how do waterless washing machines work

Here is an overview of how waterless washing machines work:

Key Components

  • Plastic beads/nylon polymers: Instead of water, plastic beads or small nylon polymer pieces are used to clean clothes. The beads rub against clothes to lift dirt and stains256.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Some waterless machines use liquid CO2 that is sprayed onto clothes under pressure to lift dirt and stains1
  • Steam: Dry steam can be used to loosen dirt and sanitize clothes5.
  • Detergent: Only a small amount of detergent is needed compared to regular washers56.

How They Clean Clothes

  • The plastic beads/CO2/steam are pumped into a drum containing the clothes2
  • As the drum rotates, the beads rub against the fabric and lift dirt through mechanical action without needing water26.
  • The CO2 or steam help to loosen and dissolve dirt and stains from clothes1
  • A small amount of detergent boosts cleaning ability56.


  • Uses 80-90% less water compared to regular washers56.
  • Cleans clothes effectively in a short time, like 80 seconds5.
  • Reduces energy consumption6.
  • Eliminates wastewater containing detergent chemicals5.
  • Plastic beads are reusable and recyclable26.
So in summary, waterless washing machines rely on plastic beads, CO2, steam and minimal detergent instead of lots of water to clean clothes efficiently and sustainably. The technology is still emerging but shows promise for significant water savings.
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