Washing Machine Capacity Explained

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Doing the washing is not the most exciting task of the week but whether you like it or not, you can’t avoid it. Uniforms need to be cleaned, shirts need to be ready for work and no one enjoys smelly socks. But if you’re run off your feet and need to get everything ready for the morning, it pays to know how much your washing machine can handle. So, if you’re trying to figure out how much clothing you can fit in one load, you’ve come to the right place.

How to correctly load a washing machine

The first thing to do is to identify how big your washing machine is. Most units will state the washer size on the unit, ranging anywhere between 5kg to 16kg, with the most common load size being around 7kg. Once you have determined what size your unit is, ensure to distribute items loosely and evenly inside the drum. Clothes need space for laundry detergent to soak in and do its job.

  • For a front load washing machine, manufacturers recommend not going above the last row of holes closest to the door.
  • For a top loader, it’s suggested not to fill the tub more than three-quarters full, even if you have a large load.

How much do clothes weigh?

Capacity is measured by the weight of dry laundry. When referring to dryer capacity, this is measured by the weight of damp clothing. So, it’s important to not confuse the two when it comes to getting your clothes ready for the week, as you may end up walking out the door with wet clothes.

Based on information from Appliances Online, 1kg of washing roughly equals to five shirts, or two bath towels, or one full outfit. As a general guide this includes:

Wash Capacity Shirts Bedding
6kg 30 shirts 1 single doona
7kg 35 shirts 1 single doona
8kg 40 shirts 1 double doona
9kg 45 shirts 1 queen doona
10kg 50 shirts 1 king doona

General Guide Only

From the rough estimates above, you can expect to fit around 35 shirts into your average 7kg washing machine. That being said, it’s important to not overload your washing machine because garments may end up wrinkled or only partially cleaned, meaning you’ll have to put another load on!

Load size recommendations

The total capacity of the unit doesn’t mean the full amount can be washed with every cycle. For each wash cycle there are also recommendations on the load size:

  • Regular load: fills the drum up to about half full with water.
  • Large load: fills the drum up to about three-quarters full with water.
  • Extra-large load: fills the drum completely with water.

How to avoid overloading your washing machine

Ensure you leave space for water to circulate for an effective clean. If you overload your washing machine, it’s possible for the unit to go off balance during the spin cycle, increase noise levels as well as potentially damage the motor by overworking to counter the increased clothing load. The wastewater can also potentially leak through and not drain correctly, with overloading a top loader also potentially damaging your clothes through the agitator. This is due to the fact that the lack of space gives rise to the issue of clothes getting pulled and tangled during the cycle, meaning your favourite shirt or jumper may not make it.

Thankfully, most washing machines now come equipped with a load sensor, meaning your machine will let you know if you’re looking to wash too much in one go, with some models additionally using sensors to judge how much water to use during each wash to cut down on machine or clothing damage.

Ultimately, determining what’s too bulky for your washer will be up to your judgement. But as a general guide, if one item fills your tub to more than three quarters, it may be too big for the unit. In this case, you may need to duck into your local laundromat, or keep an eye out for the load size if you’re looking to potentially upgrade your laundry.

Washing Machine Reviews

Picture credits: Evgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock.com, Rocksweeper/shutterstock.com, NoonBuSin/shutterstock.com

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