New British washing machine uses no water

British boffins have developed a washing machine that uses virtually no water.

Dampened clothes are spun in a machine with small polymer beads that act as the cleaning agent. The process leaves clothes clean and virtually dry.

Developer Xeros, a spin-out from the University of Leeds, said three years of laboratory testing had shown that the cleaning process cleans as well as conventional washing while requiring 90 per cent less water and operating with substantially less electricity.

The technology was developed by chemistry-textiles professor Stephen Burkinshaw over a period of 30 years at the University.

The polymer beads can be reused hundreds of times and process requires far less electricity and detergent than with conventional washing machines.

"Our ambition is to be a bit like Dyson." Bill Westwater, the firm's chief executive told the Telegraph. "As long as the technology delivers the advantages we think it is going to this might become the new technology platform for laundry."

Mr Westwater said Xeros aims to have a commercially viable product by the end of the year.