NEW ORLEANS — Kansas City-based GreenEarth Cleaning debuted a water-saving laundry technology today on the Clean Show floor that uses nylon beads to save up to 90% of the water used in a typical cycle. The company has partnered with a British startup, Xeros, to test and market the product in the U.S. market.
The process was invented at the U.K.’s Leeds University by scientist Stephen Burkinshaw. Seeking to use polymers to get dyes to adhere to fabrics better, he realized that stains are similar to dyes, and that the same polymers could help remove staining materials from clothing.
Using a special machine to tumble nylon beads about the size of grains of rice, the Xeros process washes and rinses clothing using very small amounts of water and detergent. As a result, Xeros saves water, GreenEarth says, and it can save up to 30% of the operating costs involved with heating it and removing it from garments.
“Not only are you saving a lot of water in the rinse cycle, you’re saving a lot of electricity, too,” said Bill Westwater, Xeros CEO.
While the system is a “work in progress,” he added, GreenEarth is helping the company test Xeros machines in American drycleaning plants — similar to the field testing GreenEarth used to test its silicon-based solvent before releasing it 10 years ago at Clean ’99.