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Working Principle Of Washing Machine – How Does It Work?

Physics is a branch of science that many people used to hate in their high schools, but unfortunately, it’s such a scope present everywhere in our surroundings. The universe obeys physics laws, and many of the daily appliances we use are purely based on different physics mechanisms.

One such device is the washing machine. The washing machine was invented by Jacob Christian Schaffer in 1767 and came as a savior for women who had to work vigorously to wash all the clothes of their family using their hands.

Since its invention, the washing machine has developed a lot, and the recently made automatic ones have taken the manual effort required to almost zero.

Like any other electrical appliance, the washing machine operates on some principles governed by physics laws.

What Is The Working Principle Of Washing Machine?

centrifugal and centripetal force in washing machine working principle

The main principles behind the working of a washing machine are the centrifugal and centripetal forces, Where centrifugation helps quicken the process of sedimentation of different density particles to clean the laundry in the washing machine.

The washing machine operates in two primary cycles. These are the wash cycle and the rinse cycle.

The wash cycle involves the principle of centrifugal force. This force’s direction is from inside to outside, which makes sure that every part of the cloth is rinsed adequately in the soap water mixed in the machine.

The rinse cycle involves the principle of centripetal force. This force acts from outside to inside and creates a vacuum-like space in the middle of the washing machine.

These two cycles work one after another several time, and as a result, the entire cleaning process occurs.

Step by step mechanism of the working of washing machine

Firstly before the washing machine starts to operate, you need to get it ready for the washing. Getting the machine ready includes filling the washing machine with water held in the outer drum and stopping the water from leaking while operating. Then you put the clothes inside the inner drum.


The inner drum is the drum on which the different forces will give you a cleaner version of your clothes. Then you put the detergent into the machine, and after plugging in the device, we are ready to go.

There is a thermostat present inside the washing machine. After you turn on the device, the thermostat measures the temperature and increases the heat according to its need. When the water is hot enough for operation, the inner drum rotates back and forth on time, mixing the cloth properly with the soap water.

Now the work of the detergent begins. We have all studied how soaps and detergents work, and due to the motion of the particles, detergents can do their job correctly and scrub off all the dirt molecules from the clothes.

In the next step, if one is using a fully automatic washing machine, then the machine itself opens the valves and lets the dirty water flow away. Then, the programmer opens the valves again to allow clean water to come into the drum.

Washing machine parts and it's working mechanism

After the clean water comes in, the inner drum again starts to rotate to rinse the clothes properly. This rinsing process, removing the dirty water, taking new water, and rinsing again is repeated several times to improve efficiency.

After the clothes’ proper rinsing, the machine starts to rotate the inner drum vigorously at a high speed of around 130 km/h. these force is from the inside to outside and flung apart the clothes from the inner edge to the drum’s outer edge.

This final churning allows the proper cleaning of clothes, and after this step, the remaining water is let out from the valve, and you get your set of clean clothes.

Well, this process seems so easy when you read it in a few lines, but actually, various parts work together to make it happen and require proper programming. A washing machine is a complex device and is heavily dependent on each of its parts. Some of the main elements of a washing machine are:

Washing Machine Components And Functions

An Inner Drum

This is the chamber in which the dirty clothes are put. On noticing properly, one may see many holes in this, and these holes are made so that the water can enter the drum and the cleaning process also takes place here.


paddles are the ridges present on the drum’s edges and help move the clothes while it is present inside the drum.

Washing Machine Drum working principle

The Outer Drum

This is the drum inside which the inner drum is present. This is the water-tight area of the machine that prevents the leakage of water from the machine.


This is not a default part of the washing machine. Agitators are present only in the premium models and help turn around the machine’s clothes and make cleaning more effective.

Thermostat And Heating Element

This part of the machine checks the water temperature and heats it according to the need.


It helps remove the water from the drum after the cleaning process is over.

Pipes And Valves

These elements are often overlooked but are the machine’s most fundamental elements. These pipes and valves help maintain the to and fro movement of the water from the drum, allowing the washing to occur.

specifications and features of lg front load washing machine 8kg in india


This element can also be termed as the CPU of the washing machine. It controls all the aspects of the entire process, right from starting up to drying.

When the washing machine was first invented, it was thought of as a luxury, but nowadays, it is an essential part of a household. The development of washing machines has been enormous and more and more advanced features are coming this day, thanks to the rapidly advancing technology.

Fully automatic washing machines are the latest variants to come, making washing an effortless and less tiresome task. However modern the appliances become, their principle of working remains the same. These principles based on physics laws are the backbone of all the machines involving the washing machine.

Hope you learned about how a washing machine works and principle behind its working mechanism.

Chetan Rana

Chetan is an engineer with a specialization in electronics and communications. During his spare time, he cooks, writes blogs on the latest home appliances, electronics.

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