How Does a Washing Machine Work?

Kalpana Kumari Oct 6, 2018
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Have you ever thought about, "How does a washing machine work?" Well, we have the answer for you in detail.
A washing machine is a popular electronic appliance, which is found in almost every household. In this fast age, it is highly popular because of its great utilities. It does the laundry quite fast, saving a lot of time and labor. It manages to do so, quite effectively and efficiently, as it follows a set wash process.
It basically works in three cycles. These are washing, rinsing, and spinning. Different mechanical parts work together to carry out each cycle. A brief overview of how a washing machine works with respect to its different parts, is mentioned here.

Basic Structure:

The elementary components of this appliance are agitator, inner and outer wash tub, electric motor, and drain tube. It is also equipped with the valves, switches, and timers. Valves enable the passage of hot and cold water. 
The timer enables timed functioning. A typical washer has switches to adjust and control various functions. The speed of spinning, the special settings for different fabrics, and the passage of hot and cold water are the functions monitored by the switches. Valves, switches, and timers differ from model to model.
These components have to be present in any type of washing machine, be it top-loading or front-loading. Different models of washers differ only in the positioning of these parts. There is a specific function assigned to each part.

Inner Wash Tub

The process of washing starts in the inner wash tub. It involves the adding of water and detergent mixture to the clothes. The detergent contains many enzymes that work on clothes to clean them.
Some such enzymes are protease, lipase, catalase, and amylase. In the inner wash tub, the clothes are tumbled and moved to all sides by the agitator.


Agitator enhances the action of enzymes on clothes. An agitator is a plastic cylinder positioned at the center of the inner tub. Generally, an agitator is finned. Its finned structure aids it in its function. The function of an agitator is to move the clothing up, down, back and forth so that the clothing mixes well with the detergent.
The inner wash tub also moves along with the agitator. This motion is repeated for a determined period of time. The agitator ensures thorough cleaning of the clothing. This cycle is known as the wash cycle. The inner tub has numerous holes.
The centrifugal force pulls out water from the clothes and makes it move through these holes to the outer tub. The water gets drained out through the drain tube.


In the wash cycle, the agitator and the inner tub are moved rhythmically by a powerful electric motor. In fact, it is the motor which accelerates the process of washing. Therefore, it is a very important component of a washer.

Outer Wash Tub

This is stationary. Water gets pumped out from here. After the water has left, the inner tub is again filled with clean water. Agitator again works to tumble the clothing. This is the second cycle and is called the rinse cycle. The aim is to discharge the detergent particles trapped in the washed fabric. After rinsing, the machine again drains out water.

Drain Tube

The purpose of the third cycle, which is called the spin cycle, is to remove out as much water as possible from the wet clothes. In all the steps, draining is carried out by the drain tubes. Once the water has been drained out, another electric motor comes to play. It agitates the inner tub at an extremely high speed.
The centripetal force spins out remaining water from the fabric and expels it through the drain tube. This is a timed process. The clothing get reduced from saturated to merely wet. The cleaning of the fabric is done and it is ready to dry.

Power Parts

Electric motors can reach high speeds quickly. In order to smoothen the start-up effects, washers are provided with a clutch. This clutch is similar to car clutches, as it has the same standard drum-and-pad construction and functioning. Some units use a simpler method. They make use of drive belts. The drive belts slip on a pulley and fix gradually.
The given information briefly describes how a washing machine works. This information must have enabled you to understand your appliance and taking proper care of it.