Overloaded washing machine
Washing Machines
5 min. read

Your Guide to Washing Machine Capacity

The question of ‘washing machine capacity’ has long-confused many homeowners. What does that kilogram capacity figure mean or equate to? And what can happen if you overload your washing machine or dryer?

In this handy guide, we guide you through washing machine capacity and how to interpret it, so you can make an informed purchase to suit your needs – or, so you can use your current machine more efficiently.

What is washing machine capacity?

Simply put, the washing machine capacity is the amount of laundry that a machine can safely wash in one load. It is often expressed in units of kilograms (kgs), and will vary from machine to machine. It will also often appear to the eye to be less than the drum’s capacity, but this is to ensure the clothing has plenty of room to maneuver around inside the drum, which is vital for a thorough clean.

Does the washing machine capacity refer to wet or dry laundry?

Obviously, clothing gets heavier when it’s wetter. Don’t fret, though, as the manufacturer’s calculations have taken this factor into account when recommending capacity. Therefore, the washing machine capacity in kilograms will refer to the weight of the dry laundry.

Is a bigger washing machine capacity always better?

The size of drum you opt for will depend entirely on the demands of your household and its occupants. If you have a large family, then you may find that a larger drum is more efficient, enabling you to clean more clothes in fewer cycles. However, if only one or two people use the machine, then a machine with large capacity may result in a waste of water and energy.

What happens if I overload my washing machine?

Overloaded washing machine

Overloading a washing machine could mean that your clothes don’t wash properly, as they are relying on that extra space to move around. Also, consistently overloading a washing machine and leaving it to cope with excess weight can break the drum or damage it over the course of its life. To avoid overloading a washing machine, you should be able to comfortably insert a hand into the top of the drum, which roughly translates to leaving a 10cm gap at the top of the drum.

Does it matter if I underload my washing machine?

Most washing machines will utilise the same amount of water and energy for a single sock as it will for an entire load. While this is an extreme comparison, essentially, if you underload a washing machine you are wasting water, detergent, electricity, and money. Another fact to consider when underloading is weight distribution and the ability that modern washing machines have to “protect” themselves. When underloading with 1 or 2 large items e.g. big towel, 1 duvet etc. you end up with a 1 heavy load which can’t be evenly distributed in the drum and the machine more often than not, will NOT engage in final/fast spin.

odd socks in laundry basket - underloading your washing machine

How much laundry makes up 1kg?

Since the capacity is measured in kg, you may be wondering how much laundry 1kg equates to. Obviously nobody will be expected to count their laundry sock-by-sock, but there are a few ways to get a rough estimate. You could try using bathroom scales, or alternatively, go by the general rule that 1kg is equivalent to a pair of jeans and a shirt, or around 5 shirts, and interpret from there.

How much laundry makes up 5kgs?

Depending on the person, a 5kg drum should be enough space to accommodate the laundry of an individual person or maybe even a couple. However, you may want to opt for a slightly larger drum of 6kg if you’re washing bulkier items such as large duvets or curtains.

How much laundry makes up 7kgs?

7 kg gives you a larger capacity than the smaller models, yet it still isn’t the biggest on offer. These drum sizes are therefore ideal for smaller families.

How much laundry makes up 10kgs?

If you have a large family who get through clothes at an impressive rate, then a 10kg drum is the most efficient option for you – a 10kg drum can wash the equivalent of 50 t-shirts or an entire king size duvet.

Anything else?

Bear in mind that volume is different to weight – this is worth noting when washing something particularly bulky or absorbent like duvets. These may need to be washed on their own and using a specific bedding cycle.

Keep your washing machine in top working order with award-winning help from Domex. We’re a trusted kitchen appliance repair company with a strong reputation across London, Epsom, Brighton and Guildford. We offer a one-year guarantee on all parts to ensure you receive a quality service every time. Please feel free to get in touch with our experts to discuss your issue.

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