A waterless washing machine sounds like some sort of science fiction futuristic device, however a University of Leeds Professor and the Xeros Company are working to make it a reality available to consumers by 2010.
The key to getting clothes clean with very little water is a new washing system that relies on specialized nylon polymer beads developed by University of Leeds Professor Stephen Burkinshaw. The beads absorb the dirt and stains from the articles of laundry.
The laundry only needs to be slightly damp, thus the washing system uses 90% less water than conventional washers we use today. It also uses less detergent and the need for clothes to be tumbled dry (clothes dryer) which increases the money and energy savings.
The beads can be used over and over again; absorbing the dirt over hundreds of washes and can be easily recycled.
The Xeros Website claims that household savings could be 40% over traditional washing costs and the if every home in the US switched to their system, the carbon offset would be equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road and would save 1.2 billion tons of water per year – the equivalent of 17 million swimming pools.”