In the mid-1990s at the latest, possibly something like 1992-1993, our family's clothes washing machine, presumably from sometime in the 1980s, broke down.

My dad brought it out on the driveway outside the house and gave me a big hammer and screwdriver and told me to "have fun".

I unscrewed, pulled, bent, and hammered away on that thing for many hours. Possibly days. It was fun and interesting to me. Being a stupid child, the concept of it being dangerous in any way did not enter my mind whatsoever.

However, thinking back on it now, I wonder how close I was to dying a horrible and sudden death. Could something inside have zapped me with electricity, as a CRT TV could easily have done in the same situation? Or maybe even explode?

I don't know how long time passed between us unplugging it from the wall and me starting my "operations", but it could have been minutes or hours. I do not believe that father did anything in particular to secure it, if anything indeed could be done. I suspect that he knew about as little as I did about safety in electronics.

Maybe a clothes washing machine is completely different from an old TV and had no "capacitors" or "vacuum tubes"? I sure hope so...

  • $\begingroup$ the enamel on the outside of the appliance could flake off with force and hit you and penetrate your skin $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 23:04

1 Answer 1


the washing machine does not contain any energy storage capacitors which would retain a lethal charge for days after being unplugged. In addition, there's no pressure or vacuum chamber inside the washer which would unleash lethal forces when breached.

The biggest threat would be cutting yourself on a sharp metal edge.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, it may have been minutes -- not days... $\endgroup$
    – T. S.
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @T.S. - even one second later would be OK, except maybe some parts of the motor might be a bit warm to the touch. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 4, 2022 at 9:20

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