Washing Machine Load Capacity Guide

Knowing how much (or how little) to put in your washing machine is tricky. Especially when everyone seems to have a different opinion.

Today, we’re going to clear up all the myths and give you straightforward answers with our ultimate washing machine capacity guide!

Put simply, understanding the drum capacity of your washer is key. This way, you can simply weigh your laundry items and fill it up to the limit every time.

But this isn’t an easy feat. Imagine weighing each sock? Who’s got that much time? Don’t worry, there are faster methods.

Let’s have a closer look.

Is Overloading a Washing Machine Actually Bad?

As soon as you saw this article, you might well have thought “but is it seriously bad to overload my washing machine?”.

Let’s get this out of the way first as it’s a pretty fair (and common) question. After all, you want to use up all its space!

We can’t deny that it’s tempting to fill your washer’s drum to the brim. However, this isn’t such a good idea.

Firstly, your clothes won’t be cleaned properly. When you pack it full, the fabric can’t move around the drum.

This results in poorly washed clothes and possibly even more stains if one pair of muddied shorts rubs onto a t-shirt for the whole cycle.

Secondly, it might cause drainage problems. How? Because if there are loads of clothes blocking the channels, the water won’t be able to drain.

This can even lead to floods which are not fun.

The most important reason, however, is because it could cause harm to your machine (which will cost you a lot of money to fix).

When you put all your items in, it might not feel very heavy. But, when they’re sopping wet, everything becomes extremely heavy.

This results in an unbalance and will greatly impact your machine’s performance.

Interestingly, Underfilling Can Be Bad Too

When it comes to washing machines, ensuring the load is “just right” is essential. Yup, they’re basically Goldilocks and can be rather temperamental.

Underfilling can be just as much of a problem as overfilling. Why? Let’s find out.

When you put a small load in your washer, it creates an imbalance in the spin cycle.

In this case, all your clothes will clump together on one side of the drum. This is where that loud, irritating sound comes from.

Depending on the washing machine you have, underfilling it may cause it to simply not spin

Finally, there’s the cost factor. You are paying a load of money every time you underfill your washing machines.

Not to mention that you’ve wasted your time, detergent, and energy too. The trick is to simply wait until you have enough items to fill the drum correctly.

How Do I Determine the Capacity of My Washing Machine?

Alright, now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. If you’re good at maths, you’ll probably love this section as we’re going to be calculating the volume.

Sorry to all you lovely folk who think pie is just something you eat (we wish it was)!

The Formula

The formula for calculating your washing machine’s capacity is as follows:

(pi) (r squared) (D)

The values for each of these are:

  • Pi = 3.14
  • r = diameter divided by 2 (we’re going to look at how to measure this on your washer in a moment)
  • D = depth (i.e. the height of the cylinder)

How to Calculate the Capacity Using the Formula

Quick note: Make sure you measure everything in feet. Right, let’s get straight into the step-by-step.

Step One: Find the Radius of The Drum

Measure straight across the front of the drum. This will be the diameter. Then, divide that measurement by 2, and hey, presto, you’ve found the radius!

Step Two: Square the Radius

All you have to do here is to multiply the radius by the radius.

Step Three: Multiply by Pi

Now, take the radius squared and multiply it by pi. You could get really specific with this but there’s no need. Just multiply it by 3.14.

Step Four: Multiply by the Depth

To find the depth of your drum, just measure the height of the cylinder. Then, multiply step three’s answer by the depth. This is the volume capacity of your washing machine in cubic feet.

How Many Clothes Can Go In a 7-kg Washer?

We could spend ages trying to explain just how many clothes can go in a 7-kg washer. But, we don’t want to bore you.

So, instead, we’ll make a handy-dandy quick-glance table that you can easily refer to when you’re about to throw stuff in the washing machine.

For those of you who don’t have a 7-kg washer (i.e. the standard size), you’ll benefit from this table too as we’re going to look at 6-kg to 10-kg drums.

 6kg Small Drum7kg Standard Drum9kg Large Drum10kg Extra Large Drum
No. T-shirts6101215
No. Trousers or Jeans2455
No. Socks or Underwear10202230
No. Towels (small, hand towels)5568
No. Bedsheets or Tablecloths22 (or 1 duvet cover)2 (or 1 duvet cover)3
No. Pillowcases or Sweatshirts2 (or 1 sweatshirt)2 (or 1 sweatshirt)2 (or 1 sweatshirt)4

It’s important to remember that the load capacity is measured by the weight of dry clothes. So, instead of just following the maximum number of items here.

You need to pay more attention to the number of specific items you can put in at once.

Okay, So How Many Towels Can I Wash In One Load?

The short answer to this question is “have a look at the table”. However, it wouldn’t be the ultimate guide if we didn’t talk about how to calculate your laundry load size yourself.

How to Calculate the Laundry Load Size Yourself

It’s really tricky to do this since you’d have to weigh each item of clothing to be 100% accurate. The cheat sheet below is how we suggest you calculate your load:

  • An extra-large button down shirt = 0.5 lbs (0.23 kg)
  • A sweatshirt = 1 lb (0.5 kg)
  • A full bedsheet = 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
  • A big towel or jeans (medium size) = 1.6 lbs (0.7 kg)

This is really only for those of you who want to be a tad more specific than the quick-glance table we showed you earlier!

What Size Washer Do You Need to Wash a King-Size Comforter?

To wash a king-size comforter, you need a 9-kg washing machine. Although, bear in mind that this will fit a medium king-size comforter.

If yours is a heavy-weight version, you will need to buy (or use) a 10-kg washing machine.

If you have an 8-kg washing machine, you can only fit a queen-size comforter inside.

Likewise, a double-size comforter will fit in a 7-kg washing machine!

Your Family Size VS Your Washer

Family size is one of the most important factors that come (or should come) into play when figuring out the washing machine size you need.

As you might already imagine, the bigger the family, the bigger the washer.

Let’s get into the specifics, shall we?

What Size Washing Machine Do I Need For a Family of 3?

If you’re a family of 3, you should aim to buy a 7-kg washing machine. This is the standard size so it won’t be hard to find.

There are plenty of models to choose from as well so have fun finding the perfect one for you!

What Size Washer Do I Need For a Family of 4?

For a family of 4, a 7- to 8-kg washing machine should suffice. However, it does depend on the items you’re planning to regularly wash.

Why? Because the heavier the clothes or bed sheets are, the bigger your drum capacity needs to be.

What Size Washing Machine Do I Need For a Family of 7?

As a family of 7, you will be classed as a “very large family” in the washing machine world.

Because of this, you need to purchase either an 11- or 12-kg washing machine.

Of course, this will cost more but it will actually end up saving you money in the long run.

Use This Table as a General Guide

Drum SizeThe Best House Size
5kgA single person
6kgA couple
7kgA small family (i.e. a family of 3)
8kgA medium family (i.e. a family of 4)
9kgA large family (i.e. a family of 5 or 6)
10kgA large family (i.e. a family of 5 or 6)
11kgA very large family (i.e. a family of 7 and over)
12kgA very large family (i.e. a family of 7 and over)

There You Have It!

You can call yourself a washing machine capacity expert now! You’ll be the envy of all your friends, we can guarantee it.

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