IS IT OK TO STOP A WASHING MACHINE MID CYCLE?

IS IT OK TO STOP A WASHING MACHINE MID CYCLE
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Your washer was programmed to run 51 minutes. 10 minutes in you realize you need to stop the program. You just remembered that your necklace is in one of the pants. You’re ready to stop the program, but then you wonder: what will happen to the machine if it stops mid-cycle? Will I damage the machine, will there be a malfunction in the future? What will happen to my clothes?

Here is your answer:

Washing machines can be stopped at any stage of washing, even mid cycle. You’ll do your machine no harm if you stop it mid cycle.

WHAT IS A MID CYCLE STOP?

Simply put, it is manually stopping your machine before it finishes washing and coming to a halt. If your machine does not stop its operation by itself, but was stopped by manual action, in this context it is said to stop mid-cycle, though it may be past half-way the washing process.

There are 4 major stages in a washer’s washing process

The:

  • Prewash
  • Washing
  • Rinsing, and
  • Spinning.

PREWASH

When clothing items are inserted in a washer, the machine prepares the items for washing. This preparation stage includes:

  • Filling the tub with water. (A tube is the cylinder where clothes and other washable items are stored. This is where the actual washing takes place)
  • Mixing the detergent and other washing agents. 

This prewash stage takes about … min to complete. Next is the washing phase.

WASH

This is when the real washing takes place. The tub spins and rotates, smashing the clothes together. Different chemicals help to dissolve oil and greasy stains and dirt. The swirling process mixed with water separates the dirt from the fabrics. 

It is replicated in parts of Africa and the Americans by smashing cloth fabrics mixed with water and soap or detergent against a rock by the river side. This is an effective cleansing system. 

The next phase is the rinsing phase

RINSING   

Here the soapy water is drained from the tub and clean fresh water replaces it. The same process occurs as in the washing process. The soap or detergents used in the washing process are rinsed from the fabrics. The clean water aids in removing any extra dirt from the fabrics. 

At this point the clothes are ready for drying. You can remove the clothes from the washer at this point and manually dry them, and you’ll be just fine.

Of course the clothes will still be soaked, hence the next stage. But can you take your clothes from the washer at this stage? Yes you can.

Now the last stage

SPINNING

Just like the rinsing phase, water in the tube is removed from the tub. The tub spins at a faster speed than usually, removing any extra water from fabrics.

Some machines can spin as fast as 1600rpm (rotation per minute). Others can even get to a whooping 1800rpm!

At the end of this phase, the door locker releases and is ready for drying.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP A WASHER MID CYCLE?

In all machines, water is pumped into the tub during the prewash phase. however the front and top loaders respond to a mid cycle stop differently. Let’s briefly discuss both.

TOP LOADER

A top loader has its opening at the top. So opening the door is easy even with water inside the tub. 

  • The tubs stop spinning. 
  • And the door lock unlatch.

Now you’re set to remove the clothes or do whatever made you stop the process.

SIDE LOADER

This is not the case with a front loader. Because of gravity on the opened door, it needs to be closed as long as water is in the compartment. Else there’ll be spills all over. 

When you stop a front loader, 

  • The water has to drain first.
  • Then the tub stops spinning
  • And the door lock unlatch.

Only at this point can the door be opened.

This is the same process that occurs at the end of a washing cycle.

So when you stop a washing machine mid cycle. It does not destabilize the washing operation. Instead, it pauses whatever stage it is in at the moment, and jumps to the last 3 stages:

  • Draining of tub water
  • Stop the revolution of the tub (stop the spinning)
  • Unlock the door.

In top-loaders, the draining stage is skipped.

DISADVANTAGES OF STOPPING MID CYCLE

In terms of disadvantages, they are more logical than technical. Some such disadvantages are:

  • Wet dress unfit for use
  • Unclean laundry (if washing has just begun)
  • Water spills. As the spinning process has not been reached. 
  • Inadvertently stopping when the intention was to pause the program.
  • Waste of time, since the process might have to be started afresh if stopped.
  • Occasionally, a front loader tub door might not open if stopped abruptly. But this is rare.
IS IT OK TO STOP A WASHING MACHINE MID CYCLE

WILL MY MACHINE BE IMPACTED NEGATIVELY

No. As explained above, the washing process might be skipped when you pause or stop a washing machine mid-wash. 

Few steps are skipped and then the final process is triggered. Hence the machine process is not destabilized. 

IN CONCLUSION

It is alright to worry how your actions affect your appliances. In this instance, the answer is: Don’t worry, washing machines are built to stop mid cycle. Stopping them in the midst of an operation will not hurt your washer in any way.

This cautious approach will go a long way to increase your machine lifespan.

Even though it does no harm to your device, you can choose not to stop it mid cycle except it is absolutely needed.

Have you wondered what happens to your clothes if you remove them mid cycle? This is explained in this article.

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