How Washing Machines Work

whirlpool duet washer

Todays Washing Machines Come In Two Main Mechanical Styles, "Top Loading" and "Front Loading" Also Called "Horizontal Access".

The Idea is Similar but Obviously Some Differences Exist. The Following Is an Overview of How Washing Machines Work.
Click Links Within the Page for More Detailed Information, Troubleshooting, and Help!

Design variations of washing machines differ by manufacturer, but the general principles are essentially the same, and can be divided into two halves, the washer's control system and the washer's mechanical system. The washer control system consists of the timer, control boards, load size selector (pressure switch), a water temperature selector, lid switch. The mechanical system includes the motor, transmission, clutch, inner and outer wash tubs, suspension system, agitator, pumps, water valve, and a belt or motor coupling.

Washing machines clean clothing by forcing a water and detergent mixture through fabrics. The action of forcing detergent infused water through your clothing fabric is what enables the detergent to chemically loosen dirt embedded in the cloth and separate it from the fabric. Count your blessings; in the old days, people would beat wet clothes against a rock loosen dirt!

In top loading washing machines the agitator ratchets back and forth dragging clothing down to the bottom of the washer tub. The clothes then move back to the top where the agitator grabs them again. In a front-loading washing machine, the clothes tumble through water in the base of the washer tub over and over again. After the water is pumped out, the inner drum uses centrifugal force to squeeze water from fabrics and clothes by spinning between 500 to 1200 RPM (revolutions per minute.) depending on the washer model.

Search Washer Repair Manuals

Tub

All washers have two tubs. The inner tub contains your clothing and has lots of holes in it allowing water to pass through freely to the outer tub, which actually contains the water. During the spin portion of the cycle the inner tub spins around 500 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) in a top-loading washing machines, while Front-loading and energy saving washers spin much faster at about 1000 RPM. This squeezes the majority of water out of your clothing greatly reducing drying time.  The drain pump then removes dirty wash water from the outer tub. Slightly more efficient and convenient that a wringer!


While this was a big improvement over the washboard it was also considerably more dangerous.
That loose sleeve could cost you an arm.
washer tub and suspension

Suspension System

Modern washing machines use a suspension system of springs, slide plates, and load bearing pads to keep the wash tub in the correct position and control the forces required for spinning and stopping the inner tub, as well as reduce the amount of noise associated with washer mechanics.

Washer Suspension Repair Videos

Back to top

More