Now, you don't need to feel guilty about the gallons of water wasted with just one set of laundry. A new environmentally friendly washing machine, hitting showrooms next year, promises to use only one cup of water and leaves clothes virtually dry.
Developed at the University of Leeds, the technologyaims save up to 90 per cent of water used by conventional machines, use 30 per cent less energy, and thus can have the environmental impact of taking two million cars off the road.
The washing machine works by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny, reusable nylon polymer beads, which attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions.
Only a small amount of water and detergent is needed to dampen the clothes, loosen stains and create the water vapour that allows the beads to work.
And after the cycle is finished, the beads fall through a mesh in the machine's drum, and can be re-used up to a hundred times.
The company behind the technology, Xeros, is initially aiming at the commercial washing market, including hotels and dry cleaners.
Bill Westwater, Xeros chief executive, said that growing pressure on companies and consumers to cut water usage and carbon emissions might boost demand for the system.
"We've got an eye on the consumer but it will take time and we hope commercial success could act as a springboard to move into the consumer market," Times Online quoted Westwater as saying.
Stephen Burkinshaw from Leeds developed the technology over the past 30 years.