New Washing Machine Requires Only One Cup of Water

A British company has announced plans to introduce a potentially revolutionary washing machine it's been developing to the North American market. The machine has been in testing for three years and the company promises that it can wash a load of laundry with only a single cup of water.

The washing machine, dubbed Xeros, could forever alter how we think about washing. Instead of using a large tank full of soapy water, the machine requires little more than a cup of water (this equates to 90 percent less than a conventional washing machine). This could save billions of gallons of water every year (assuming the machine was adopted by a majority of U.S. homes).

The machine also uses less soap. Instead, the Xeros machine relies on tiny nylon beads (about 45 pounds of them, in fact). These reusable beads absorb dirt and remove stains. Once they are saturated with dirt, they must be replaced (the company says they can be used as many as 100 times before becoming saturated).

Xeros claims that its machine is no more damaging to clothing than a conventional washing machine.

Not On Store Shelves Yet
This new washing machine won't be available to the average homeowner in the immediate future. Instead, Xeros plans to target laundromats and dry cleaning businesses. This is probably a good idea for everyone involved, as it will allow the general public to gauge whether the machines are worthwhile or whether they're a fraud. No competent business owner will spend a penny on a washing machine that doesn't save money, so, if these machines get the approval of commercial cleaners, then we'll all know that they are up to the task of cleaning the laundry produced in the average home.

Truly a Greener Option?
Some environmentalists have questioned whether these new washing machines are truly better for their environment. They use much less water than conventional washing machines and require much less drying, but they will produce a lot of new plastic (since they use small nylon balls in place of most of the water). Plastic pollution is a major problem on our planet (particularly in the ocean) and these new machines certainly won't help with that cause.

Xeros claims that the nylon beads are recyclable, but it remains to be seen exactly how this will be accomplished. Nylon can be recycled as plastic, but it isn't eligible for most curbside recycling programs in the U.S.

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