Introduction: Is a Junk Washing Machine Really Junk? Usefull Materials for Cool Home Builds From a Dead Washing Machine.

Picture of Is a Junk Washing Machine Really Junk? Usefull Materials for Cool Home Builds From a Dead Washing Machine.

I recently took apart a junk washing machine to salvage the drum for my patio heater instructable.  I discovered that there where many other cool parts that could used again for other projects.  most of the good bits had already been plundered from this rusting piece of junk so when i discovered that there was another washing machine in a shed i decided to junk that one too for parts for my next project and I would do an instructable about what nice goodies are to be found inside.

I will not go into details much but the photos are tagged with anything i think may be useful.

If anyone can think of good uses for some of the bits and pieces, please make a comment as i would be interested in your ideas.

Some of the goodies include the following.

Stainless steel drum, can be used as a fire pit, BBQ, incinerator and much more.

Bearings and a casting the could be used for a wind turbine.

The glass door.  Makes a cool bowl or could be used as a port hole style window.

The motor, could be used to power another project or you could add magnets and make a generator for a wind power project.

A water pump.  some of these have simple monopole motors whit magnets in and make a nice little generator but they do tend to cog a fair bit.

The wiring loom. there are loads of nice long decent quality wires all crimped with spade connections.  A as always you never know when those nice made up wires will come in handy.

Assorted switches and solenoid valves. all kinds of interesting gubbins.

The metal case. a good source of sheet metal for other projects.

Nuts, bolts, screws, washers, pipe clips and brackets, I had a box full of bits that would cost quite a bit to buy in a hardware store.

Thanks for looking, I hope you get some ideas from what you see. Please post comments of any ideas you may have for possible uses for the bits.


Step 1: Removing the Case.

Picture of Removing the Case.

Just get stuck in with a screw driver and remove anything that can be removed.

The only tools needed are screw drivers, pliers and a few assorted spanners.

Be careful to watch out for sharp edges on some of the metal panels on the inside they can be like old computer cases and have nasty sharp edges that catch you out when you least expect it.

Step 2: Pipes, Valves, Pumps and Pipe Clips.

Picture of Pipes, Valves, Pumps and Pipe Clips.

There are many pipes and hoses in the machine. the pipe clips should be easy to get of with pliers of a screwdriver, if the rubber has not dozed then the pipes should pull off easy if the clip is removed.

Step 3: The Glass Door.

Picture of The Glass Door.

The glass is made from toughened glass and makes a perfect glass bowl. there are many different shapes Had its just luck as what you will find. This one has a flat side that makes it unusual.

I'm not sure if this would be safe to use in a microwave or oven, so If you do try and it breaks and you get hurt please do so at your own risk.

And I even made something so it is an instructable.  Well I washed the glass door in hot soapy water and put some fruit in it.  A good lawyer would say that I had technically made this as I contributed some effort in the removal and cleaning process . lol

Step 4: The Wiring Loom.

Picture of The Wiring Loom.

You can just get stuck in with the pliers and cut the wires out but if you take your time you can salvage allot of long pieces that are perfect for other projects.

All the wire should be easy to disconnect from the switches and things, I only had to cut 2 or 3 wires out.  there a good few metal and plastic clips that attach the loom to the case these are all wroth saving too.

Step 5: Deeper Into the Guts of the Machine.

Picture of Deeper Into the Guts of the Machine.

Once you get the top tarts removed you can get access to the wiring loom better and once it is disconnected and removed it will be much easier to get at the rest of the parts.

Step 6: The Assorted Goodies.

Picture of The Assorted Goodies.

I'm a bit of a pack rat when it comes to stuff like this, I find that it is the people who give out about the amount of crap i keep are the people who also come asking if you would happen to have such and such to make something they are working on.

Sods law says if you throw it away today that tomorrow you will be searching the place for it.

Step 7: The Tub and Drum.

Picture of The Tub and Drum.

Once you have the machine striped out you are left with the tub and drum assembly.

Just undo all the clips and the drum should come out quite easy.

I don't have an idea for reusing the tub yet, but the steel drum will make a nice patio heater.

I plan to use the aluminum casting as part of a wind power project , i can use it to attach the blades to, it already has a set of sturdy bearings and an axle.

Step 8: The Rest of the Case.

Picture of The Rest of the Case.

The base is a very heavy solid pressed steel sheet unit that has wheels at each corner.

I may use these wheels the stand of my lathe to make it easy to move out for cleaning.

the base of the machine is prone to rusting and i had to use the grinder to cut the heads of 2 screws to free the base.

With the base removed there are just a few rivets to drill out or rind off and the rest of the side panels will come apart.

Step 9: And Finaly the Junk.

Picture of And Finaly the Junk.

I was left will a few bits of plastic and rubber that I can't use and this is what will be going to the recycle depot.

The cinder blocks may be useful for brazing stuff on, if it don't explode bits of when its hot, test will need to be done.

That is all from this Instructable, I hope that it gives you some ideas for reusing an old washer or drier.

Comments and suggestions welcome.


Courier Six (author)2017-11-07

So I noticed that the washing machine motor is small (compared to a forklift motor) and comes with a flywheel for a belt. Could A washing machine motor be used for an electric car? Assuming I had a 12V inverter (DC12V for lights, horn etc) some 12V batteries, speed controller and a welder/bracket thing. It wouldn't have to be fast, maybe 35MPHish and hauling one-two people and maybe some groceries.

wkumtrider (author)2010-09-28

If you don't have a use for it you can recycle that stuff, especially the metal parts.

vmartin2 (author)wkumtrider2016-09-07

I use the sheet metal to replace rocker panels in trucks and minivans in cold snowy climates. The salt on the road works. You use a 30 inch bender from harbor freight and with a piece of cardboard and a scissors cut a 90 degree profile of the shape you need. The tab on the top of the panels of the washer is bent in at 90 degrees all around this is the same as the tab on the bottom of your car panels.The 2 tabs get attached.You bend the profile shape of the panel from the tab up on the harbor freight bender.Use rivets or mig spotwelds ground flush to attach. Hint... an air powered riveter is much easier to use. Using a harbor freight flange and punch air tool is a good idea drilling in tin tends to break drills. Cauld the back of the new panel where they attach. The laundry factory paint is baked on and just about never rusts inside or out.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-04-14

Wow! I definitely need a washing machine now!

LouisaH (author)2015-10-02

having looked at the way a washing machine comes apart I think one of the sides could be used as a splashback on our shower and possibly bbe used along with other parts to make a sort of junk sculpture or robot

ndpani (author)2015-08-29


I've kept an old Siemens machine for more than 30 years with the same idea, but did not execute. Now I'll rip it open with confidence

hakuna matata (author)2015-07-21

Thanks JUST thanks a lot is all I could say I have two old washing machines!

bigjimbishop made it! (author)2014-03-03

I bolted the drums together to support some shelving planks and use the drums for cable storage. All my salad bowls are from washing machine doors and a selection of pulley wheels make good chimes for a percussionist.

Dr Qui (author)bigjimbishop2014-03-06

very nice indeed.

SussoGobbino (author)2013-09-26

I have used a circular cement weight (it was terrible to remove it) to make a small flowerbed.
I simply removed the grass inside the circle and made the terrain softer, then I added rocks and one sempervivum, which has produced another small 'child' next to it.
Looks great, awaiting for it to fully grow now!

I meant concrete weight.

lhjálmarsson (author)2013-08-18

you can get many water pumps at a repair shop and take the magnets out to use as toys. or sell as toys , and decorations , they stack up and connect in funny ways with a mind of their own. glass doors glass might be unhealthy if leaded. could be used to shield a light bulb , or many in a big chandelier, two together and candle in betwen , rubber gasket and clamps , water filled shells, rotating on a string in front of light or candle.

pussiedoctor (author)2013-08-08

I once used the solenoid coil from an old washing machine to fix my broken shower. Luckily it was an exact fit, and worked well. I recently had to replace our washing machine, the old one is on our backyard. I'm going to strip it down this weekend and make a fire pit with the drum. Great instructables, thankyou.

Peter Fnord (author)2013-07-22

Two weeks ago i used the waterpump for my "Zero-Euro-Hottup-Project". After the cleaning it works fine!

Dr Qui (author)Peter Fnord2013-07-22

Good idea, will you be making an Ible of your project?

bongodrummer (author)2012-07-10

Nice instructable. I have used bits for various things in the past, but have come up with a problem, that someone here might be able to help with...
I want to re-use the motor control board, to drive the motor. It already has the tachometer feedback coming into it and should have the ability to regulate speed quite well... But what signals to send it to achieve certain speeds?? Any ideas?

taria (author)2011-12-19

that pulley thing would make a nice clock as well as some of those other things attached to it. Kind of a Steampunk type of thing. Even the black hose cold be attached if spray painted a metal silver color and attached at the top.

Even the over complicated switch could be used as a clock, and industrial type of look.

the sheet metal would make a nice dry erase board mounted inside of a frame.

the wires cold be used to make wire wrapped jewelry.

the possabilitys (sp?) are endless with all the cool stuff. I would have a ball with it.

Dr Qui (author)taria2011-12-21

Indeed, all you need is a spark of imagination and something like this can be reused in a number of ways. I have found use for about 50% of the machine and the rest will be sold for scrap once i have enough to make the journey worth while.

taria (author)Dr Qui2011-12-21

I agree. :) have a great christmas.

Pe-ads (author)2010-12-02

My thoughts on the back plate: looks like it could make a nice shower pan. Though mind you, it's a bit small.

But using the backing as some sort of water collecting tray would be great. Perhaps a mini rice paddy? :D

Dr Qui (author)Pe-ads2011-12-21

Useful for for a oil change tray if you are into your own vehicle maintenance.

wagman (author)2011-05-10

I used the dampers from mine as stabilizers for my trailer, they work really well

RedneckEngineer (author)2010-07-31

Just a thought. Use the tub as part of a gray water system. Remove the bearing for other uses, then patch the hole or connect a hose for the drain. With the differant mounting brackets in the photo it would be easy to mount onto a DIY frame to have it free standing. It might be fugly but it could be useable.

Dr Qui (author)RedneckEngineer2010-08-01

Dunno if it would be worth the hassle, a 55 gallon blue plastic  barrel would be much better. The tub has bout 4 holes in already for heating element and a couple of solenoid valves, trying to seal them would be a nightmare.

I had to look up what  gray water was, In Ireland most rural homes gray water is just goes to a soak away pipe that is piped into a 20-30mtr gravel filled trench, although reed beds are becoming very popular on new builds.

What I have planned it to cut of the mounting brackets and screw some treated fence board to the outside of the tub to make a garden planter.

Bosun Rick (author)Dr Qui2011-04-17

Your blue plastic 55 gal barrel will make the perfect septic tank for an outdoor privey.
A friend who does a lot of outdoor entertaining built a 'mini-mansion' alongside his garage. he added about 20 ft. of perforated drain tubing fort he liquids to drain off, and uses a "Rid-X" type product for the solids.
A water line from his house lets him use a regular flush toilet as well.

Gareth0123 (author)2011-04-17

I made a brazier out of an old washing machine: it draws the air in exceptionally well and then the flames really get going:

wildwildrice (author)2010-11-23

The stainless steel drum is a beautiful base for a coffee table. Put a low wattage light in it, and it streams out through all the little holes. Very stylish.

scraptopower (author)2010-07-31

I've seen the aluminium pulley's used in a DIY band saw somewhere, which would be pretty cool. Nice instrucable. You could use the solenoid valves in some kind of garden irrigation system.

pitajames (author)scraptopower2010-11-17

hi reukpower, can you tell me some more about the garden irrigation system?
Would love some know how on how to build one.


nabo00o (author)pitajames2010-11-18

@reukpower I thought about that too, that's why I've saved a couple of them from dead machines.

@pitajames Basically you wouldn't need too much equipment to build it, but you need to know exactly how it works. Those electric valves need voltage to operate, probably dc (though some mechanical on/off components can work on ac), and you would need to find out how much voltage they need. A lot of stuff works on 12 volts but it is probable that they use the same tension as your grid (120 V in US) and generally 220-240 V everywhere else.

The good thing about electrical circuits is that they are very easy to use and change once made. Because of amplifiers, you could make a simple circuit that was sensitive to rain, sun etc. Even smarter than some scheduled daily watering system, would be a rain collector that basically gives you the amount of rain in a given time period, and when the water level is high enough, it touches two plates, a small signal goes through and turns on your valve, through a simple amplifier (there are many circuits out there showing how water sensors could be made).

Result: You could make a system which always adapted to the weather.
(btw sorry if this got off-topic, my bad :D )

P.s, I see my idea actually does the opposite of what I intended. It will water when there have been a lot of rain ;D
To make it work, a simple inverter is placed before the amplifier to 'invert' its operation. So when there is enough water, it will stop the flow : )

scraptopower (author)pitajames2010-11-17

Sorry I don't have any specific info on that, I just thought it would be a good idea!

Dr Qui (author)scraptopower2010-08-01

Yeah they would be perfect for that, a friend is using one as part of the drive system on an electric recumbent trike he is working on.

I cycled past a scrap yard today and saw about 500 of those pulleys in a pile and the mother of all industrial washing machines that I would love to take apart.

pitajames (author)2010-11-17

Fantastic instructable. Really keen on making the fire drum and would love more info on how to make the wind turbine.


pitajames (author)2010-11-14

Fantastic and thanks so much. Really interested in making the fire drum. And would love some information on how to make that wind turbine.


lemonie (author)2010-07-31

I had one of them...


Dr Qui (author)lemonie2010-08-01

lol  had... past tense. 90's washers where crap to be honest, we must have went through about 4 of them over the years. The current one is doing great at about 9 years or so, probably due to the lack of greasy and grinder grit covered boilersuits nowadays.

Don't tell anyone but you want to keep you eye out for is a newish LG machine or any that say direct drive, they have ever so tasty permanent magnet motors in.  I got one from a friend and plan to use it with the VAWT.  I stuck a hand crank handle on mine and can hand crank the thing to about 90v with no load, I popped a 12v 20watt halogen bulb in about 2 seconds with it.

lemonie (author)Dr Qui2010-08-02

Well I'm impressed, the only time I've ad a halogen-bulb go was on a Honda Caren at full-throttle down a hill in (near)total darkness...


Hawkeye Lyles (author)2010-07-29

Very interesting 'ible, and funny timing too, because our washer just went out yesterday and we had to buy a new one. It was just faulty electronics, though, so the motor and other stuff should still work fine. I might just do this unless my dad is planning on getting it fixed.

About This Instructable



Bio: Learning to live with Fibromyalgia brought on be numerous injuries some old some quite recent. Currently under no fixed agenda, just going with the flow ... More »
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