A washing machine is a home appliance used to wash clothes. The term is mostly applied to machines that use water as opposed to dry cleaning. Dry cleaning uses alternative cleaning fluids and is performed by specialist businesses or ultrasonic cleaners. The user adds laundry detergent, which is sold in liquid or powder form, to the wash water.
Laundering by hand was very laborious and it involves soaking, beating, scrubbing, and rinsing dirty textiles. The warm soapy water is precious because it would be reused, first to wash the least soiled clothing, then to wash progressively dirtier laundry.
Bendix Home Appliances, a subsidiary of Avco, introduced the first domestic automatic washing machine in 1937, having applied for a patent in the same year. Over time manufacturers of automatic washers have gone to great lengths to reduce cost and make them user friendly with the following features:
• Some other washing machines include water jets that claim to sanitize clothes and help reduce washing times and remove soil from the clothes. Water jets get their water from the bottom of the drum, thus recirculating the water in the washer.
• Others have special drums with holes that will fill with water from the bottom of the tub and redeposit the water on top of the clothes.
• Some include titanium or ceramic heating elements that claim to eliminate calcium build up in the element. They can heat water up to 95 °C.
• Some high end models have lights built into the washer itself to light up the drum,
• Others have soap dispensers where the user just fills a tank with detergent and softener and the washing machine automatically doses the detergent and softener and sometimes picks the most appropriate wash cycle.