How Washing Machines Work

By: Karim Nice
washing machine
Washing machines make everyday life easier. Peter Cade / Getty Images

It has probably washed your clothes hundreds of times, but have you ever wondered what's inside that trusty washing machine?

How does it spin the clothes so fast without leaking water? Why is it so heavy? How does the agitator switch directions? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll venture inside a washing machine to answer all of these questions and more.


We'll start by explaining how the washing machine cleans clothes, then we'll take a look at how ­the machine is put together. We'll look at the plumbing, the drive mechanism and the controls.