Washing Without Water

You can't argue with cleaning your clothes - everyone has to do it at some point - but you can argue with all the water that gets washed down the drain along with the dirt and stains. One company thinks it has a better way.
According to the EPA, one typical washing machine load drives up your electric bill and consumes more than 40 gallons of fresh water. Luckily, the Xeros Cleaning team in Sheffield, England has an idea, using polymer beads, cutting down water wasted by washing machines by up to 80 percent.

Xeros CEO Bill Westwater said it all began with the research of textile scientists at Leeds University located in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.

“Food stains are very much like dyes,” said Westwater. “They’re unwanted coloration, so if they knew how to stick onto polymers, maybe they could translate that knowledge into using the polymers to unstick and take away stains from clothes.”

Westwater explained that the particular polymers used by Xeros have an absorbent quality. This means that dirt does not just stick to the outside of the beads. Rather, the dirt is diffused into the center of the beads, locking the stain away from the clothes permanently.

These beads can be used hundreds of times, making them truly sustainable.

The washers are currently being used at an industrial level, but Xeros says that they are working to bring them to the consumer market. Westwater estimates that may take two to three years.

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