Every washing machine has a maximum loading capacity outlined by its manufacturers. However, it might appear that top loader users easily flout these rules without any noticeable consequences.
So as a front load user, you might wonder: can you fit more clothes in a front load washer?
Attempting to load your washing machine, whether front or top loader, beyond its recommended capacity is harmful to the washing machine. Many common problems faced by washing machines users are, directly or indirectly, related to overloading them.
A universal rule is: It is never a good idea to exceed manufacturer’s set limitations.
Let us see some problems that can result from adding more load to your front load washer.
What happens if you overfill a front loader washer?
Overloading your washing machine might seem like a smart way to wash more clothes faster. But the disadvantages supercedes any short term gain.
Here are some of them:
- Washer imbalance
- Poor clothes wash quality
- It can cause rips and tears
- Water leakage
Excessive vibration, noisy machine during operations, this are all signs of washing machine imbalance.
But do you know that one major cause of washer imbalance is overloading?
Yes you heard it right. Overloading your machine can result in washer imbalance, which in turn, can cause the aforementioned symptoms.
Probably you’ve experienced these symptoms before. So now, when next they happen, check your laundry load first, to be sure you’ve not overloaded the hardworking appliance, before calling a technician.
Poor clothes’ wash quality
For clothes to wash properly in a washer, there must be space for the clothes to move about in the washer, to scrub against each other and the agitator (in a top loader).
This movement is restricted when you pack too much clothes into the washer. Which in turn will prevent proper washing, and as a result, less cleaner clothes.
Rips and tears
Clothes fabrics have varying strength. Some tear easily when they experience stress.
If your washer is overloaded, clothes tend to rub against the washer door and door seal. This can cause clothes to rip, threads to pull or even an outright tear.
Water leakage is caused when your machine door is not properly sealed.
Overloading can prevent the door from proper sealing.
On the one hand an overloaded drum will prevent the door from closing properly.
When it does close, you’ll have to deal with clothes getting tangled between the door seal. This is a major cause of leakage.
Why people overload their washers
People who over load their washer do not hope to damage anything. In fact the opposite is the case. They are often trying to save up on some things, such as:
- To save time
- To reduce cost
- It just seem like the smart thing to do.
On average it take about 45 – 60 minutes to complete one wash cycle. But what if you have to wash a full load, but still have 2 pair of pants remaining.
You will have to spend twice that time in order to wash the extra pair of clothes.
It only makes some common sense so simply shove it in at any cost, so as to save that extra time.
The amount of electricity it takes to wash 50 shirts, is what you’ll spend to wash 5 shirts.
Washing machines are bad businessmen, they don’t offer discount service.
A person might be tempted to overfill his washer to cut down on electricity bills.
It just seem like the smart thing to do
How many of us have never attempted to prove smart only to end up wasting more time, money and effort.
Well, I’m notoriously guilty (that’s why I quickly remember this reason).
Well, from a layman’s point of view, overloading your washing machine is just the smart thing to do. After all, the machine never complains, neither will it stop working because it disagrees with our loading style.
As crazy as this might sound, the result is even crazier: we end up proving how naive and shortsighted we are.
And maybe some of know it’s counterintuitive, but we still do it anyway.
How full should a front load washer be?
This depend on the washing machine capacity.
A general rule of thumb is the 85% – 90% fill capacity.
This rule says you should not fill your washing machine beyond 90% of its loading capacity.
It suggests leaving a headroom of 10% – 15%.
The benefit of this rule is that you are able to maximize its usage without the fear of over-working your appliance.
Lets say for example, you have an 8kg front load washing machine. The rule suggest that you should not exceed 90% of the 8kg capacity.
This will fix our maximum loading capacity to the range of between 6.8kg – 7.2kg cloth weight.
If you decide to use the maximum loading capacity when washing, in this case to fix 8kg load of laundry in your 8kg washing machine, you stand a risk of overloading the washing in error.
Plus it will mean that the washing machine is always running at its peak strength, which increasing wear and tear of motor enjoy.
How much load should my front loader carry in terms of cloth quantity
After doing much research on washing machine load capacity, I’ve discovered different rule that can be used by those without a weight scale to measure your laundry weight.
The 5 shirts per kg rule
The rule is: 5 shirts for every kilogram of washer capacity.
When asked how many clothes can be washed at a time in a 10kg Panasonic washing machine, he said : 50.
Going by this rule, you can wash 40 shirts max in an 8kg washing machine.
35 shirts in a 7kg washer, and the list goes on.
simply multiply your washing machine capacity by 5 and you should have the required number of shirt to go into your washer at a time.
Manufacturers load recommendation
Some washing machines’ user guide contains cloth recommendation for their washing machines.
Here is a screenshot of one such guide
The user guide of the … washing machine contains recommended washer load capacity.
My clothes are more than the loading capacity – What should I do?
What should you do, if after measurement, you realize that you have one or two shirts in excess of the required weight?
That is the beauty of the 85% – 90% rule. If you have one or two shirts remaining after measurement the required weight capacity, you have 3 options:
- Split your clothes in 2 and wash them in two rounds.
- Add the extra clothes, as you’ll still be withing the 15% headroom. Or
- Wash the extra one or two shirts by hand.
the beauty of this is you will hardly overload your machine. And even when you run your machine at its maximum capacity by adding the extra clothes, the machine will be able to handle the occasional stress.
But if adding the extra clothes will exceed the stated washer capacity, it is best you split your washer in two and run to separate wash cycles.
This will be good, not just for your machine, but also for your clothes fabrics, especially the delicate ones.
How to know if you overload a washing machine
Just like all mechanical appliances, a washing machine will show signs that is is overloaded. You just need to watch out for them.
- Water leakage
This is one common proof of overloading. overloaded drum can prevent the door from closing properly.
in lack of space in a washing machine can temper with the door seal. Clothes can get stuck between the door seal. This in turn will result in water leakage.
- No suds
Suds is just a big word for “frost” “foam” or “soap bubble”. An overloaded drum will cause a washing machine to produce little or no suds. Of course, this does not happen in all models. But if yours does not produce suds during wash cycles, and your clothes are not highly soiled or dirty, they you’re probably dealing with an overloaded washing machine.
It can be tempting to wash more clothes at a time.
In the short term benefits are not always worth the price paid.
Even it is inconveniencing to wash two rounds just because of 2 or 3 extra garments, it is worth the time and effort spent. Plus you still have the choice of keeping these clothes till your next washing schedule.
However the danger done to your clothes and fabrics might never be accounted for or might be too expensive to cover.
For more information on the maximum and minimum laundry load to wash at a time, read more on the articles below.