So we’ve seen a few ways to save on water when it comes to washing clothes, but none quite so efficient as the Xeros machine. Instead of using gallons of water, the Xeros machine depends on polymer beads that when combined with a small amount of H2O, enough to get the beads damp, they attract dirt away from the clothing. The beads are good for hundreds of washes and according to its inventor, Stephen Burkinshaw, the machine uses 90% less water than a traditional washing machine and 40% less energy once you account for the reduction in drying time since the clothes are just slightly damp and not wet.
Toss one of these in every US household and the carbon emission reduction is the equivalent of taking 5 million cars off the road, while water conserved is 1.2 billion gallons. You’ve still gotta use detergent, but I don’t think any conservation would make me pass up that downy fresh smell. The Xeros machines are set to go into production sometime in 2010, but there is no word on when they’ll be commercially available.