The Ultimate How Washing Machines Get Clothes Clean Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate How Washing Machines Get Clothes Clean Quiz
Image: Hemera/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

A washing machine is a household appliance we take for granted as long as it works. If you have ever wondered just how it works its magic with your clothes, take this quiz and find out.
In terms of home appliances, what is the difference between washing clothes and having them dry cleaned?
A washing machine uses water and detergent, a dry cleaner uses chemicals or ultrasonic devices not available for home use.
Washing clothes can be done at home using a washing machine or at a laundromat, whereas dry cleaning is usually done at a dry cleaners.
Home dry cleaners are not energy-efficient.
You wash at home or at a laundromat.

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When was the first washing machine patented?
1920
1900
1860
The Union Washing Machine, a manual mechanical device, was patented in 1860.

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How did it work?
A spindle moved clothes up and down on a washboard
A hand-cranked machine rubbed clothes between two washboards in soapy water.
Clothes were rubbed between two washboards by a hand-crank in a tub of boiling soapy water.
A propeller-like device spun clothes in soap water.

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And what was the first dryer?
Union Wringer
Universal Dryer
clothes line
The Union Wringer was invented two years after the washer and was attached to it to wring out clothes, but the clothes line was the first dryer.

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Is there any difference in principle between the cleaning action of the first washing machine and that of today?
First machine used a rubbing motion to clean.
Exactly the same principle - clean with soap water, rinse, remove water.
It's the same principle: loosen dirt with water and soap, rinse, remove excess water and move on to the drying process.
Modern machines use a rotary action to clean.

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What is the first thing you see when you open the door to a washing machine?
the tub that contains the water
the motor
a perforated drum
You'll see a perforated drum that can rotate.

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How do you install a washing machine?
Only a qualified technician can install a washing machine.
Hook the hoses to the spigots wastewater hose to the sewer drain pipe and plug it into the electricity.
You hook up one or two (if you are using both hot and cold incoming water) hoses from the appropriate spigots and another hose to a sewer drainpipe for the wastewater. You then connect the machine to the electric outlet.
Just hook up the water hoses to the spigots and you're ready to go.

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Do modern washing machines need regular maintenance?
Check belts, hoses and filters annually.
Like any appliance, you should check those items you can readily access, such as belts, hoses, filters every year or so. You could pay a qualified technician to check for you.
No maintenance is necessary unless something breaks.
Check the machine occasionally only if you use it more than three times a week.

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How do you prevent hoses from freezing if your washer is in an unheated area?
by running hot water through the hoses
by moving the washer temporarily to a warmer place
by draining the water from the hoses
Drain the water from the hoses when the temperature drops below freezing.

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Is there any similarity between a washer and a car?
Certain parts are similar.
There are similar parts - motor, belts, hoses, transmission, clutch and brakes.
If a washer had wheels it would probably travel.
The washer washes the clothing in it, but a car keeps you from being washed by the rain.

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What is the reason for automatic detergent, bleach and softener dispensers, rather than adding these things at the beginning of the wash?
Save you the hassle of remembering to add those things.
They add the right amounts at the right times.
The automatic dispensers add the right amounts at the right times and ensure that they mix thoroughly with the water.
Save energy by adding the items needed without stopping the washing cycle.

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How does the motor know how much and in what direction to spin?
belts and pulleys
special sensor in the drum
mechanical and digital control mechanisms
A combination of mechanical and digital parts control the working of the motor according to the program selected.

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Except for the position of the lid or door, what is the main difference between top and front loaders?
Top loaders have an agitator, front loaders don't.
Basically, top loaders usually have an agitator to move the clothes, whereas front loaders have a rotating drum.
The top loaders' drums spin on a vertical axis, but front loaders spin horizontally.
Top loaders have lids, front loaders have doors.

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What is one environmental advantage of the front loading washer?
clothes come out dryer
uses less water and detergent
They use less water and detergent than the top loaders.
water drains faster

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What is an advantage of a top loader?
You can open the lid during the wash cycle.
Unlike a front loader whose door is locked during the entire wash cycle, the lid of a top loader can be opened to check the wash or add something.
Less water is used.
Uses less energy to spin the agitator.

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What are the three basic cycles of a washer?
add water, add detergent, spin clothes
delicate, normal, extra dirty
wash, rinse, spin
Wash -- add water and detergent to clean clothes; rinse -- add clean water to remove dirt and soap; spin -- remove excess water.

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What are the characteristics of a delicate or hand-wash cycle?
slower and longer spin
cold wash and rinse, little or no spin
Usually a cold wash and rinse with a slower spin or no spin.
short hot wash, long spin

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Should colors be rinsed in warm water?
cold wash warm rinse
warm wash, cold rinse
cold wash and rinse
Colors should be washed and rinsed in cold water.

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Are the cycle settings on all machines final no matter how much laundry is in the machine?
Settings are always final unless you change them.
Certain high-end washers can adjust settings according to the amount of clothes in the wash.
Some high-end machines have sensors that detect the amount of laundry and adjust water, cycle length and spin speed.
All new machines can adjust any of the settings.

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Will a high temperature wash and rinse kill all the germs in your clothing?
High temperature and detergent are enough to kill germs
You need to use a strong bleach.
No, to be sure, use a bleach or disinfectant.
Not always. If you are concerned you can carefully use diluted bleach or one of the readily available disinfectants.

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