A company Xeros have developed a system to wash laundary using less than 10% of the amount of water as compared to currently available methods. This is done by the use of small polymer beads. These beads pull off stains from clothes and lock them into its molecular structure. Moreover, these beads can be used again and again … upto hundreds of washes. This process was invented by University of Leeds scientist Stephen Burkinshaw. The technology on which the process is based is explained in this published patent application.
Not only clothes, there are now products in market which allow “waterless shampooing of hair”. Details can be found here.