Dry cleaning

18.07.05: AFTER THE bagless vacuum cleaner, the waterless washing machine. And not before time for millions of water-rationed households in southeast England, now in its fifth year of drought.

Hugh Robinson, an environmental engineer, has launched a "water-neutral" washing machine, the WN01.

Robinson adapted the technology developed in the 1990s by the designer James Dyson in his cyclotronic vacuum cleaner.

The WN01 allows dirt and detergent to be separated from water and collected in a transparent detachable bin as dry dust. A built-in condenser then recycles the moisture from damp, clean washing.

The WN01 is "primed" with two litres of water, which is then cleaned and recirculated.

Robinson started research into water recycling to reduce the rates bill of his factory in drought-hit Kent.

Increasing demand is being put on water resources due to expanding rural populations, and southern England now has stringent restrictions on consumption.

Environmental groups are pressing for laws to make all rural settlements "water-neutral". HP