Washing machines use wash action, water and detergent to effectively clean fabrics. Together, they help break down soils in clothes and rinse them away. Discover how a washer works by understanding how wash action differs in impeller and agitator models, as well as top-load and front-load washers. Also learn about the impact that water temperature has on different types of stains and how detergent, including HE, can help get clothes clean.
3 ELEMENTS DRIVE HOW A WASHER WORKS
1. WASH ACTION
Washing machines use a combination of water, detergent and wash action to deliver cleaning performance. Wash action is the movement of clothes provided by the washer during a cycle, and this can be different in front load vs. top load machines, as well as top load agitator vs. impeller models.
- Most front load washers are considered high-efficiency because they use lifters to tumble clothes through lower water levels.
- Top load agitator washers use a central post that twists, rubbing against clothes. Impeller washers use a low-profile cone or disc that spins, rubbing clothes against each other.
- Most top load washers let you choose your water level or can do it for you with automatic, load-sensing technology.
2. WATER TEMPERATURE
- Cold water is best for stains like blood and toothpaste. Exposing cold water stains to heat will essentially “cook” them into your clothes.
- Stains like grass require warmer water temperatures to give detergent a boost.
- Loads that contain multiple stain types or stains like red wine, mud and chocolate should be pretreated in cold water and washed in hot.
- Cold water is also best for dark colors or any fabric prone to shrinkage. Warmer water is ideal for light colors and hotter for whites.
Learn more about choosing hot or cold water for stains with this guide. Or get the best of both with the Extra Power button by Maytag that boosts stain fighting on any wash cycle with a dual-temperature wash.
3. THE RIGHT DETERGENT
Laundry detergent creates suds to break apart stains, release soils and freshen clothes.
- Concentrated, HE detergent should be used in high efficiency washers to provide a powerful clean with lower water levels.
- Bleach can be used for loads with tough stains. Check the owner's manual for info on how your washer works with bleach.
- Bulk detergent dispensers can handle some of the manual labor for you. The Optimal Dose Dispenser from Maytag adds the right amount when it's needed, holding enough for up to 8 loads of laundry.1
Oxygen bleach vs. chlorine bleach
Oxygen bleach is an alternative to traditional chlorine bleach that is generally safe on colors. It's colorless, fragrance-free and comes in either a liquid or powder form. Products often begin with “Oxy” and don’t call themselves “bleach” but “stain remover” instead.
WASHER UPGRADES FOR NEXT-LEVEL CLEANING
- Steam cycles on select front and top load washers permeate deep into fibers for potent cleaning action.
- Some washers include a built-in water faucet to wash away loose soils as clothes go in or fill the tub for a soak before the cycle begins.
- Select Maytag® front load washers include the Fresh Hold® option that keeps clean clothes smelling fresh for up to 24 hours.
GET MORE WASHER GUIDES
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Dive into this guide on laundry cycles — discover how they work and when to use them.
TIPS ON USING YOUR TOP LOAD WASHER
Get to know your top load washer with these quick tips.
Find the Best Maytag® Washing Machine for You
See what Maytag has to offer and zero in on the right washer for you.
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1. Based on an 8-lb load.