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How Does a Washing Machine Work?

Do you know how your washing machine works? Understanding just a little about how the machine gets your clothes clean can help you get the most out of your appliance. There are four main types of washing machine available in India – you can learn more about these types here – and each works slightly differently to the next, so for best results you need to know how your particular machine functions. This is what makes us matic Moms really at the top of our game!  

Fully Automatic vs. Semi Automatic Washing Machines

Two of the main types of washing machine are the fully automatic and the semi automatic machine. Fully automatic machines are more convenient, but semi automatic machines allow you more control (much like you have with hand washing), and they also tend to be a little more budget-friendly. So how do they work, and what are the differences between the two?  

  • Fully automatic machines change from one cycle to another, taking the clothes right through from start to finish without any additional input from you. The working of the washing machine is quite high tech, and includes a set sequence of washing, rinsing, and spinning (plus a pre-wash if desired). During the wash cycle, the machine releases the detergent and fills the drum with water while moving the clothes around to make sure each item is thoroughly cleaned. This soapy water is then drained, and clean water is added for the rinse cycle, which removes the remaining soap. The water is drained once more and the machine spins quickly which removes around 80 percent of the excess water in the clothing. Each cycle clicks over to the next automatically, making the fully automatic washing machine one of the most advanced washing machines on the market.
  • The working principle of a semi automatic washing machine is quite different. While the cycles are quite similar, the way the machine works contrasts with the workings of the fully automatic machine. These machines work due to manual input – you tell the machine exactly what to do. This does have its advantages, such as allowing you to use only the water you need, and it gives you more control over how your clothes are washed. Once you’ve added your detergent and water, you use the settings to tell the machine to agitate, which acts as the semi automatic washing machine’s version of the wash cycle. Clothes can then be moved to the second tub for the spin cycle. Both cycles use an agitator that has small blades for moving your clothes around in multiple directions. 

Front Loading vs. Top Loading Washing Machines

A washing machine’s working principle will also differ based upon whether a machine is a top loading machine or a front loading machine. While top loading machines are more common throughout India, there are a number of front loading machines available, such as the Bosch Avantixx Frontloader and the Siemens iQ100.  

  • Front loading washing machines work through a constant rotation of the drum during the wash, rinse, and spin cycles. The vigorous spinning of the drum not only tosses clothes around in the soapy water, but also makes sure the water is distributed evenly throughout the load. The machine drains automatically to allow the door to be opened without the risk of flooding, which means the filter needs to be cleaned regularly to ensure these drains do not become blocked with lint.
  • Top Loading washing machines work slightly differently. Clothes are placed around an agitator whose blades move the clothes around in various directions. The agitator works by fitting on top of a rotating base. As the drum itself does not move, top loading machines often have strategically placed water squirters to make sure the water doesn’t simply rest at the bottom of the drum.

There’s no reason to be afraid of your washing machine – they aren’t particularly difficult to figure out. They’re based on motors that turn the drum or rotate the agitator, and it’s simply this movement that’s responsible for washing, rinsing, and spinning.

Believe it or not, washing machines work in ways that aren’t too dissimilar from hand washing – the only difference is that you don’t need to be hovering over a basin for hours on end. Sounds good to us!