Washing machine capacity guide

Cramming clothes into your washing machine? Get the right drum size.

18 Aug 2021

Is overloading your washing machine really that bad?

We all have those Sunday nights when you realised you’ve let the laundry schedule slip and now you don’t have anything clean for tomorrow. But overfilling your washing machine can be a bad idea. Why?

 

Your laundry won’t clean properly

If there isn’t enough room for the clothes to move around, the machine won’t be able to wash them as thoroughly. Plus, your detergent may not be able to move around properly – leaving some of your wash smelling of detergent and some smelling as bad as it did when it was in the laundry basket. Yuck!

 

Overloading the machine could damage it

Your load may not feel too heavy when it goes into the machine, but just imagine how heavy it will be once it’s soaking wet. Too much weight can unbalance the machine and affect its performance over time. Another reason not to cram.

So, what size washing machine do you actually need? Take a look at our handy guide below to help you understand how much weight your machine can handle...

too much laundry

Choosing the right drum size

When you’re on the lookout for a new washing machine, always bear in mind that drum sizes are measured in weight of dry clothes.

The most common sizes are between 7 and 8kg. These are ideal for average family-sized loads, but what you need will depend on what you’re washing and how often you’re washing it.

 

Small drum (up to 6 kg)

6kg washing machine

How much will it wash?

As a guide, one load can handle 5 small towels and 6 lightweight tops. Or 2 pairs of jean, a jumper and 10 pairs of socks or underwear. Or 2 bedsheets and 2 pillowcases.

 

Who is it right for?

If you’re washing for one and you’re doing 4 loads or less a week, this is about perfect. Plus, smaller washing machines generally mean faster cycles. Great if you’re heading out for the night and you want your fave clothes cleaned in a flash.

 

Standard drum (7 kg)

7 kg washing machine

How much will it wash?

In one load, you could expect to do 5 small towels and 10 lightweight tops. Or 4 pairs of jeans, a jumper and 20 pairs of socks or underwear. Or 2 bedsheets and 4 pillowcases.

 

Who is right for?

If you’re in a couple or have a flatmate or two, this will be a great size for you. Or you may just be on your own and love your workouts! Either way, it’s a good size if you’re doing 4-6 loads a week.

 

Large drum (8 kg)

8kg washing machine

How much will it wash?

Expect it to be able to take on 6 small towels and 12 lightweight tops. Or 5 pairs of jeans, a jumper and 22 pairs of socks or underwear. Or go with 2 bedsheets, a duvet cover and 2 pillowcases.

 

Who is right for?

This is great for a small family who need to do 4-6 washes a week. A larger drum size is also great if you want to tackle bedding in one go. Plus, the more you wash at once, the less wear and tear on the washing machine – which will extend the life of your machine.

 

Extra-large drum (10 kg+)

10kg washing machine

How much will it wash?

In one load, you can do 8 small towels and 15 lightweight tops. Or 5 pairs of jeans, 2 jumpers and 30 pairs of socks or underwear. Or 3 bedsheets, a duvet cover and 4 pillowcases.

Who is right for?

This is great for a large family who are super active (or even a small hotel!) who need to do 6 or more washes a week. Plus, an extra-large drum size will save you energy and money if you can do larger loads and fewer washes.

 

What else should I think about?

 

Washing time

Washing machines with an extra-large drum size can take up to twice as long as smaller drums – basically because they have more to wash. So if you’d rather wash in a rush, it’s definitely something to think about.

 

Cost per wash

Larger washing machines can use 10% less energy per wash than smaller washing machines. At the same time, you’ll probably have to pay more than a smaller model – so it’s worth thinking about that when you’re working out what works.

 

How much space do you have?

Drum sizes will only affect the depth of your washing machine, not the width or height. So, if you want to get a larger machine into a cabinet space, it will fit but might stick out a bit.

 

Need more help?

You’re in luck! Our washing machine buying guide is loaded with helpful advice.

 

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