Your Personal Washing Machine Glossary

Who knew there was so much terminology to a washing machine? Well, don’t worry about learning it all because we’ve compiled everything you need to know in one handy guide. So, if you ever want to learn more about your washing machine or find out what a part does you can just look it up.

Personal Washing Machine Glossary

Anchor Bolts

Sometimes call transit bolts these components hold the drum in place while it’s being moved. Many people through their anchor bolts away but it’s a good idea to keep them in case you ever move house.


This one is a little unusual it’s a trick you can do to help smooth out creases, all you need to do is spin the drum for a few moments after a cycle to help stop creases from forming.


This is the title used to describe the opening in a washing machine’s drum, even in basic models of washing machine the aperture is likely to be very wide, so you can easily put larger articles of clothing into your machine.

Automatic Dosing

This feature is built-in certain models of washing machine and it automatically determines how much washing detergent you’ll need. This can be very helpful because it will ensure you don’t use too much or too little detergent.

Baby Care

This washing machine setting is designed to be ultra-intensive to help ensure detergent is thoroughly washed away.


Well the name really gives this one away doesn’t it? The bedding wash cycle is designed to ensure larger items of clothing are thoroughly washed this includes things like bedding and sheets.


This is the name given to certain kinds of washing machine motor, they are designed to run more quietly.


The buzzer is a feature that works like an alarm, it sounds at the end of your washing machine’s cycle to let you know it’s finished.


This one is pretty simple and straightforward it tells you how much weight your washing machine can handle. Here is all you need to know about washing machine capacity.

Care Labels

Care labels are very useful and while they aren’t technically on your washing machine they are heavily connected to them. Care labels are the labels you’ll find on your clothes and they outline how you should wash, iron and dry them. Here is a handy guide to help you understand the laundry labels.

Child Lock

A child lock will ensure children can’t accidentally open your washing machine or change the machine’s settings on the control panel.

Cold Fill

Almost all washing machines in the UK will be cold fill machines, this means they only connect to the cold-water valve.

Control Panel

We’ve already mentioned it and it’s pretty self-explanatory the control panel is what you use to alter your washing machine’s settings. They come in many forms like buttons, dials, screens and much more.


Like the bedding wash cycle this one is pretty self-explanatory isn’t it? However, unlike bedding, this washing cycle is not as common. It’s designed to wash curtains more thoroughly and if your washing machine doesn’t have it available you will instead need to use the delicate wash cycle.

Delay Start

The delay start will postpone that beginning of your washing machine’s cycle, so you can set it to wash while you’re away. The delay start setting is particularly useful for people who want to time their washes so they finish when they arrive home from work so that their clothes aren’t left in the washing machine for too long. Here you can find more information about the delay start timer.


Probably one of the most common washing machine cycle settings delicate is designed to more gently wash materials like synthetics or acrylics. Many people use this setting for soft and more fragile clothing as well.


The denim wash program is designed for? You guessed it denim! This is likely going to be one of the most commonly used cycles on washing machines that include it because let’s be honest who doesn’t have a favourite pair of jeans they always want to look their best? If you don’t see this program on your washing machine it might just be called jeans instead.

Detergent Drawer

Another one that you can likely guess, the detergent drawer features numerous compartments and is where you add your washing powder.

Door Seal

The door seal is the name given to the rubber lining around your door, make sure it’s regularly cleaned to help wash away mould.

Drain Filter

Found at the base of your washing machine the drain filter is designed to capture lint and fluff. Make sure you regularly check the drain filter to ensure it doesn’t get blocked. In some washing machine’s it can be accessed through the washing machine’s base. While on some models the filter can be accessed through the drum instead.


The drum is one the most important parts of a washing machine, it’s where the clothes are washed after all. While they may look similar most washing machine brands will have their own patented style of drum.

Drum Paddles

These paddles will almost always come in pairs and they rotate clothes while they spin, they are usually made of plastic but can sometimes be made from metal.

Easy Iron

Another popular setting the Easy Iron program is designed to help prevent creases from forming during a wash cycle. It does this by lowering the spin speed and in many cases, it also makes the cycle a little shorter.


This setting is sometimes called the synthetic program and it’s designed for non-cotton clothes. Many people commonly use it for polyester clothing but it can be used for a variety of different garments.


This is actually a way to change the functions of your washing machine to make it more energy efficient. However, as a trade of your washing cycles will usually take longer to complete.


This is probably one of the least known about washing machine components, but it does an important job. The elbow is shaped like a horseshoe and is what your hose is threaded through to connect to your washing machine.

End Delay

Works in a similar manner to the Delay Start however instead of delaying your start-time you can alter your washing machine cycles end-time.

Extra Rinse

This setting will effectively give your washing machine an added rinse at the end of a wash cycle. This is a valuable setting for heavy loads and is especially useful for getting rid of detergent.


Like most things a washing machine stands on feet and for many washing machines they can also be adjusted. Remember the level of your washing machine is very important because if it’s unlevel it can cause a variety of issues.


This is the term used to describe the most common model of washing machine, it basically means the washing machine is uncovered. These types of washing machine usually come in a range of colours, so you can match it to your décor.


The most common type of washing machine in the UK, with a front loaded washing machine you put your clothes in the drum through the opening at the front of the machine.

Hot Fill

These aren’t common in the UK, but some models are available, a hot fill washing machine is a machine you can attach to the hot water supply as well as the cold. This means your washing machine will heat up your water using your boiler.

Hygiene Cycle

Another common sight on washing machines the hygiene cycle is designed to wash out allergens thoroughly. It will do this by heating up your water to a high temperature and in some machines, it will even use steam. The hygiene cycle is the best way to ensure you kill all allergens and bacteria in a wash.


Sometimes known as built-in washing machines these models are designed to fit into your cupboards, this is usually the preferred model of choice for more modern households and will help you get a more sleek and seamless style.

Intensive Washes

Sometimes known as intensive programs instead these wash cycles are one of the best ways to ensure stains are fully washed away. Stubborn stains like glass, red wine, blood or sweat can be hard to wash away so if you’re ever in doubt select the intensive wash setting.

Invert Motor

The Inverter motor is something you’ve already seen mentioned earlier on in our list under the name brushless motor. But just in case you missed it this motor is less robust than a standard washing machine motor and therefore will run much more quietly.


You probably know this one by its more common name Denim. This wash cycle is designed to wash denim clothing of all kinds and will ensure they are thoroughly washed without damaging the denim itself.

Maximum Load

At a glance, the maximum load might seem simple, it’s the total weight of clothes your washing machine can hold right? Well yes and no, you see the maximum load is actually the weight limit of dry clothes your washing machine can hold. So, when you add the weight of the water the number of clothes you can hold will usually be less than you think.

Memory Functions

Sometimes known as the memory program this is your own personalised program. If you have your own particular favourite settings that you use often then you can use the memory function to automatically save those settings on your washing machine. This will make it much easier and quicker to select your settings in the future.

Mixed Loads Wash

This is a valuable program for any household! With the mixed load (sometimes call the mixed fabrics) setting you can wash multiple different items without risking damage to your clothes. The mixed load’s wash can be used for different coloured clothes and different materials as well.

Outdoor Cycle

This is a cycle a lot of people want without realising that they actually already have it, the outdoor wash cycle is designed for washing water-repellent outdoor clothes. So, if you have clothes like this, then this is the cycle you’ll want to pick to wash them.

Overflow Prevention System

Sometimes called the leak prevention system instead this system is designed to cut off the water supply in your washing machine if it detects a leak. Despite what you might have heard leaks aren’t common in washing machines but if one does occur you’ll be glad this system is in place.

Pause Function

Despite what you might have heard it is possible to temporarily stop a wash cycle and that’s exactly what the pause function does. Once it’s paused you will be able to open the door as well, this is a useful feature because if something gets stuck in your washing machine that shouldn’t be there then you can pause it, remove it and then carry on with the cycle.


Ah the pre-wash where would we be without it? The pre-wash is a particularly useful setting if you add it to a wash cycle it will help wash away stubborn stains. However, in order for it to work properly, you’ll need to ensure your washing machine as added detergent to your wash cycle. Some models of washing machine won’t include the pre-wash setting, unfortunately.

Pre-Wash Compartment

Like we mentioned above the pre-wash cycle is particularly useful for getting rid of tough stains. However, you’ll need to add more detergent to your washing machine in order for it to be effective, the pre-wash compartment is found in the detergent drawer. The pre-wash compartment is usually always marked with a capital “I” so you can tell it apart from the other compartments.

Programme Selection Dial

The programme selection dial is basically your control panel but in the form of a dial. Some models of washing machine may feature just a dial or a dial and buttons. The dial, however, is usually what is always used to select your wash program. Check your manual for details on what each symbol around the dial means, so you can be sure you choose the right program.

Proofing Programs

These programs are particularly useful because they make it possible for you to make clothes more water resistant or in some cases even waterproof. These wash cycles are specifically designed for clothes with hydrophobic coating so make sure you check the labels first.

Quick Wash

If you only have a few items that need washing and they are only lightly stained then this is the wash program you want to pick. The quick wash is very fast, usually around 15 – 30 minutes. Some washing machines can do quick washes of whole drums of clothes but in the majority of cases, the average washing machine’s quick wash cycle will only wash small loads effectively.

Rating Plate

The rating plate is where you’ll find all the information about your washing machine including the model number, serial number and sometimes other information like the manufacturer’s contact details. The rating plate is most often located around the door frame or at the rear of the washing machine.


The rinse is an important part of a washing machine’s wash cycle. The rinse will wash away the detergent and help prevent a build-up of soap studs.

Rinse Hold

The rinse hold is a valuable feature many people don’t know about it, as you may have guessed it holds the rinse on a wash cycle. This means you can activate the final rinse of water for when you need it, if you’re not going to be home in time then activating this feature can come in handy because it will help ensure your clothes come out smelling fresh.

Self-Cleaning Detergent Drawer

A build-up of soap in your detergent drawer is more common than you might expect but with a self-cleaning detergent drawer it will be a problem you’ll never have to deal with. Not all models of washing machine will feature this but if yours does then it will flush away detergent after every wash to reduce mess.

Service Wash

If you want to ensure your washing machine never experiences a build-up of mould then this is the wash for you. Not all washing machines will feature a service wash setting and if yours doesn’t then you’ll need to set your own. You can do this by activating a hot temperature wash, remember this should only be carried out every few months and you shouldn’t use detergent and the drum should be empty.

Silk Wash

Silk is one of the most delicate materials around and many people will only use the silk wash setting to wash silk garments. However, this wash cycle can be used for fragile garments, for example, lingerie as well.

Softener Compartment

This is the third compartment in your detergent drawer and is used to hold fabric softener. While the symbol marking the compartment can differ it will usually be a flower like symbol. Like always you should make sure this compartment is cleaned after each wash.

Speed Mode

This isn’t actually a wash cycle but a mode you can activate on your washing machine. It makes all other settings faster so long wash cycles will finish more quickly, while this can come in handy it will cost more power, so it is the less energy efficient option.

Spin Speed

This is what determines the speed of your drum, and therefore what decides the number of revolutions per minute. Depending on the model of your washing machine your top speed could be anywhere between 1000 and 1600rpm.


If you’re a sports fan or regularly gymgoer then this is the setting you’ll want to use to wash your clothes. Some washing machines even have settings that are designed to wash items like trainers as well.

Stacking Kit

This is probably more of a niche item but it’s worth mentioning the stacking kit is designed to allow you to safely place a tumble dryer on top of a washing machine. This is particularly useful if you have limited space available.

Steam Refresh

The steam refresh is a valuable feature that is designed to remove odours from clean clothing. This is ideal for clothes that are clean but may smell dusty or may have otherwise soaked up some unpleasant odours.

Time Remaining Clock

This is what shows you how long your current wash cycle as left before it’s finished.

Transit Bar

The transit bar is something you’ll find bolted inside a brand-new washing machine’s drum, it’s designed to stop the drum from spinning during transport. You’ll have to unbolt the bar and remove it before you can use the washing machine. You might want to keep a hold of the bar if you ever move house because it will allow you to more safely transport your washing machine.

Top Loading

Top loading or loaded washing machines open at the top of the machine instead of at the front. They are common in America but less seen in the UK, but they are available.

The Tub

The tub might not be something you can see but it’s an essential part of your washing machine, it holds the drum and helps keep it secure.

Unbalanced Loads

Unbalanced loads are a common problem with washing machines, but they are not what you likely think they are. Unbalanced loads are what happens when heavy clothes are mixed with lighter ones, to give you a common example think about what might happen if towels are mixed with some socks or cotton T-shirts. The towel will absorb the water and become heavier which will unbalance the drum and likely cause the cycle to shut down. To prevent this from happening to you make sure you take extra care when loading big, bulky clothing

Variable Spin

The variable spin is the name of the method used to alter your spin speed, most more modern washing machines will allow you to alter the spin speed in your machine, sometimes even part way through a wash cycle. If your clothes are coming out of the wash looking creased, then lowering the spin speed is a great way to fix the problem.

Wash System

The water system will differ from machine to machine all brands use their own water systems. For example, Samsung uses the Ecobubble system, if you want more information on the water system in your washing machine check the washing machine’s instruction manual.

Waste Hose

The waste hose is a very important component it’s used to transport the water around your machine, more precisely it transfers water from your washing machine to your home’s waste pipe.

Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is a component you may have heard of before but what does it do exactly? The water inlet valve can be found at the back of your washing machine and it is what allows water to flow into your washing machine. If you suddenly find yourself with a washing machine that won’t fill with water, then it’s highly likely that it will be because of a problem with the inlet valve.

Water Supply Hose

The water supply hose is what bridges the gap (literally) between the water feed at the back of your washing machine and the washing machine’s water inlet valve.

Wool Wash Cycle

Sometimes simply labelled wool on your washing machine this setting is designed to provide a more gentle wash. As the name implies this cycle is designed for wool garments and will usually be at a colder temperature, at the very least it will be no higher than 40°C.

We hope you find the information provided here to be informative and helpful. Here are some helpful tips from Repair Aid:

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