Title:
Detergent dissolving device and washing machine having the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed are a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine capable of improving solubility of detergent, and a washing machine having the same. The detergent dissolving device includes a powdered detergent box, and the powdered detergent box includes a detergent receiving portion, and a water feed portion defined at a periphery of the detergent receiving portion to feed water into the detergent receiving portion so as to cause rotating motion of water received in the detergent receiving portion. The detergent dissolving device further includes a cover provided to open or close the detergent receiving portion. The cover includes a water discharge portion to discharge the water out of the detergent receiving portion.



Inventors:
Cho, Hwang Mook (Suwon-si, KR)
Pyo, Sang Yeon (Suwon-si, KR)
Park, Jae Ryong (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Sim, Sang Deok (Cheopgsong-gun, KR)
Yang, Byoung Yull (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Oak, Seong Min (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Kim, Tai Eun (Suwon-si, KR)
Seo, Dong Pil (Suwon-si, KR)
Yu, So Jung (Suwon-si, KR)
Lee, Bo Kyung (Suwon-si, KR)
Application Number:
12/458457
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
07/13/2009
Assignee:
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F39/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Foreign References:
KR100715541B12007-05-08
Primary Examiner:
RIGGLEMAN, JASON PAUL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, the detergent dissolving device comprising: a powdered detergent box including a detergent receiving portion, and a water feed portion defined at a periphery of the detergent receiving portion, to feed water into the detergent receiving portion, to cause rotating motion of water received in the detergent receiving portion; and a cover to open or close the detergent receiving portion and including a water discharge portion to discharge the water out of the detergent receiving portion.

2. The device according to claim 1, further comprising a sealing member to seal a gap between the detergent receiving portion and the cover upon closure of the cover.

3. The device according to claim 1, wherein the water feed portion includes a water feed hole and a water feed channel disposed in a tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion.

4. The device according to claim 1, wherein the detergent receiving portion defines a receiving space having a circular horizontal cross section.

5. The device according to claim 1, wherein the detergent receiving portion defines a receiving space having a semispherical, cylindrical, truncated-conical or bowl shape.

6. The device according to claim 1, wherein the detergent receiving portion includes an auxiliary water discharge hole, and a first mesh provided at the auxiliary water discharge hole to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of water.

7. The device according to claim 1, wherein the water discharge portion includes a water discharge hole formed at a center of the cover, corresponding to the detergent receiving portion.

8. The device according to claim 7, wherein the water discharge portion further includes a water discharge channel extending from the center of the cover.

9. The device according to claim 8, wherein the water discharge hole is located at an inwardly inserted position of the detergent receiving portion, and the water discharge channel extends from the water discharge hole to the cover.

10. The device according to claim 8, wherein the water discharge portion further includes a second mesh provided at the water discharge hole or the water discharge channel to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of the water.

11. The device according to claim 1, wherein the cover further includes a perforated hole to direct the water discharged from the water discharge portion into a water tub of the washing machine.

12. A detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, the detergent dissolving device comprising: a detergent receiving portion in which detergent is received; a water feed portion to feed water into the detergent receiving portion to create a rotating water stream within the detergent receiving portion; and a water discharge portion to discharge the water upward from a center of the rotating water stream.

13. The device according to claim 12, wherein the water feed portion is formed at an inner surface of the detergent receiving portion, and includes a water feed hole disposed in a tangential direction of a horizontal cross section of the detergent receiving portion.

14. The device according to claim 12, wherein the detergent receiving portion defines a receiving space having a circular horizontal cross section and having a semispherical, cylindrical, truncated-conical or bowl shape.

15. The device according to claim 12, wherein the detergent receiving portion includes an auxiliary water discharge hole, and a first mesh provided at the auxiliary water discharge hole to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of the water.

16. The device according to claim 12, wherein the water discharge portion includes a water discharge hole provided on a center axis of the detergent receiving portion.

17. The device according to claim 16, wherein the water discharge portion further includes a water discharge channel extending along the center axis of the detergent receiving portion.

18. A washing machine comprising: a body; a water tub provided in the body; a water feeder to feed water into the water tub; and a detergent dissolving device in which detergent is received, the detergent dissolving device to dissolve the detergent in the water fed from the water feeder prior to feeding the detergent into the water tub, wherein the detergent dissolving device includes a detergent receiving portion, a water feed hole formed at the detergent receiving portion to cause rotating motion of the water fed into the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge portion formed on the center axis of rotating water stream.

19. The washing machine according to claim 18, wherein the water feed hole is provided in a tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion, to cause the water fed into the detergent receiving portion to perform rotating motion in a predetermined direction.

20. The washing machine according to claim 18, wherein the detergent dissolving device further includes a cover to open or close the detergent receiving portion, and wherein the water discharge portion includes a water discharge hole formed on a center axis of the cover opposite the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge channel extending on the center axis of the cover.

21. The washing machine according to claim 18, further comprising a sealing member to prevent leakage of water, is the sealing member being at a connection between the water feeder and the detergent dissolving device.

22. The washing machine according to claim 20, wherein the body includes a receptacle defining a receiving space into which the detergent dissolving device is slidably mounted, and wherein the cover and detergent receiving portion are pressed by upper and lower surfaces of the receptacle to maintain a sealed state.

23. A detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, the detergent dissolving device comprising: a detergent receiving portion; and a water feed portion at a periphery of the detergent receiving portion, to feed water into the detergent receiving portion, to cause rotating motion of water received in the detergent receiving portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2008-0072394, filed on Jul. 24, 2008 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present invention relates to a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine and a washing machine having the same, and, more particularly, to a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, which can effectively dissolve powdered detergent received in a detergent box, and a washing machine having the same.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, a washing machine is an appliance wherein laundry, wash water, and detergent are input into a rotating tub and are agitated together, achieving washing of laundry via friction. Such a washing machine includes a detergent feeder to feed detergent into a water tub.

A detergent feeder included in a conventional washing machine includes a hollow housing fixedly mounted in an upper portion of a body case, a drawer type detergent box to be drawn from the housing forward of the body case, and a detergent receiving portion defined in the detergent box and filled with detergent. If a user fills the detergent box with detergent and operates the washing machine, the detergent is moved into a water tub along with wash water directed into the detergent receiving portion.

A problem of the above-described conventional detergent feeder is that powdered detergent received in the detergent receiving portion is often fed into the water tub in an incompletely dissolved state. The incompletely dissolved powdered detergent may settle at the bottom of the water tub, causing detergent residue. In addition, as the powdered detergent is fed to laundry, it may be stuck on the laundry and remain on the laundry even after completion of a laundry washing operation.

Another problem is that some of the powdered detergent, input into the detergent receiving portion of the detergent box, remains in the detergent box even after completion of a laundry washing operation. In particular, when a water source feeds water at a low water pressure, the water may insufficiently remove the powdered detergent from the detergent receiving portion, increasing the amount of detergent residue.

The detergent residue may be introduced into the water tub along with water during a rinsing operation after the laundry washing operation, deteriorating rinsing performance, or may be hardened in the detergent box, causing contamination of the interior of the detergent box.

SUMMARY

Therefore, it is an aspect of the present invention to provide a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine capable of improving solubility of detergent, and a washing machine having the same.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine capable of preventing powdered detergent from remaining in a detergent box after wash water is completely fed, and a washing machine having the same.

Additional aspects and/or advantages will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention may be achieved by providing a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, the detergent dissolving device including: a powdered detergent box including a detergent receiving portion, and a water feed portion defined at a periphery of the detergent receiving portion to feed water into the detergent receiving portion, to cause rotating motion of water received in the detergent receiving portion; and a cover to open or close the detergent receiving portion and including a water discharge portion to discharge the water out of the detergent receiving portion.

The detergent dissolving device may further include a sealing member to seal a gap between the detergent receiving portion and the cover upon closure of the cover.

The water feed portion may include a water feed hole and a water feed channel disposed in a tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion.

The detergent receiving portion may define a receiving space having a circular horizontal cross section and a semispherical, cylindrical, truncated-conical or bowl shape.

The detergent receiving portion may include an auxiliary water discharge hole, and a first mesh provided at the auxiliary water discharge hole to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of water.

The water discharge portion may include a water discharge hole formed at a center of the cover, corresponding to the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge channel extending from the center of the cover.

The water discharge hole may be located at an inwardly inserted position of the detergent receiving portion, and the water discharge channel may extend from the water discharge hole to the cover.

The water discharge portion may further include a second mesh provided at the water discharge hole or the water discharge channel to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of the water.

The cover may further include a perforated hole to direct the water discharged from the water discharge portion into a water tub of the washing machine.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention may be achieved by providing a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine, the detergent dissolving device including: a detergent receiving portion in which detergent is received; a water feed portion to feed water into the detergent receiving portion to create a rotating water stream within the detergent receiving portion; and a water discharge portion to discharge the water upward from a center of the rotating water stream.

The water feed portion may be formed at an inner surface of the detergent receiving portion, and includes a water feed hole disposed in a tangential direction of a horizontal cross section of the detergent receiving portion.

The detergent receiving portion may define a receiving space having a circular horizontal cross section and having a semispherical, cylindrical, truncated-conical or bowl shape.

The detergent receiving portion may include an auxiliary water discharge hole, and a first mesh provided at the auxiliary water discharge hole to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of the water.

The water discharge portion may include a water discharge hole provided on a center axis of the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge channel extending along the center axis of the detergent receiving portion.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention are achieved by providing a washing machine including a body, a water tub provided in the body, a water feeder to feed water into the water tub, and a detergent dissolving device in which detergent is received, the detergent dissolving device to dissolve the detergent in the water fed from the water feeder prior to feeding the detergent into the water tub, wherein the detergent dissolving device includes a detergent receiving portion, a water feed hole formed at the detergent receiving portion to cause rotating motion of the water fed into the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge portion formed on the center axis of rotating water stream.

The water feed hole may be provided in a tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion, to cause the water fed into the detergent receiving portion to perform a rotating motion in a predetermined direction.

The detergent dissolving device may further include a cover to open or close the detergent receiving portion, and the water discharge portion may include a water discharge hole formed on a center axis of the cover opposite the detergent receiving portion, and a water discharge channel extending on the center axis of the cover.

A sealing member to prevent leakage of water, the sealing member being at a connection between the water feeder and the detergent dissolving device.

The body may include a receptacle defining a receiving space into which the detergent dissolving device is slidably mounted, and the cover and detergent receiving portion may be pressed by upper and lower surfaces of the receptacle to maintain a sealed state.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and/or other aspects and advantages will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view showing the configuration of a washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a water feeder and a detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view showing the configuration of the detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 4A-4C are views showing alternative embodiments of a detergent receiving portion of a detergent dissolving device according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a plan sectional view of the detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a view showing an input operation of powdered detergent in the washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 7 and 8 are views showing an operation of the detergent dissolving device in the washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT

Reference will now be made in detail to the exemplary embodiment, an example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. The embodiment is described below to explain the present invention by referring to the figures.

Although the exemplary embodiment is applicable to various kinds of washing machines, such as pulsator, agitator and drum washing machines, for convenience of description, a pulsator washing machine will be described hereinafter as an example.

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view showing the configuration of a washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

The washing machine of the exemplary embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, includes a body 10 defining an external appearance of the washing machine, a water tub 20 installed in the body 10, in which wash water is received, a rotating tub 11 rotatably installed in the water tub 20, a water feeder 30 to feed wash water into the body 10, and a detergent feeder 40 in which detergent is received, the detergent feeder 40 functioning to mix detergent with wash water fed from the water feeder 30 to provide a mixture of water and detergent into the water tub 20.

The body 10 is provided at a top thereof with an opening 12 for introduction/discharge of laundry, and a top cover 13 is installed to open or close the opening 12. An operating panel 14 is provided at a front upper portion of the body 10. The operating panel 14 includes a plurality of operating buttons to allow a user to control operation of the washing machine, and a display to display an operating condition of the washing machine.

The water tub 20, in which wash water is received, is installed in the body 10 and in turn, the rotating tub 11 is rotatably installed in the water tub 20. The rotating tub 11 contains a pulsator 16 mounted at the bottom thereof to create a water stream. A drive device (not shown) to rotate the rotating tub 11 and pulsator 16 and a drain device 15 to drain the used wash water are provided below the water tub 20 inside the body 10.

In operation of the above-described washing machine, after laundry is put into the rotating tub 11 and the water tub 20 is filled with wash water containing detergent, the pulsator 16 is repeatedly rotated forwardly and reversely under operation of the drive device (not shown), performing a laundry washing operation.

A laundry rinsing operation is followed by the laundry washing operation. The laundry rinsing operation is performed, in the same pulsator operation as the above-described washing operation, via repetitive feed and drain of water. After the drain device 15 finally drains water from the water tub 20 after completion of the rinsing operation, a laundry dehydrating operation using high-speed rotation of the rotating tub 11 is performed.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the water feeder and detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view showing the configuration of the detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 4 is a view showing alternative embodiments of a detergent receiving portion of a detergent dissolving device according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 5 is a plan sectional view of the detergent feeder according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

The water feeder 30, as shown in FIG. 2, is installed in a rear upper portion of the body 10. The water feeder 30 includes first water feed pipes 31 and 32 extending from water sources, water feed valves 33 and 34 connected to the first water feed pipes 31 and 32 to intermittently open or close the first water feed pipes 31 and 32, and a plurality of second water feed pipes 35 and 36 connected between the water feed valves 33 and 34 and a detergent feeder receptacle 37.

The first water feed pipes 31 and 32 include a hot water feed pipe 31 connected to an external hot water source, and a cold water feed pipe 32 connected to an external cold water source.

The water feed valves 33 and 34 include a hot water feed valve 33 connected to the hot water feed pipe 31, and a cold water feed valve 34 connected to the cold water feed pipe 32. The cold water feed valve 34 is provided with two outlet ports 34a and 34b, to selectively feed cold water through any one of the two outlet ports 34a and 34b via a valve path switching operation.

The detergent feeder 40 includes a liquid detergent container 50 in which liquid detergent is received, and a detergent dissolving device 100 in which powdered detergent is received. The liquid detergent container 50 is adapted to directly feed the liquid detergent into the water tub 20, and the detergent dissolving device 100 performs a dissolving operation of the powdered detergent prior to feeding the powdered detergent into the water tub 20. Both the liquid detergent container 50 and detergent dissolving device 100 are connected with a grip panel 60.

The body 10 of the washing machine is defined with the detergent feeder receptacle 37, which provides a space for installation of the detergent feeder 40. The detergent feeder receptacle 37 is configured to receive the liquid detergent container 50 and detergent dissolving device 100 of the detergent feeder 40.

The detergent feeder receptacle 37 is provided with a plurality of inlet ports 38 and 39, to feed water into the liquid detergent container 50 and detergent dissolving device 100. The plurality of second water feed pipes 35 and 36 is connected between the respective outlet ports 33a, 34a and 34b of the water feed valves 33 and 34 and the respective inlet ports 38 and 39 of the detergent feeder receptacle 37.

Of the plurality of second water feed pipes 35 and 36, the second water feed pipe 35, which is used to feed water into the detergent dissolving device 100, has a Y-shape. Branched end portions of the Y-shaped second water feed pipe 35 are connected to the outlet port 33a of the hot water feed valve 33 and the outlet port 34a of the cold water feed valve 34, respectively, and the other end portion of the second water feed pipe 35 is connected to the inlet port 38 provided at the rear side of the detergent feeder receptacle 37.

The inlet port 38 for the detergent dissolving device 100, provided at the rear side of the detergent feeder receptacle 37, is configured to protrude inward to the detergent feeder receptacle 37 and thus, is connected, upon coupling of the detergent dissolving device 100, to a water feed channel 222 that will be described hereinafter. The protruding inlet port 38 is provided, around the periphery thereof, with a first sealing member 38b to prevent leakage of water through a gap between the inlet port 38 and the water feed channel 222. Further, the inlet port 38 is provided with an anti-separation protrusion 38a to prevent the first sealing member 38b from being separated from the inlet port 38 upon coupling/separation of the detergent feeder 40 (See FIG. 6).

The liquid detergent container 50 has an approximately rectangular box form having an open top and receives liquid detergent therein. The liquid detergent, received in the liquid detergent container 50, is mixed with water, fed through the inlet port 39 for the liquid detergent container 50 provided at the top of the detergent feeder receptacle 37, thereby being fed into the water tub 20.

The detergent dissolving device 100 includes a rectangular powdered detergent box 200 defining a detergent receiving portion 210 in which powdered detergent is received, and a cover 300 to open or close the detergent receiving portion 210, the cover 300 being provided with a water discharge portion 310.

The powdered detergent box 200, as shown in FIG. 3, includes a rectangular box-shaped casing 201 having an open top and bottom, the detergent receiving portion 210 being defined in the casing 201 to receive powdered detergent therein, a water feed portion 220 to feed water in an appropriate flow direction to cause water, introduced into the detergent receiving portion 210, to perform rotating motion within the detergent receiving portion 210, and a flat plane-shaped connecting portion 230 between the top of the detergent receiving portion 210 and an inner surface of the casing 201. The connecting portion 230 is vertically perforated with a plurality of first holes 231.

Although the present embodiment describes a configuration wherein the detergent receiving portion 210 is supported in the powdered detergent box 200 via the flat plane-shaped connecting portion 230, other configurations to support the detergent receiving portion 210 within the powdered detergent box 200 may be used instead of the flat plane-shaped connecting portion 230, or the detergent receiving portion 210 may come into direct contact, at an upper edge thereof, with the inner surface of the casing 201 of the powdered detergent box 200 to thereby be supported by the casing 201 without a separate connecting portion. In the latter direct-contact configuration, although no perforated holes are provided, a clearance is formed between the inner surface of the casing 201 of the rectangular powdered detergent box 200 and the detergent receiving portion 210 having a circular horizontal cross section, allowing wash water, having passed through the detergent receiving portion 210 and cover 300, to be moved into the water tub 20.

The detergent receiving portion 210 defines a detergent receiving space, and may have an approximately circular cross section to assure effective centrifugal rotating motion of water. Of course, other polygonal horizontal cross sections rather than the circular horizontal cross section may be contemplated. In addition, the detergent receiving portion 210 may have a bowl-shape. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 4, the detergent receiving portion 210 may have various shapes, such as for example, a truncated conical shape (FIG. 4A), cylindrical shape (FIG. 4B), and a semi-spherical shape (FIG. 4C).

The detergent receiving portion 210 is provided, at the bottom thereof, with an auxiliary water discharge hole 211, and a first mesh 212 is provided at the auxiliary water discharge hole 211 to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of water.

The first mesh 212 has a smaller lattice size than a particle size of powdered detergent. Accordingly, in the case where powdered detergent is input into the detergent receiving portion 210, there is no risk that the powdered detergent leaks through the auxiliary water discharge hole 211. In the case where no powdered detergent remains in the detergent receiving portion 210, water introduced into the detergent receiving portion 210 is directly guided into the water tub 20 through the auxiliary water discharge hole 211, assuring effective feed of water into the water tub 20.

The water feed portion 220, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, includes a water feed hole 221 provided at a peripheral position of the water receiving portion 210, and the water feed channel 222 disposed in a tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion 210 to eject water, introduced from the second water feed pipe 35, in the tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion 210 through the water feed hole 221.

The water feed hole 221, provided at the peripheral position of the water receiving portion 210, may be opened in a tangential direction with respect to the horizontal cross section of the detergent receiving portion 210.

The water feed channel 222 is connected to the second water feed pipe 35 and serves to guide water, introduced from the second water feed pipe 35, into the detergent receiving portion 210. The water feed channel 222 is located below the connecting portion 230 between a rear surface of the casing 201 and the detergent receiving portion 210.

The water feed channel 222 adjusts a flow direction of a water stream to be introduced into the detergent receiving portion 210 using only water pressure provided by a water source without a separate power source, so as to enable unidirectional rotating motion of the water stream within the detergent receiving portion 210.

To facilitate effective rotating motion of the water stream within the detergent receiving portion 210, the water feed channel 222 is formed as a straight channel defined in the tangential direction of the detergent receiving portion 210 having the circular horizontal cross section. With this configuration, wash water introduced through the water feed channel 222 creates an eddy along an inner periphery of the detergent receiving portion 210, resulting in rotating motion of the water stream.

The cover 300 is hingedly coupled to a rear end of the powdered detergent box 200, to open or close the detergent receiving portion 210 via pivotal rotation thereof. When the drawer type detergent dissolving device 100 is inserted into and mounted in the detergent feeder receptacle 37, the cover 300 is pivotally rotated downward, thereby closing the detergent receiving portion 210. Then, when the detergent feeder 40 is separated from the detergent feeder receptacle 37, the cover 300 is pivotally rotated upward, thereby opening the water receiving portion 210.

For this, the cover 300 is provided at both ends of one side thereof with hinges 340, and the powdered detergent box 200 is provided at opposite lateral sides thereof with hinge recesses 202 to correspond to the respective hinges 340. Accordingly, as the hinges 340 of the cover 300 are inserted into the hinge recesses 202 of the powdered detergent box 200, the cover 300 is pivotally rotatably coupled to the powdered detergent box 200. Although the present embodiment describes that the cover has hinges and the powdered detergent box has hinge recesses, it will be appreciated that the powdered detergent box may have hinges and the cover may have hinge recesses.

Each of the hinges 340 is provided with an elastic member 350 in the form of a torsion spring. The elastic member 350 is inserted around the hinge 340 in such a manner that one end of the elastic member 350 is supported by the powdered detergent box 200 and the other end is supported by the cover 300. In this way, the elastic member 350 acts to press the cover 300 so as to open the detergent receiving portion 210.

With the above-described configuration, when the detergent dissolving device 100 is inserted into the detergent feeder receptacle 37, insertion of the detergent dissolving device 100 is guided by the detergent feeder receptacle 37 such that the elastic member 350 is elastically deformed, causing the cover 300 to be pivotally rotated downward so as to close the detergent receiving portion 210.

When the detergent dissolving device 100 is separated from the detergent feeder receptacle 37, the elastic member 350 is elastically restored, causing the cover 300 to be pivotally rotated upward so as to open the detergent receiving portion 210.

In addition to the above-described manner, any other methods to close the detergent receiving portion 210 using the cover 300 are possible. For example, fasteners, such as hooks, etc., may be provided at both the cover 300 and the powdered detergent box 200, to allow the cover 300 to open or close the detergent receiving portion 210 regardless of insertion or separation of the detergent dissolving device 100 into or from the detergent feeder receptacle 37. In this case, the elastic members 350 provided at the hinges 340 of the cover 300 may be omitted.

Alternatively, the cover may be previously fabricated as a discrete member separable from the detergent receiving portion, and then, is able to be coupled to or separated from the detergent receiving portion as it is needed.

The cover 300 includes the water discharge portion 310 to discharge water out of the detergent receiving portion 210 in a state wherein the cover 300 closes the detergent receiving portion 210. The cover 300 is provided with a second sealing member 320 to prevent the water received in the detergent receiving portion 210 from leaking through a gap between the detergent receiving portion 210 and the cover 300 in a state wherein the cover 300 closes the detergent receiving portion 210. In addition, to guide the water, discharged out of the detergent receiving portion 210 through the water discharge portion 310, toward the water tub 20, the cover 300 has second holes 330 in communication with the first holes 231.

The water discharge portion 310 includes a water discharge hole 311 and a water discharge channel 312 extending from the water discharge hole 311. The water discharge hole 311 is located approximately at the center axis of the detergent receiving portion 210, i.e. at the center axis of the water stream performing rotating motion within the detergent receiving portion 210. In the present embodiment, the water discharge hole 311 is located inside the detergent receiving portion 210 and the water discharge channel 312 extends upward from the water discharge hole 311 to the cover 300. Of course, it will be appreciated that the water discharge hole 311 may be located at other various positions inside the detergent receiving portion 210 on the center axis of the detergent receiving portion 210, and that the water discharge hole 311 may be perforated in the cover 300 without the water discharge channel.

The water discharge hole 311 or the water discharge channel 312 is provided with a second mesh 313 having a predetermined lattice size suitable to prevent passage of powdered detergent while allowing passage of water.

The second sealing member 320 may be provided around an upper rim of the detergent receiving portion 210, or at a lower surface of the cover 300, to seal a gap between the cover 300 and the rim of the detergent receiving portion 210 in a closed state of the cover 300. The present embodiment describes an example wherein the second sealing member 320 is provided at the lower surface of the cover 300.

The second sealing member 320 is formed of an annular rubber member having a predetermined thickness, and is inserted around the water discharge channel 312 while being fixed to the lower surface of the cover 300.

Hereinafter, a water feed operation of the washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention will be described.

FIG. 6 is a view showing an input operation of powdered detergent in the washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and FIGS. 7 and 8 are views showing an operation of the detergent dissolving device in the washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 6, the user is able to slidably pull the detergent feeder 40 out of the detergent feeder receptacle 37 and then, put powdered detergent into the detergent receiving portion 210 of the detergent dissolving device 100 to initiate washing of laundry.

If the detergent feeder 40 is inserted into the detergent feeder receptacle 37 after input of the powdered detergent into the detergent receiving portion 210, the cover 300 is pivotally rotated downward such that the second sealing member 320 of the cover 300 seals the rim of the detergent receiving portion 210. In a completely inserted position of the detergent feeder 40, the inlet port 38 of the water feeder 30 is fitted into the water feed channel 222 of the water dissolving device 100.

Thereafter, if the water feed valves 33 and 34 are opened, as shown in FIG. 7, water is fed in the tangential direction of the circular cross sectional detergent receiving portion 210 through the inlet port 38 and water feed channel 222. With the arrangement of the detergent receiving portion 210 and water feed channel 222, the water, fed into the detergent receiving portion 210, creates an eddy, performing rotating motion within the detergent receiving portion 210.

The rotating water stream (water eddy) facilitates effective dissolution of powdered detergent. Moreover, the undissolved powdered detergent collides with the inner periphery of the detergent receiving portion under the influence of centrifugal force, thereby being moved downward.

Simultaneous with the dissolution of powdered detergent, the wash water containing the dissolved detergent is discharged out of the detergent receiving portion 210 through the water discharge hole 311 provided at the top of the center axis of the rotating water stream. Although the wash water to be discharged through the water discharge hole 311 may contain some of the powdered detergent, the second mesh 313 provided at the water discharge hole 311 filters the powdered detergent, allowing only the wash water containing dissolved detergent to be discharged.

The wash water, discharged through the water discharge hole 310, is moved downward to the bottom of the detergent feeder receptacle 37 by way of the second holes 330 of the cover 300 and the first holes 231 in communication with the second holes 330, thereby being fed into the water tub 20.

If the above-described operation is repeated until the entirety of the powdered detergent in the detergent receiving portion 210 is dissolved, as shown in FIG. 8, the water is also able to be discharged through the auxiliary water discharge hole 211 that was clogged by the powdered detergent.

Accordingly, the above-described exemplary embodiment can facilitate dissolution of the powdered detergent by creating the eddy of water stream in the detergent receiving portion 210 using only water pressure of a water source without a separate device, and also, can feed only wash water, in which powdered detergent is completely dissolved, into the water tub 20 by discharging the wash water through the water discharge hole 311 at the top of the center axis of the rotating water stream.

Further, completely dissolving the powdered detergent received in the detergent receiving portion 210 prior to feeding the detergent into the water tub 20 can prevent generation of any powdered detergent residue in the detergent receiving portion 210.

As a result, no powdered detergent remains in the detergent receiving portion 210 when water is fed for a rinsing operation, and therefore, pure water containing no detergent can be fed into the water tub 20, assuring improved rinsing effects. In this case, the water is fed into the water tub 20 through the auxiliary water discharge hole 211.

As is apparent from the above description, a detergent dissolving device for a washing machine according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention is configured in such a manner that water, fed into a detergent receiving portion of the detergent dissolving device is guided to perform rotating motion in the detergent receiving portion. This configuration has the effects of enhancing solubility of powdered detergent therein and preventing the powdered detergent from remaining in the detergent receiving portion.

Further, a water discharge hole of the detergent dissolving device is positioned at the top of a center axis of the rotating water stream, preventing the powdered detergent from being fed into a water tub in an incompletely dissolved state.

Although an embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in this embodiment without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.