Washing Machine Agitator: What Is It?

Agitators play a vital role throughout the wash cycle. It is responsible for the spinning and the rotation process (forward and reverse rotations) so that the garments do not tangle and result in a smooth wash. It is placed at the center of the inner tub, inside the washing machine.

The high rotation of the agitator helps in mixing the detergent with water, which further applies to the clothes and other fabrics.

In this article you will learn:

  • What does an Agitator mean?
  • How does it work?
  • Is it a better choice?
  • And more…

Let’s get started.

What is an Agitator?

An agitator is a vertical spindle made up of hard plastic OR porcelain-coated steel OR stainless steel and located at the center of the top-load washing machine. It consists of a central shaft with blades or fins that helps to twist and turn the clothes through water in order to clean them. Depending on the brand, size, and type the design may vary.

How do Agitators work?

The agitator rotates in one direction while the clothes are moved around in the other direction, causing them to rub against each other and loosen any dirt or debris that is stuck to them.

Some agitators also have paddles on the bottom that help to move the clothes more effectively.

The agitator is powered by an electric motor, and the speed at which it rotates can be adjusted depending on the type of fabric being washed.

In general, delicate items should be washed at a lower agitator speed, while heavier items can be washed at a higher speed.

Also Read: Why is Whirlpool Washer not Agitating?

Do you put soap directly in the agitator?

Most washers do have an automatic soap dispenser inside the washtub, however, if your washing machine does not have a soap dispenser then you must be using powdered detergents.

Technically there is no harm in adding a detergent directly but you may have to keep a few things in mind such as:

If you are using a powder detergent then it is advised to pre-dissolve the detergent in warm water before putting it directly in the agitator or the washtub.

 Liquid soap can be added directly to the washtub or the agitator because washing with cold water enhances the performance of the solution.

If you are adding detergents directly to the empty washer then make sure to have an ample amount of water poured inside for the detergent to blend and dissolve. After which you may add your fabrics and start the wash cycle.

Also Read: How to clean agitator?

Do Front Load washers have Agitators?

Front Load washers do not rely on agitators as they work on tumbling action. Modern Front-Load washers use the entire drum to spin in a circular motion with a tumbling action and use less water when compared to the ones that use agitators. Washers without Agitators are considered to be energy efficient and are not hard on the clothes.

Also Read: What Causes Washing Machine motor to burnout?

Is an agitator washer better?

You will find that a washer with an agitator is pocket friendly and more reliable in removing tough stains from your fabrics in lesser time. However, the fierce rotating action of an agitator could cause wear and tear to clothes and delicate fabrics on some occasions. 

Having said that, when it comes to cleaning the washtub, it is generally easy as the agitators are easily detachable in most cases.

Also Read: How to clean down jacket in the washing machine?

Final Thoughts

The agitator needs service and cleaning in a timely manner, as it deals with your daily laundry and comes in contact with dirt, fabric, lint (tiny fabric fibers), and detergent residues.

These days agitators are slowly phasing out and as a result, we see most modern-day washers come with an impeller.

For more information on preventing and cleaning the agitator, you don’t need to run around just visit our FAQ section for detailed information about your laundry.

Also Read: How to fix E1 Error in a Washing machine?

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com