Here’s how a washing machine works with a cutaway illustrations of a washing machine parts

There are a few variations in clothes washers—some load from the top and others load from the front—but all washing machines are basically big tubs that fill up with water, agitate to scrub clothes, and spin to wring out the water.

Of course, in addition to these basic functions, they may have any number of sophisticated settings including water temperature controls, steam options, and electronic timers.

Internal and external parts of a front-loading washing machine
Internal and external parts of a front-loading washing machine.

When buying a new washing machine, pay close attention to the warranty. Be clear about both the term and the extent of the coverage. You’ll have to read some fine print, but it will be well worth it if anything goes wrong.

Also be aware that some washing machines are simply easier to work on than others. For servicing, some new types have a cabinet that is easy to detach and lift off for easy access to the parts.

washer diagram
Clothes Washing Machine Diagram

There are a number of problems you can fix quite simply, but washers have a variety of devices that, when they go wrong, are best left in the hands of a qualified repair person.

How a Washing Machine Works FAQs

  • What are the basic functions of all washing machines?

All washing machines are essentially large tubs that fill up with water, agitate to scrub clothes, and spin to wring out the water.

  • What are some advanced features that washing machines may have?

In addition to the basic functions, washing machines may have sophisticated settings such as water temperature controls, steam options, and electronic timers.

  • What are the two main types of washing machines based on how they are loaded?

There are two main variations in clothes washers: top loaders that load from the top and front loaders that load from the front.

  • What should you pay close attention to when buying a new washing machine?

When purchasing a new washing machine, carefully review the warranty. Be clear about both the term and the extent of the coverage by reading the fine print—the details matter if something goes wrong.

  • Are some washing machines easier to repair than others?

Yes, some washing machines are designed to be more easily serviced than others. For example, some newer models have a cabinet that can be easily detached and lifted off, providing convenient access to the parts for servicing.

  • Can you fix all washing machine problems by yourself?

While there are several problems you can fix quite simply, washing machines have a variety of devices like electronic circuit boards and components that, when they malfunction, are best left in the hands of a qualified repair person.

RELATED POSTS:
Author Image
About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort