Working Principle Of Washing Machines

In today’s work, one of the most essential household appliances is a washing machine. It’s become a critical part of our day-to-day life. If you’ve ever lived somewhere without a washing machine, even for a few days, you can understand just how hard it is to wash clothes by hand. Even though washing machines look like a basic appliance overall, they work on a more complicated mechanism. They use detergent to separate the dirt and dust from clothes, and then they rinse it away. The question, however, is how exactly does this happen? How do washing machines precisely work?

What Is The Working Principle Of Washing Machines

Since washing machines come in various designs, shapes, and sizes, some features may differ from machine to machine; however, almost all washing machines more or less have similar basic parts. They include a watertight container called the tub, with a drum fitted inside it to hold the washing. It is usually electrically operated using an electric motor to turn it around. There is also a heating mechanism to raise the temperature- usually, electrically operated valves are present to fulfill this function. A programmer is present to switch the various components on and off. This article explains step by step what function each of the parts within the washing machine performs. However, let’s first observe the working principle of washing machines. 

You begin by loading your machine, filling the compartment with the detergent, and selecting the program you wish to utilise. 

The programmer in your machine opens the valves to let the hot and cold water into the machine, filling both drums up. The water will then slowly enter the detergent tray if your washing machine model consists of one. It’ll wash any detergent present there into the main part of the machine. Once the water enters the machine, the valves are turned off. There is a thermostat present in every machine to check the temperature of the water entering the washing machine. In case the water is cold, the thermostat will heat the water using the heating element. Once the water has reached an adequate temperature, the inner drum begins to rotate- gradually picking up speed. It mixes the soap and water. The rotating motion rubs the clothes against each other and creates a tension that helps release any stains or soiling. The chemicals present in the detergent react with the clothes’ fabric and pull dirt and dust from the clothes and mix them into the water. Once the clothes have been sufficiently mixed around, the valves reopen and drain out the dirty soap water from the drums. The pump helps drain out the dirty water, following which clean water renters the drums through the valves. The inner drum begins rotating again and rinses any remaining residue, including any dirty water or detergent partials. Once rinsed, the inner drum starts spinning rapidly to extract the water. The water exits through the small holes in the inner drum and enters the outer form. From there, the pump removes all the remaining water. Though this process may seem very basic when seen from the outside, however, there are many complex mechanisms at work within the washing machine that ensure that your clothes are clean and hygienic!

Also Read: Best Washing Machines Under 20000

Washing Machine Parts And Functions

Washing Machine Parts And Functions

1. Inner Drum

The inner drum is the part of the washing machine where the clothes are loaded. It moves the clothes around in the washing machine. It has small holes or perforations to allow the water to enter and exit. 

2. Outer Drum 

The outer drum is the bigger drum that contains the inner drum and the water. It prevents the water from leaking into the other parts of the machine and supports the inner drum during various stages of the wash cycle.

3. Water Inlet Control Valve

The water inlet control valve is present near the water inlet point, which locks and unlocks automatically when clothes are loaded. It gets activated and opens and closes, depending on the amount of water required during the wash.

4. Water Pump 

The water pump powers the water through the machine and circulates it in two directions. It rotates the water within the washing machine. It circulates the water during the wash cycle and then drains it during the spin cycle.

5. Paddles

Paddles are located within the washing machine tub in fully automatic washing machines. The paddle is situated near the rotating inner drum and is controlled by a rotating disk. It moves the water in a circular motion creating strong currents and rubbing clothes against the water.

6. Agitator 

The agitator is also located inside the washing machine tub. Just like a fully automatic machine has paddles, a semi-automatic washing machine uses an agitator that rotates and creates a current within the machine. Both these mechanisms aim to move the clothes around to allow the detergent to remove dust particles, dirt, and soil from within the fabric. 

7. Motor

A motor is used alongside the agitator or disc to turn the drum by producing a circular rotating motion. This mechanism is essential to wash clothes, as it rotates the clothes within the machine.

8. Timer

Washing machines have an inbuilt timer that has a manual as well as automatic mode. It sets the wash time for your clothes. In the automatic mode, the wash time is set automatically depending on the number of clothes, whereas you can set the desired wash time in the manual mode.

7. PCB 

PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board, where you will find the electronic components that operate the washing machine. These are programmed to operate the machine. They are somewhat like the artificial intelligence mechanism of a washing machine and play an essential role in its working. 

8. Drain Pipe

All the dirty water from the wash exits from the washing machine through the drain pipe.

9. Programmer

The programmer is present outside the machine and has features to help you set the temperature, water level, time limit, water valve type, cleaning cycle, and other settings that you want to use.

Also Read: Semi-Automatic vs Fully Automatic Washing Machine

Washing Machine Programs 

Washing Machine Programs

1. Cotton and synthetics – The most basic fabrics used daily are cotton and synthetics. Cotton programs usually wash clothes at a warmer temperature and synthetics at a lower temperature and a more gentle spin speed. Since these fabrics have individual requirements, this setting is designed to wash clothes depending on the material itself.

2. Wool, delicates, and hand wash – Some clothes demand low temperatures and minimal agitation because they can get easily damaged or disfigured. This machine set ensures gentle care for such items.

3. Sports – Smell and stains from sweat can be difficult to get rid of. Whether you want to remove these or just washcloths made of microfibres, the sports setting is specially designed to wash athletic wear, sports clothing, and dry fit! It washes clothes at a low temperature for a longer duration to ensure odor and dirt are removed without damaging the fabric. The sports mode is not very common and is one of the surprising thing a washing machine can wash. Like sporting goods, there are other items that you would be surprised to know your washing machine can wash. Have a look at our article “10 Surprising Things You Can Clean Using Washing Machine” to know more.

4. Quick wash – Need an item urgently, or a fabric is just lightly soiled, and you don’t want to put it through a sixty-minute wash cycle? The quick wash mode is enabled to wash the clothes quickly and efficiently in less than thirty minutes.

5. Half load – Sometimes, there aren’t enough soiled clothes to fill the machine up. Instead of waiting for more laundry to pile up, you can use the half-load setting and optimize water and energy while washing your clothes.

6. Easy iron and anti-crease – If your clothes are made of fabrics that crease easily, you can use this setting to wash clothes at a lower spin speed or shorten the spin cycle.

7. Anti-allergy – This setting ensures that the clothes are washed at a very high temperature or steam to ensure that all allergens, including dust, bacteria, and dirt, are removed from the fabric.

8. Extra rinse – This is an additional setting that you can use to rinse clothes to remove any residual detergent that might have lingered behind. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to any chemicals, it’s a good idea to put your clothes through another wash using this setting.

9. Economy mode – This program helps you reduce energy consumption by washing clothes at a lower temperature. Not only is this beneficial to the environment but also great for you financially.

10. Rinse hold facility – This program is available in some washing machines, and it holds the washed clothes in clean water before starting the spin cycle. So if you’re dealing with fabrics that crease, you can empty the machine before the clothes are spin-dried and allow them to air dry instead.

Many machines come with additional programs like baby care and silent wash!

Also Read: Haier Washing Machine Reviews

Why Does A Washing Machine Need So Many Programs? 

Ranging from anti-allergy to economy mode, a washing machine has a wide variety of programs to ensure that all your laundry needs are met. Delicate clothes may require a gentler wash when compared to sportswear that may need rigorous washing to clean. This is why a washing machine comes equipped with loads of options because there is no one setting that meets all in the case of cleaning clothes.

Often clothes come with their own set of garment care instructions and labels. Different fabrics require different types of care, so washing machines come equipped with various settings to match these requirements. 

Conclusion 

Every household has different laundry requirements, and so before buying a washing machine, there are many factors to consider. With so many different varieties and brands, choosing the right one can be daunting. However, with a little bit of research and analysis, you can figure out the essential requirements your ideal washing machine should have! 

Once you buy a washing machine, not only will you be saving money and water but also your precious energy and time that you would otherwise have to delegate to hand washing your clothes. A washing machine is no longer a luxury but instead is a necessary household appliance that will make the laundry process easy and convenient.

Samarth is a Mechanical engineer from IIT Bombay with deep understanding of machines and the overall market. Samarth has been building machine from over 8 years so all his reviews on November Culture are first hand expert review. He co founded November Culture along with few other industry experts to provide reviews of daily products.