is aiming to clean our clothes while cleaning up the city streets.

OxWash, founded by Oxford University PhD student Kyle Grant, is the city’s first cycling laundrette service.

Mr Grant, as well as founding the businesses while writing his thesis on synthetic biology, is also to be found cycling the latest loads around the city himself.

The 27-year-old, who previously spent a year working for NASA in the United States, is also working with companies developing new more environmentally-friendly detergents.

He is hoping his greenwash ethos will prove a unique selling point in the city.

He said: “We are trying to help Oxford become traffic and emission-free in our own way – it’s one of our core business aims.

“Our logistics are completely carbon-emission free and we’re trying to use new detergents that are eco-friendly to show you don’t need to use solvents on dry-cleaning.”

Mr Grant, who was born in Cape Town but grew up on the Isle of Wight, was inspired to start his business by what he said was an often-uninspiring laundry service at many Oxford colleges.

He explained: “I was really frustrated with the laundry and dry-cleaning offering at a college level.

“When I spoke to friends at other colleges I got the same story that facilities weren’t fit for purpose, the machines were poor and it was relatively expensive.

“There are really good laundrette services around the county but there was a problem with getting access to potential customers in the university colleges.

“I started thinking about the bike delivery model that companies like Deliveroo are using and thought – wouldn’t it be great if you could do that for laundry?”

Mr Grant got talking to a friend of his – Oxford University alumnus, now Melbourne-based businessman Aron D’Souza – and the two of them founded their new business.

The system works like this: first you go onto the OxWash website and register as a customer.

The company then sends you a welcome pack with a general wash bag and a suit bag, both with your own personalised QR code.

Once you’ve got laundry ready to be washed, you log onto the OxWash website and select what sort of washing service you require.

The options range from a load of everyday mixed colours laundry (£9.95) to a pair of shoes (£9.95) or a single pashmina (£6.95).

For £19.95, you can even wash an entire sports team kit.

You chose your location and time for pick-up and pay using a card or Paypal, then at your chosen time Mr Grant or one of his colleagues comes and picks your washing up.

The company sends the dirty laundry (in an electric van) to a specialist laundrette just outside Newbury then gets it back to you 48 hours later.

OxWash only started operating in November, but is now washing about 250 loads a week.

It is so popular, the firm has even been hiring the services of another Oxford bike delivery businesses, Pedal and Post.

Mr Grant said: “Chris [Benton – Pedal and Post founder] has actually been a great source of advice.

“He and his guys already have the experience of cycling around the city and the customer interaction.”

When Chris Benton founded his cycling courier firm in 2014, he, too, highlighted the zero-emissions angle, and his business is now booming.

It doesn’t hurt that his couriers are able to nimbly zip past queues of cars on Botley Road and Frideswide Square rather than sitting in traffic like the rest.

Last year, three different companies all launched ‘dockless bike’ services in the city allowing people to pick up a cycle, ride to their destination and leave it there for the next punter.

Those firms – Ofo, Pony Bikes and Mobike – are all now planning to expand their services here this summer.

What’s more, in October Oxford City Council announced plans to create what it calls ‘the world’s first zero-emissions zone’ in the city centre, banning petrol and diesel cars from an ever-increasing number of central streets.

Unless the government does introduce a ‘scrappage scheme’ to help drivers cover the cost of swapping combustion engines for electric ones, a growing number of commuters in the suburbs, and possibly businesses, may be forced to switch to bike.

All of these moves add to Oxford’s green credentials and image as a ‘cycling city’.

Of course, the method is not without its challenges.

Kyle Grant admits that the home-service laundrette service has been tried and failed several times before, but is hoping that Oxford might be uniquely suited to the model.

He explained: “Oxford is a great location because the population is so dense, which for our business is a great thing.

“Somewhere more spread-out wouldn’t work, but here there are a lot of potential customers in quite a small area.”

At the moment, OxWash is still only serving a limited number of Oxford colleges, but Mr Grant said he was hoping to expand to non-university home services within months.

He and his two fellow executives are already developing a mobile phone app which will make a home delivery service easier.

He said: “The next big step is to expand it to a home service.

“We are building the app at the moment and that will allow us to be much more flexible.”

Find out more at oxwash.com