man inside washing machine

What Would Happen If You Were Put in a Washing Machine?

Well, let’s start by assuming the title of this piece is not addressed to an item of laundry. That would precipitate some writing along the lines of “you would get clean, that’s what”.

But what would happen if it was a living, breathing person who, through a circumstance of a dubious nature, fell into one of those big washing machines in a laundrette?

How would things then develop if the machine was activated, either by a bored and extremely bitter laundrette attendant, or by a passing moustache-twirling villain?

Now, that’s a different story. Well, apart from the bit about getting clean. There’s no getting away from the fact that you would be cleaner coming out than going in.

But there are more pleasurable means of accomplishing this. Besides this, some questions need to be asked.

What would the experience be like? Would you even survive it? Would it be fun?

The short answer is that being in a washing machine would almost certainly kill you. On the rare occasions that a person somehow ends up in a washing machine it usually ends in death or serious injuries.

Now that we’ve got that out the way, let’s take a more light-hearted look at what it would be like to experience a washing cycle as a human being.


Wishing You Were Washing?

man looking inside washing machine

Right, so, let’s take it step by step. In you get. Comfy? Too bad. Shutting the door… breathe in, can’t you? That’s better. I’m putting you in a 30°C wash, because there’s no need for the climate to suffer as well as you. And… off we go!

Different machines will have differing cycle lengths, so the experience of being stuck inside one will vary. But one thing they all have in common is the first step. You’ll probably notice that once the door’s shut and the cycle starts, that door’s not shifting, no sirree.

There’s a good reason for this and it’s not primarily to keep unfortunate inhabitants from escaping. The real reason is to stop absent-minded launderers from opening the door while the machine’s full, causing a hint of Niagara all over the floor.

So, you’ll find that you can’t open the door, which is a little alarming. Just you wait til the next bit. Before that though there’ll be a few turns while the energy efficient machine decides how big a load you are and how much water to apply to you. Try not to take its verdict too personally.


Douse About That Then?

As you’ll recall, being a caring type I’ve chosen to immerse you in a 30°C wash, which is frankly a lot better than it could have been. If I’d have plumped for a boil wash, you’d be scalded and unconscious from heat stroke in a matter of minutes.

As it is, you have water of a fairly enjoyable temperature coming into your temporary home. You may start to have misgivings though when it looks like the water’s going to fill the whole drum.

Worry not, there’ll be some air left at the top, so pop your head up that way and breathe as calmly as you can.

You’ll find that the detergent that I’ve added will possibly hurt your eyes and affect your breathing a little. Happily for you, my compassion knows no bounds: I’ve used some very gentle laundry liquid that’s great for sensitive skin. I don’t know about you, but, to me, kindness is so very important.


One Good Churn Deserves Another

Now, however, things get a little dicey as the machine starts its wash cycle. You’ll find that this very much revolves around revolving, as the machine seeks to get every part of you squidged and agitated in order to get that laundry liquid into your nooks and crannies.

No, it’s not likely to be a pleasant process. But let’s try and stay positive. It could be so much worse. I could have put bleach in there with you.

man spins in washing machine


Convincing Rinsing

You’ll be wanting some fresh water after all that detergent, and here it comes, after all the soapy water is drained away. You’ll also be glad of some nice warm water, but chances are it’ll be cold. That’s just sud’s law. (Little laundry industry joke for you there.)

That clean rinsing water will merrily sluice its way onto and around you, perking you up no end, just in case you were starting to drift off at all.

Again, head for that air bubble at the top, then, as the drum rotates, you’ll need to hold your breath quite a bit. But nobody said this was going to be easy. Besides, this bit’s a picnic compared to…


Give This a Spin

So, now the rinsing water gets turfed out, and you’ll be thinking, “well, that wasn’t so bad”. Brace yourself though—here comes the main event.

The step that now takes place is designed to separate laundry from any residual water, and is likely to separate you from any residual life.

Yes, I’m afraid that this is where your ride turns truly nasty. Given that machines can spin at speeds of over 1000rpm, this part of the experience is not for the feeble. Or in fact just about anyone.

The good news is that you’ll be nice and dry by the end of the deafening and all-round upsetting process. The bad news is that you’ll likely be about as alive as an old limp sock.

But hey! Let’s just assume you’re one of the rare cases that can survive this step. The next bit is nothing short of joyous.

The spun-out water gets drained and there follows the most delightful sound you’ve ever heard—the sound of the door unlocking. That click will stay with you for the rest of your life. As will the reluctance ever to set foot inside a washing machine ever again.


In Conclusion

I think we’ve all decided that, even if you were really, really stuck for something to do of an afternoon, getting inside a washing machine to see what happens to laundry just isn’t that great an idea. Even the best washing machines are not designed to be tip-top play areas.

The sad news is that, it does happen from time to time that somebody ends up in one of these things. Invariably, it’s a child that crawls into what looks like a fab place to explore, and the hapless adult then switches it on, only to look with increasing panic all-round the laundrette for their young companion once the wash starts.

In some cases, people have survived this experience. Take the five-year-old girl in a Texan laundrette in 2015, who was shut by accident into a washing machine and managed to live through the ordeal. However, she was still hospitalised with serious injuries, and wasn’t in for a full cycle as the laundrette staff used circuit breakers to stop the washing machine early.

Most people wouldn’t survive being put in a washing machine.

So, take this piece as a warning and never switch that machine on until you have any accompanying children safely in hand.

Getting into a washing machine is not a great move. Don’t do it. Unless I’m talking to some inexplicably animate (and literate) washing. In which case, in you pop.