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What is Tumble Wash? Tumble Wash vs Pulsator Wash

If you have a washing machine at home or looking to buy one

Then while researching for a good washing machine you must have come across terms like tumble wash or pulsator/impeller wash

There are other washing modes also like bubble bush, hot wash, delicate wash

But let’s focus on two categories of washing which is tumble wash and impeller/pulsator wash

Tumble Wash is used in front load washing machines where the wash chamber rotates horizontally making the clothes to tumble or topple over. This leads to better cleaning of clothes. While Pulsator Wash is used in top load washing machines where the wash chamber rotates vertically back and forth to remove the dirt from clothes.

What is meant by tumble

If you google the meaning of tumble you fill find answer phrases like

“to fall down suddenly but without serious injury”

Definition on collins dictionary

“If someone or something tumbles somewhere, they fall there with a rolling or bouncing movement”

Check this person tumbling twice

Credit: giphy

Now you can see “tumble” means falling with a rolling movement

What is tumble wash

Tumble wash is used in front load washing machine where the washing drum is positioned horizontally so that it can rotate on a horizontal axis

When the spinning motor rotates the wash basket rotates with it.

This causes the clothes to tumble continuously in the drum.

Tumble wash cycle starts after the pre-wash cycle is done. In the pre-wash cycle, clothes are allowed to soak the water + detergent solution.

The tumbling of clothes removes the dirt more effectively but takes more time and is slower. 

One key benefit of tumble wash is it consumes very less water.

Tumble wash can be harsh on soft clothes as the fabric is almost beaten down on the chamber surface.

PS: We have curated a list of best front load washing machines under the price point of 30,000 for you.

See the below video which shows the entire wash cycle inside a front load washing machine’s wash chamber. First, there is normal spinning then tumble wash starts.

What is Pulsator or Impeller wash?

This is used in top load washing machines where the wash chamber is positioned vertically such that it rotates on a vertical axis.

An impeller or pulsator is attached to the bottom of the chamber.

When the pulsator rotates, it generates turbulent current which spins the water + clothes inside the chamber. 

turbulent current from pulsator
Image Credit: Samsung

The pulsator rotates back and forth periodically. Clothes get cleaned with this alternating cycle

In this, clothes need to be submerged inside the water leading to higher water usage. This is a major con here.

Pulsator wash is gentle on clothes but sometimes they get entangled with each other.

Advantages of Tumble Wash

1) Low Water Usage – It consumes very less amount of water as the clothes need not be submerged inside water for getting cleaned

2) Better Cleaning – Due to the tumble effect clothes get cleaned better.

3) Clothes do not get entangled – There is very low chance of clothes getting entangled.

Disadvantages of Tumble Wash

1) Longer Time – To get the tumble effect the spin speed needs to be slower making the wash cycle longer. 

2) Can be harsh on soft clothes – In Tumble wash the clothes fall on the chamber surface. This can make softer clothes to wear out. 

Advantages of Pulsator Wash

1) Gentle on Soft Clothes – The clothes go to and fro submerged in water and so this wash is suitable for delicate clothes

2) Even Wash – Leads to even washing of clothes

Disadvantages of Pulsator Wash

1) Low accommodation of clothes – As the clothes need to be submerged inside the water. With a high volume of water taking the chamber space, fewer clothes can be placed in the left space.

2) Clothes can get tangled – You will often see clothes getting entangled with each other, especially the arms of shirts.

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