Water-efficient washing machines could be relics of the past should a new machine that uses plastic chips pan out. Friction and solvent are the main ingredients of getting clothes clean, and the Xeros may be the most efficient machine to utilize these two elements and minimize the role of water. The Xeros uses less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine, using just one cup of water, a little detergent, and thousands of reusable plastic chips (as the “solid solvent”) to beat the clothes clean and absorb stains.
Basically, a user throws clothes in and starts the load, then a cartridge in the back of the machine drops in the plastic chips, and a cup of water including detergent is added. The water dissolves the stains and dirt, which is then absorbed by the chips. At the end of the cycle, a grill at the bottom of the machine opens to collect the chips. The process leaves clothes nearly dry, so using a dryer is not necessary.
Tests from the University of Leeds show that the machine can get rid of all kinds of everyday stains, making it as cleanly as a washing machine, and the chips can be used up to 100 times, which adds up to about six months worth of washing. Xeros Ltd hopes they can get the machine on the
It’ll still be awhile before we see if the method really pans out for the average consumer, and what I have yet to find out is if the chips themselves are environmentally friendly, what they’re made of, and what happens to them after that 100th load. And I’m also wondering how well that grill will work because I can just imagine finding these scattered throughout your house, your sock and underwear drawer, your pockets…But the system is already getting compared to the Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner, which seemed really off the wall at the time yet worked out wonderfully.
Considering the many gadgets and alternatives created to make washing machines more clean and efficient, it’s clear we’re ready for a revolutionary solution. I’m hoping these machines turn out to be everything the creators make it out to be.
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