How Does Your Washing Machine Really Work?

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Over the years, you’ve probably washed your clothes hundreds of times, but have you ever wondered what’s inside your washing machine that makes it do its magic? For example, how does it spin the clothes so fast without leaking water? Why does the agitator switch directions? And, why are there multiple cycles? Our experts venture inside a washing machine to answer all of these questions and more.

How Does Your Washing Machine Really Work?

Over the years, you’ve probably washed your clothes hundreds of times, but have you ever wondered what’s inside your washing machine that makes it do its magic? For example, how does it spin the clothes so fast without leaking water? Why does the agitator switch directions? And, why are there multiple cycles? Our experts venture inside a washing machine to answer all of these questions and more.

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Types of Washing Machines

Top Loading Washing Machines

Top loading machines use two vertical drums with a post down the center that has a special design to pull the clothes down in the center as it moves back and forth. The center then pushes them back up on the outside of the basket. This motion is repeated for a determined amount of time. The inside drum is able to move and is perforated so water can escape. The outer drum actually holds the water. In modern washing machines, there are computer chips that tell the washing machine when to do what. Top loaders normally use more than one rinse cycle to make sure all the soap is removed. They are also known to be harder on clothing and fabric because of their motion. Typically, bigger objects do not clean as well because they cannot be pulled down by the agitator. Top loaders also use much more water than the front loaders do. However, they are much faster than the front loaders and have fewer maintenance and mechanical problems.

Front Loading Washing Machines

Front loading washing machines have horizontally mounted drums and the door is on the front. Sometimes the door has a window to see inside the washer. There are paddles inside the drum, which lifts the clothes and then drops them. Between this motion and the rotation of the drum the clothes are agitated. Less water is needed because the clothes do not need to be suspended in water; they just need enough water to get them wet. There are even front loading machines now that use only a cup of water or just steam. By using less water, they require less detergent, reducing your laundry costs. However, they take longer to do a load of laundry and require more maintenance and repairs than the top loading machines.

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