How Washers Work

Knowing how washers work is very important specially if you are going to attempt to work on your washer, it is best if you understand how washers work. On this page, I will describe how both front loading washers work and how top loading washers work.



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Top Loaders



Fill Cycle

First, the washer will enter into a fill cycle. This is when the water will come in. The water valve will energize allowing cold and hot water into the washer depending on the water temperature you selected. The water will continue to run until the level inside has reached the point that the water level control is satisfied. Water valves and water level controls can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Wash Cycle

Once the water reaches the desired level, the washer will enter the wash cycle. This is when the washer agitates the clothes in soapy water by rotating the agitator back-and-forth continuously. In order for agitation to take place, the tub needs to be held in place by not releasing the brakes. The motor turns the transmission pulley and gears inside the transmission rotate the transmission shaft back-and-forth and the transmission shaft rotates the agitator back-and-forth. The washer cycle will last anywhere from six to twenty minutes. These parts can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Pump Out Cycle

Once the wash cycle is over, the washer will enter the pump out cycle. During the pump out cycle, the water pump will pump all the water out of the tub. Water pumps can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Spin Cycle

Once the water is pumped out, the washer will enter the first spin cycle. During the spin cycle, the tub rotates at speeds anywhere from 800 rpms to 1200 rpms. This will ring all the water out the clothes. In order for spin to take place, the brakes must be released, which will allow the motor to rotate the whole transmission (rather than just the gears) and the tub.

Rinse Cycle

During the rinse cycle the tub will fill (normally with cold water) then agitate again. The rinse cycle is mainly to get all of the soap out of the clothes.

Final Spin

After the rinse cycle the washer will enter the final spin. The final spin will remove all of the water from the clothes. After the final spin the clothes will be damp (not dripping wet) and ready to enter the dryer.

Front Loaders


In this section of my how washers work guide I will explain how front load washers work.

Fill Cycle

First, the washer will enter into a fill cycle, which is when the water will come in. The water valve will energize allowing cold and hot water into the washer depending on the water temperature you selected. The water will continue to run until the level inside has reached the point that the water level control is satisfied. Water valves and water level controls can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Wash Cycle

On a front-loading washer, the tub will rotate so slow that the clothes will fall down halfway through a rotation. Unlike top-loading washers, front loaders don't have a transmission and most of them don't have brakes. The motor connects directly to the tub. The door will stay locked throughout the entire wash cycle for safety. The clothes must strike the bottom of the tub when they fall in order to clean them efficiently. Soapsuds will prevent this from happening. This is why you must use high efficient detergent because it doesn't create soapsuds.

Pump Out Cycle



Once the wash cycle is over, the washer will enter the pump out cycle. During the pump out cycle, the water pump will pump all the water out of the tub. Water pumps can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Spin Cycle

Once the water is pumped out, the washer will enter the first spin cycle. During the spin cycle, the tub rotates at speeds anywhere from 800 rpms to 1200 rpms. This will ring all the water out the clothes. Because there are no brakes, the door will stay locked throughout the entire spin cycle and the tub has come to a complete stop.

Rinse Cycle

During the rinse cycle, the tub will fill (normally with cold water) then wash again. The rinse cycle is mainly to get all of the soap out of the clothes.

Final Spin

After the rinse cycle, the washer will enter the final spin. The final spin will remove all of the water from the clothes. After the final spin the clothes will be damp (not dripping wet) and ready to enter the dryer.

I hope that this page helped you better understand how washers work and you can use this page along with my washer repair guide to repair your washer. If this page didn’t help you visit my

frequently asked washer questions page. Or return to my washer repair guide for more repair pages.

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  • Appliance repair since 1996
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