The Science behind Washing Machines

Aliza Elly

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The number of times you have washed your clothes in your washing machine can definitely not be counted, that is how dependable you are on it. But, have you ever wondered about the science behind those wonderfully best washing machines in your homes. Did you ever wait for a second and think, what exactly goes through behind those drum walls that you see your clothes spinning in? How does the water not leak, how does the agitator switch directions. Well, to awaken the curious little kid in you, we take you back to science class. Raise your hand if you have a doubt, your questions will be answered one by one.

You sure are not going to read about any if this in any of the washing machine reviews in India, so gear up, because you are about to have an edge over other buyers with the insight provided in this article.

Operating a Washing Machine

- Decide the temperature of water and rinse cycles. Select the rinse cycles and the agitation level and for how long.
- After filling the tub, the machine fills the tub with water and stirs the clothes.
- The water drains after some time, spins the clothes to remove the remaining water. Refills to agitate and rinse out the soap, then drains and spins again.

Inside a Washing Machine

A heavy block of concrete is placed to counter balance the weight of a heavy motor which makes even the best washing machine in India heavy. Yes, you read it right; there is a block of concrete in all of them.

There are two steel tubs. The inner tub with the agitator and holes on the sides so that the water can leave when it rotates holds the clothes. It is attached to a gearbox. The outer tub which seals all the water is bolted to the outer body of the machine.

Plumbing on the Washing Machine

Plumbing is an essential part and serves the following purposes:
- Filling the washing machine with correct water temperature
- Recirculating the water back to top during the wash cycle
- Pumping water out of the drain


There are actually two pumps attached and fitted as one. The bottom half of the pump is hooked up to the drain lines while the upper half is responsible for recirculating the water.

Drive Mechanism

This mechanism has two jobs:
- agitating the moving clothes
- spinning the entire wash tub

The motor’s spinning direction decides what function it will perform. If the motor is spinning say in clockwise direction, the gearbox agitates and if in the anti-clockwise direction, the gearbox goes to spin cycle.

There is much more science than written here and it is all very interesting. But, learning is a slow process, so that will be it for now until the next class. Till then, check out some cool washing machines online and explore the amazing world of science.


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