The weird world of washing machines

October 16th, 2012

Appliance Talk Laundry Washers & Dryers

Overall, washing machines are pretty ordinary.  There’s top loaders, there’s front loaders, and that’s pretty much about it.

While each new model of washing machine adds improved performance, additional features and whiz-bang gizmos, they almost all share a fairly similar design.

Or do they?

Here’s a batch of washing machine designs that have pushed the envelope and tried something new… even if they have turned out a bit weird.

SMEG washing machine fridges

Everyone loves the classic design of SMEG fridges, with their retro appearance, rounded lines and bright colours.

Now imagine using one of those as a washing machine!

Alas, these babies aren’t available in Australia, but we can still marvel at the design, which would certainly make your laundry a quirkier space.

Futuristic levitating washing machine

This is solely a design concept at the moment, but WHAT a design concept!

It may look like something out of Stargate, but the Orbit by French designer, Elie Ahovi, could completely rethink the way we do the laundry, using liquid nitrogen and dry ice to perform “cryogenic cleaning”.

While this design would theoretically function as something close to a perpetual motion machine, recharging itself as it operates, the energy requirements for actually producing the Orbit (and especially its dry ice) may not be so practical, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.  At least, not yet…

The Scary Washing machine

This top loader was offered up on New Zealand secondhand trading website,, with the following blood-chilling description:

“Once while washing a load of towells it got a bit out of balance and it got so out of control for a minute that I swear I actually saw a porthole to another dimension open above it just for a second, there were dinosaurs on the otherside and they looked scared too, it almost sucked me in but I held onto for my life to the deepfreeze. It sucked my shoes and pants off though and it got the iron as well which pissed me off because it was quite a good one. Luckily it sucked it’s own power cord out of the wall and stopped before the whole house went in.”

“I drew a picture of the dinosaurs i saw incase people didn’t believe me, they are partly red because my green felt ran out half way through.”

“I think it would be good to paint it matt black and put steel spikes all over it and draw demons on the front, however I have added an image of another possible customization option for people who like horses.”

“On heavy duty spin cycle it sort of sounds a bit like the tortured howls of 1000 undead writhing in the sulphury pits of hell mixed with a train with carriages full of scrap iron sliding down the road with no wheels, on fire, into a bell factory.”

Sounds like a natural match to go with the Magical Dryer.  Too bad both have already been sold

Low tech washing machine

Who needs a big fancy metal box in order to agitate water around your clothes?

As this Chinese student has shown, all you really need are two taps (one on an angle), a plastic bowl, and a smooth surface.

The Washup

As seen over at Big Brown Box, this combination appliance is not only great for homes with limited space, but also an environmentally friendly choice – after washing your clothes, it uses the water that would otherwise be wasted to flush the toilet.

Just be sure to keep the seat closed while you load and unload your laundry.  Just in case you drop something.

Foot-powered washing machine

This is less of a weird design, and more of a clever one that deserves a mention.

Utilising pedal power to wash clothes, the GiraDora was designed to help reduce the effort it takes to keep clothes clean in areas of the world where electricity and easy access to running water is in short supply, thus limiting the spread of disease.

Arcade washing machine

One of the biggest drawbacks of doing the laundry is that it’s boring.  Or, as a kid on school holidays would put it, BOOOOORING.

This design from London-based Kingston University student, Lee-Wei Chen, turns doing the laundry into a game – the better you play, the faster your clothes get done.  If you’re not much of a gamer, you’ll have to Insert Coin a few more times…

Now you can finally blame those Nintendo Thumbs on doing the housework…

Washing machine/air conditioner

Once again, we turn to Japan in search of appliances of great innovation.

Suitable for the small homes found in crowded cities, the Toshiba TW-3000VE is a combination washing machine and air conditioner, which can clear the air while it cleans your clothes.

Removable drum

One of the more annoying things about front loading washing machines is loading them.  A lot of crouching in a cramped laundry is not exactly good for your back.

This Titan washing machine uses a plastic drum that can be removed for simple loading and unloading. Use the drum as your laundry basket, and when it’s full, just stick it in the machine!

Unfortunately, after launching in the early 2000s, the Titan never really got off the ground in the UK.  Perhaps it will make a triumphant return some day…

Shower and do laundry

Following a similar path as the Washup seen earlier, the Washit has been designed with the goal of saving water.

The water in the Washit first goes through the shower.  It is then collected again, filtered three times, and used to wash clothes in the front-loader built into the side, which can also be accessed from inside the shower for when you want your laundry to be as private as your ablutions.

Washing egg

This clever design from Bauknecht is downright adorable, like half an egg on short stilts.

More like a piece of modern art than a front-loader, this is a washing machine that could very well be the centrepiece of a home, rather than a workhorse that’s tucked away in a dank laundry.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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