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25th May 2020
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Perhaps with all the flooding right now, it’s not the best time to try and enthuse readers on the features and benefits of a washing machine that cleans clothes with millions of tiny nylon polymer beads instead of water, but when one considers the chances of a hosepipe ban a few months hence, the article in the Daily Mail deserved further exploration.
The statement that: “If all UK households converted to the technology, it would save around seven million tonnes of water per week,” had me hooked.
The article argues that the beads have an inherent polarity that attracts stains –explaining that the process is similar to the one that causes white nylon garments to become dingy over time. Apparently, under humid conditions, the polymer changes and becomes absorbent, which means that dirt is not just attracted to the surface, it is actually absorbed into the centre, where it remains trapped.
In this particular application, the beads are added to the machine, along with a cup of water and a few drops of a special detergent. After the wash cycle is complete, the beads are spun out of the load through holes in the drum, into the sump pump where they are stored for later reuse. They are said to be good for some 500 loads.
As well as requiring very little water and a fraction of the electricity used to run an ordinary washing machine, the process drastically reduces the amount of detergent needed to clean clothes. Clever, isn’t it?
It was only when I read the comments at the bottom of the online article, that a potential pitfall was brought to mind…
“Well, just how do they get the beads out of pockets?” said one.
“Little beads in pockets, rolling all over the floor and me slipping on them. Maybe all our pockets will need zippers next.”
I won’t go on…
The link to the article is below and I’d love your thoughts on whether or not this technology is likely to catch on:
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31st January 2014