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Laundry load size

Washer with a stack of clothes

While the washing machine tub capacity is measured in cubic feet, you also have to consider the weight of the load you're washing. Small, heavy items can overload your washer as much as big, lightweight ones. Since overloading your washer will reduce cleaning performance and potentially cause other issues as well, you want to make sure you're doing it right. Our guide explains how.

Loading your washer

Determining how much weight the washer can handle is still based on its capacity in cubic feet. Although you're welcome to weigh your laundry to get an exact value, you can also estimate it. Bath towels are about 1.5 pounds each, a full-size bed sheet is about 1.25 pounds, a large sweatshirt is about 1 pound, and extra large t-shirts are about half a pound each.

Make sure you're not packing the laundry down. The clothes should be in a very loose pile. If you have to push the laundry down to make room for more, you are overloading the washer. Comforters and blankets should fit snug, never cramped.

  • A small load of laundry is approximately 1 pound of laundry per cubic foot of the washer's capacity or when the tub is 1/3 full.

  • A medium load of laundry is approximately 2 pounds of laundry per cubic foot of the washer's capacity or when the tub is 1/2 full.

  • A large load of laundry is approximately 3 pounds of laundry per cubic foot of the washer's capacity or when the tub is 3/4 full.

For instance, a washer with 4.0 cubic feet capacity would consider a 4 pound load small, an 8 pound load medium, and a 12 pound load large.

Note: The minimum recommended weight for the washer is 3 pounds. Machine washable wool items should be limited to 4.4 pounds or less. Comforters and blankets should be limited to 6.6 pounds or less.

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