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Sanyo cleaning up the laundry market

Sanyo 's new Japanese washing machine saves water by recycling and saves money by using air washing on delicate items.

It may surprise many readers, but washing machines in Japan are generally pretty primitive top-loaders that use cold water and leave clothes much as they were before the wash cycle, only wetter. That's all begun to change recently, as exemplified by Sanyo's new Aqua AWD-AQ1 model, which is both green and efficient.

The JPY145,000 (£612) Aqua washing machine offers far more than its predecessors, for - in addition to recycling water for multiple washes - it can also take dry-clean-only items in its stride.

A feature Sanyo calls Aqualoop stores water used in the wash cycle for second and third washes. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to do so, totally clean water is really needed only in the rinse cycle. Besides, it can be turned off if desired.

As for cutting the dry-cleaner's shop out of the loop, a function called Air Wash uses blasts of ozone and anti-bacterials to clean up those precious delicates. If it all sounds a bit mysterious, then feel free to check put the video of a Japanese TV commercial for the Aqua yourself. J. Mark Lytle