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Washing Machine: How Does It Work?

Last Updated: 01 July 2020

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Parts of a Washing Machine

There are different types of washing machines, but you should know that certain main parts are common to all of them.

  • Water Pump
    The water pump distributes water within the washing machine. It circulates the water in two directions, redistributing the water when the machine is in the wash cycle and draining the water from the machine during the spin cycle
  • Parts of a Washing Machine
  • Water Inlet Control Valve
    It is located near the water inlet point of the machine. The valve opens when clothe are loaded into the machine and closes automatically depending on the amount of water needed for the washing process
  • Tub
    Two different types of tubs are found within the washer; the outer tub and inner tub. The inner tub is where the clothes are placed to be washed, it also has holes to allow water out. The outer tub envelopes and supports the inner one
  • Drain Pipe
    The drain pipe helps to empty contaminated water from the washing machine
  • Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
    The printed circuit board is made up of different electronic parts and circuits, which are designed to work distinctly depending on the condition and the number of clothes placed in the washing machine. They calculate and choose the time required for washing or rinsing
  • Agitator
    It’s found within the tub of the washing machine. It performs the cleaning action by producing a strong rotating current within the water causing the cloth to rub against others to remove dirt. In some washing machines, a rotating disc is found instead of a long agitator.
  • Washing Machine Motor
    It’s fixed to the agitator. It generates a rotatory motion whose speed changes due to some conditions
  • Timer
    The timer sets the time need for washing manually or automatically
  • Heating Element
    They’re water heaters within the washing machine that heats the water to the chosen temperature. Always buy washers with the best water heater to make washing more effective.

How do Washers Work?

Have you ever asked ‘how does a washing machine work’? We’re sure you have wondered a few times how a washer works. It’s not that complicated. We’ll tell you how it works.

There are a few things to be done before you start the machine; you need to calculate the cloth required for washing, set the temperature, mode of agitation and time to cycle to last. Then you load the clothes in the machine and pour the detergent in the detergent tray needed for the washing

During the wash cycle, the tube fills the machine with water and stirs the cloth with an agitator or a rotating disc causing the cloth to rub against each other. After the wash cycle is completed it starts the spin cycle which spins the clothes to remove water from the clothes and then stirs the sloshes again to remove the soap.

How Does a Portable Washer Work?

How Does a Portable Washer Work

A porter washing machine is small yet capable of washing your dirty clothes. Because of this we often ponder ‘how does a portable washing machine work?’ The portable washer also called a portable mini washer machine is used If you can’t afford a traditional high-efficiency washer and you wish to avoid laundry room drama. They’re usually powered by electricity like a conventional washer. A portable manual washing machine is also used. This does not require electricity which is used in areas of poor power supply

Unlike traditional washers that are connected to the house plumbing system, the portable washer had a rubber inlet hose which attaches to a standard utility faucet usually found in the kitchen. They also have an outlet hose which allows dirty water out, the hose is placed in the sink

You should make sure to buy the best portable washing machine as well as the best water heater out there that fits your budget; not just any cheap one you find because they’re more durable and last longer

How Does a Front Load Washer Work?

How Does a Front Load Washer Work

Now that you know how a washer works, it’s time to know how a front loader works. It has a movable inner drum that moves in a rotatory motion and a fixed outer tub which are both mounted in a horizontal axis.

The outer tube is held to the frame of the washing machine by a tough spring which absorbs vibrations when the drum shakes strongly Hot and cold-water flows into the machine through the detergent tray located on top of the machine. The drum inside the machine then begins to move back and forth. The plastic paddles on the inside which are connected to the outer tub aids in sloshing the clothes through the detergent and water. At this stage, the electric motor moves the inner drum using a rubber belt. Then, the heating element heats the water as required. After the wash cycle is completed the pump removes the water down a tube into the drain.

How Does a Top Load Washer Work?

How Does a Top Load Washer Work

It has a lid at the top which is lifted to load the washing machine from above. It has an outer and inner tub which is a fixed vertical axis. Cold and hot water enters the washer through the detergent tray just like the front load washer

In the wash cycle, an agitator moves in a circular/rotatory motion causing the clothing to move through the water. Both tubs do not move in the wash cycle unlike in a front load washer. The agitator is driven by an electric motor using a rubber belt.

In the spin cycle, the inner tube is rotated at a high speed by the same electric motor causing water to be thrown through the holes into the outer tub.

How Do High-efficiency Washers Work?

You need to know that washers do not have a “high efficiency” attached to their name for nothing. High-efficiency washers help to decrease the quantity of energy and water needed for washing. They’re also 40% larger than traditional washers making them allow more clothes to be loaded.

During the wash cycle, the front-loading HE washer continuously spins the clothes using a rotating tub through the water and detergent (which must be HE compatible) using about half of the water that traditional washers use. The top-loading, HE washer spun the clothes by using a wheel or plates. They don’t have an agitator

During the spin cycle, the HE washers spin twice as fast as traditional washers to drain water out of the bottom.


You now know about the different parts of a washer, working principle of washing machine and the uniqueness of each type, making you knowledgeable in buying the washer that suits your needs. It’s also important to note that both old and new washers operate on the same core principles. So for those wondering how do new washing machines work? Just like a regular washing machine! If you’re in doubt on how to use your washer, always remember to make use of HandyHomeMaster articles.

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