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Clean Tech of the Week: Wash Clothes Without Water

Less water and it still gets cleanNot exactly washing without water, but with less than 2% of a normal washing machine. That’s only 1 cup of water for those sweaty gym clothes, grubby kid-wear, and foul socks.

Washing with soap and water has been THE WAY to clean most clothes for so long, it’s hard to imagine reducing H2O by 98%. What this technology lacks in sexy bells and whistles, it gains in implications. Billions of gallons of clean water could be conserved every year simply by adopting this dry cleaning technology. Less water also means less drying, which can add energy savings to those with energy-hungry clothes dryers.

The process uses plastic granules, which tumble with your laundry and a little water and detergent. The plastic absorbs the dirt or grit and can be reused for up to six months.

“A range of tests, carried out according to worldwide industry protocols to prove the technology performs to the high standards expected in the cleaning industry, show the process can remove virtually all types of everyday stains as effectively as existing processes whilst leaving clothes as fresh as normal washing. In addition, the clothes emerge from the process almost dry, reducing the need for tumble-dryers.” (Source)

The company bent on developing this technology is called Xeros, which started out of the UK’s University of Leeds School of Design. Professor Stephen Burkinshaw is the founder of Xeros, and hopes to use £500,000 in funding to bring a product to market as soon as 2009.

Dry cleaning companies have already shown interest in the technology, especially in areas with growing concerns over solvents involved in some dry cleaning techniques. Let’s hope this technology is affordable and spreads like wildfire.

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is an environmentalist who loves to write. She grew up across the southeastern USA and especially love the Appalachian mountains. She went to school in the northeast USA in part to witness different mindsets and lifestyles than those of my southern stomping grounds. She majored in English Lit. and Anthropology. She has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, which introduced her to a wilderness and the complex issues at play in the places where relatively few people go. She also taught English in South Korea for a year, which taught her to take nothing for granted.


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