Nearly a quarter of the water your household uses goes into your washing machine, and the average family of four will use 12,000 gallons of water a year on laundry. What if there were a way to de-stankify your clothes without draining the ocean?

Now there is, thanks to British company Xeros, which has made what it says is the first true leap forward for washing machines in 60 years. Using only a cup of water — about 90 percent less than normal washers — Xeros’ washing machine tumbles clothes with a million little plastic beads that absorb dirt when humidity is present. The recyclable polymer beads are good for about 500 washes. (After that, please be careful not to dump them in the Great Lakes.)

“If all UK households converted to the technology, it would save around seven million tonnes of water per week,” writes the Daily Mail — approximately 1.8 billion gallons, or almost three Olympic-sized swimming pools. Not only that, but Xeros’ washer uses half the electricity of standard washing machines and much less detergent. Watch:

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Xeros’ washers are commercially available right now and will be available to the public in two or three years. Hmm, two years is only 730 pairs of clean underwear … think you can hold out ’til then?

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