Tiny beads and less water - the future of the washing machine?

10 March 2010


Just what kind of unhinged madness from hell is THIS then? The future of washing machines? 90% less water than we use now? Beads? BEADS??

And get this; once the beads have reached the end of their working life in the washing machine, they can be recycled and used to make, among other things, car dashboards. No, really.

The idea is that thousands of the tiny beads flood the drum of the washing machine and do the job that good old hot water and soap powder do now. What’s more, the beads can be used hundreds of time before they need to be replaced. Cowabunga, as someone over there just roared.

If it takes off, it’ll bring dry-cleaning into the home and save over 40 gallons of water a year in the UK alone. It’s probably way over 40 gallons to be precise – we don’t have an exact number and thought it would be best to hedge our bets at the bottom end of the scale.

It’s a system that’s been devised by a chap called Bill Westwater (nice) and his company Xeros, and Bill reckons it could be mass-produced by the end of 2011. Bill says that: “The net saving in water, detergent and electricity and including the cost of the beads, we calculate, is about a 30% cost saving for the user.”

He reckons the machine has been tested successfully on a range of stains including mud, red wine, curry stains and ink from ballpoint pens. Coming soon – grown-up versions of those kids’ ovens that run on ice? Hope so.



  • Mark M.
    Can I be first to say - "Slow news day?"
    • Andy D.
      Fucking hell Mark, give us an hour or so to come up with something better.
  • Tom
    Looks.....interesting. Don't knock this stuff Mark, otherwise you'll find these beads somewhere the sun don't shine...and you'll love it.
  • Mark P.
    I suppose BW just pulled this story out of their arse then? *Like the rest...*
  • Billy
    As most of my washing lots contain at least one pair of Skiddy Knicks, I don't fancy the idea of these recyclable beads.
  • The B.
    Cue finding beads in anything that can hold them, turnups, pockets, jammed in creases, etc. And what happens on rinse cycle when the machine flushes them all down the drain? "save over 40 gallons of water a year in the UK alone" Do you mean per household? It's not a lot of saving if you mean the entire UK.
  • Andy D.
    Like I said, 'OVER 40 gallons' - it could be 40 million gallons but I didn't want to over-estimate it. The key word there is 'over'
  • Nobby
    I bet they test this on pieces of fabric rather than clothes. Surely the beads get stuck in the corners of pockets.
  • Gob
  • Nobby
    This was cut from the guardian ... ------ According to the Energy Saving Trust, just under one-third of household energy is used to heat water. Laundry washing also accounts for 15% of all household water consumption; meaning if everyone in the UK converted from normal washing to the Xeros system, the carbon emissions saved would be the equivalent of taking 1.4 m cars off the roads. Another perk of the device is that it should allow many delicates to be "dry" cleaned at home. ------ That seems a false calculation to me. 33% of energy is used to heat water, and 15% of all household water consumption is for laundry. But laundry is typically done at lower temperatures compared to most hot water used in the house, so who cares if 33% of energy is used to heat water. They seem to link completely unrelated sentences and come up with a conclusion with no justification.
  • Fella-Tio
    'a lot' of water would be better ten Andy, its a more scientific sounding figure... interesting stuff, wonder how it works?
  • Amanda H.
    FT It uses the same technology as an Essex girl with sperm.
  • Nobby
    > ‘a lot’ of water would be better ten Andy, its a more scientific sounding figure… A large barrel would be even better. Or maybe how many bottles (of unspecified size) you could fill. Cos that will be one big number, if you consider small bottles. Or maybe how many averages pisses you would have to do to get the same amount of water.
  • NellieIrrelevant
    If anyone thinks this is actually going to appear in supermarkets any time soon, dream on. Do you realise how much money is made by Proctor and Gamble from good old fashioned soap powder? Just look at the amount of TCK ads there are on the TV for detergent. There's probably a MOSSAD assassination squad parked outside Westwater's house right now. And I hope his offices and staff are insured against accidental release of radiation ie with a small nuclear device.
  • HotUKDeals B.
    [...] today, we blathered on about the future of the washing machine – some ass-backwards hippy contraption that uses beads instead of good old fashioned soap and [...]
  • zeddy
    I worry about beads.
  • best S.
    [...] Tiny beads and less water – the future of the washing machine … [...]
  • chamilia p.
    On arirang, She was once asked who her Bestfriend is and she answered it is Tiffany. Arirang gave them friendship Bracelets

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