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Old 06-14-2009, 02:25 AM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
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Cement in the Washing Machine

I was watching Seinfeld, it was the one where Jerry left money in his laundry bag and send his clothes to the cleaners. The clothes come back minus the money and Kramer persudes Jerry to "get even" with the cleaners with predictable hillarious results.

Kramer's idea was to take a washing machine in the laundry, and have Jerry distract the guy who runs the place. Kramer would dump a bag of cement in it and turn on the machine. According to Kramer by the time the machines done it'd be a big block of cement.

Somehow I don't think that would be the case in real life. So my question is, what would happen if you took a bag of cement put it in a washer (top loader) and started the machine up?

Note: In the end it turns out the cleaner didn't have the money, but Kramer did. He had put some clothes of his into Jerry's laundry bag. Jerry makes good by paying the cleaner, what he estimates to be $1,200 damage on the machine.
Old 06-14-2009, 04:09 AM
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Location: Port Jefferson Sta, NY
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Why do you think it wouldn't work? Concrete will even set underwater, so excess water isn't an issue. I guess there's a chance that it will drain before it sets enough, but even then, I think enough will set to clog up the system.
Old 06-14-2009, 05:35 AM
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Location: Dayton Ohio USA
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Hydraulic cement sets very fast. If you're patching with it you have to mix a small amount at a time.
Old 06-14-2009, 09:39 AM
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Location: Athens, Greece
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First of all cement and concrete are different things.

I have no experience with fast setting types of cement, but pouring a bag of ordinary cement in the washing machine will be no different than pouring a bag of dirt. Ordinary cement takes a long time to set and when it does it is brittle and can be washed away with water.
Old 06-14-2009, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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This sounds like it'd make a good Mythbusters experiment.
Old 06-14-2009, 10:11 AM
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Posts: 6,961
Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
Why do you think it wouldn't work? Concrete will even set underwater, so excess water isn't an issue. I guess there's a chance that it will drain before it sets enough, but even then, I think enough will set to clog up the system.
While it's true that concrete cures as opposed to dries, I wouldn't say "excess water isn't an issue."

Concrete sets underwater when it is properly contained in a form. The cement is kept in a tight enough mass to let the hydration bonds form properly.

What would happen in a washing machine depends on the length of agitation, the relative volume of water and cement, and the frequency of emptying. Keeping cement agitated lengthens set time.

I have no doubt an 80 lb bag of cement would likely destroy a washer; I think it would probably plug it up and delay emptying long enough to set. Concrete might be worse because the aggregate would be bad for the machine as well as make it easier to plug it up, even though there is less cement per unit weight.

In theory, cement with enough water to suspend it into a very thin liquid, and enough empting cycles to wash it all away, would not be able to set and would quite literally go down the drain much the way sand would; only if enough of it pooled somewhere for a period of time would you have a problem, either in the machine itself or down the drainage system somewhere.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 06-14-2009 at 10:14 AM.
Old 06-14-2009, 10:26 AM
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Leave it such that it doesn't rinse/spin and mission accomplished.
Old 06-14-2009, 12:21 PM
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I am thinking that an 80-pound bag of sand would destroy a washer even if it doesn't set like cement. 80 pounds of anything is probably more than the machine is rated to handle, plus the issues of it clogging the drains and all that. Your house plumbing could also suffer besides the machine itself.
Old 06-14-2009, 04:36 PM
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Ordinary cement in excess water will just dissolve/suspend without problem. Anyone who has worked with cement and has cleaned tools knows that
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