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Washing With Less Water Answered

Washing full loads of laundry with only one cup of water? The Xeros washing machine, created by researchers at Leeds University, uses plastic chips combined with just one cup of water and detergent to clean your clothes. Since washing machines are a major source of water consumption, this invention, if it is viable, could help reduce our water usage by an enormous amount.

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Hmmm, it sounds like a great way to directly save water, but as with TUA and Patrik, I'm a bit skeptical about the chips. My main concern is: how often would the chips need to be replaced? (That is, do you only use them once per load; can you use them on multiple loads, if so, how many?; etc.)

Check the link: 20 kg of chips, but they can be used up to 100 times - the equivalent of six months washing.

100 times - the equivalent of six months washing.

You obviously don't know my Mom :D

Yeah, that would be the equivalent of about one week for us.

If you change your clothes like your Avatar I can see why.... <>

Well that's better then the way the local dive bombing hawk treats me, well ok I accidentally hit him with the car first ...

It's much nicer then the fresh logo I found on the side window this morning ...

Oh and you think your safe ?? He's a Swanson hawk, he does fly south for the winter ....

Us too! My kids can't play in the mud, because they'll get it dirty.

I seem to remember a macine that used ultra high frequence sound to wash clothing without detergent. I think it was made by Mitsubishi. Anyone else remember that one?

Why remember when you can Google? ;-)

Sanyo made one, but I don't know if they still do, links are from 2001-2002. But for $1,100 I can understand why they weren't selling outside of Japan at the time.

$1,100 .. that's cheaper then several front load washers on the market today...

True, but home improvement / makeover shows are about the only place I've seen them deployed. Here in the trenches, that's a big chunk of take-home pay. You see the risers for them, those things with the drawers you can set them on? Nearly $200 right there. That's about half of a low-end but capable washer right there. Won't have all the fancy cycles, but the clothes will be as clean as they come from the laundromat.

Water consumption is less of a real-world issue for most people in the US, it's still cheap enough. Lots of people have wells. "Green-ness" should concentrate on a more comprehensive water issue, and promote using reclaimed water. You can do your wash with less than potable water. There's lots of drinkable water being used to flush toilets. Make a solution that can be used when a home is built, or added during a major renovation, and that will be something people will go for. Much more than expensive washers that use ultrasonics or plastic chips.

Meanwhile, energy consumption is still a big issue. Well, guess what? Back when I was still reading Consumer Reports, they reported the detergents on the market worked just fine with cold water, hot wasn't needed. Try it yourself. This washer uses heat for cleaning, plus the energy to make the chips. Now from the story I linked to, which was the originating article for the topic link, "Researchers say the technology, which uses less than 2 per cent of the water and energy of a conventional machine..." I can believe 2% of the water, but not 2% of the energy, it still moves the clothes around (energy for motor), plus has heating, then there's those chips. The dramatic energy savings, whatever they are, would mostly come from not using so much heated water. Which you don't have to use anyway.

Try this link. Uses almost 10 pounds of 2/10 inch sized plastic chips? Granted they're good for 100 loads, but still...

Welcome to where the lab meets the real world. The water is heated, some clothes need cold water. Leaves clothes "virtually dry," thus possibly no drying needed, so when and what kind of fabric softener do you use? And how many little plastic chips do you want to fish out of all your pockets and socks? Hope they don't get stuck in the fold of the briefs, nor have sharp edges.

But how much water does to take to produce the 200 grams of plastic it uses per a wash?

Not sure how much water is used in the production of various chemical, but I doubt it's in the gallons-per-pound range. The amount of oil needed to make 20 kilogram of plastic chips would be substantial, but hopefully these chips should be readily recyclable.