At some point or another, we’ve all overloaded the washing machine. We all have our reasons. Perhaps we’re short on time, or we desperately need all our beach towels washed in preparation for a summer holiday. Whatever your reasoning, it doesn’t justify damaging your washer.

For a start, overloading your appliance could damage your machine’s drum and decrease your washer’s efficiency. In the end, clothes won’t come out as clean, either, so a second wash may be necessary. This all adds up to increased electrical consumption and higher energy bills. In short, it’s worth planning ahead and doing your laundry in properly proportioned batches.

Managing loads so that they’re appropriately sized according to your washer’s capacity will ensure proper circulation of detergent. Ultimately, your clothes will come out cleaner - your whites will be brighter, and stains’ appearance will be drastically reduced. To get the perfect load every time, weigh it before popping it in the wash. A lightweight mesh bag will help with this task.

Refer to your appliance’s owner’s manual to determine the maximum capacity of your washing machine. On average, most machines can handle about seven kilograms, or about a stone of laundry.

Why is load size important?

In order to get your clothes well and truly clean, avoid overloading your washer at all costs. Jam-packed washers won’t have enough spare room to allow detergent to move around throughout the drum of your machine. As such, some stains will be targeted while others will remain untouched. Uneven washing could make your clothes look splotchy, and leave detergent residues on some articles of clothing. Furthermore, white streaks could appear as a result of over-bleaching. In short, proper wash loads will ensure both your clothes and your washing machine stay in good condition and last for years to come.

What happens if you overload your machine?

When you overload your washing machine, you put extra strain on your appliance. Because everything’s rammed into the drum, clothes won’t be free to move around and get evenly clean.

In addition, an excessively heavy load will put stress on the bearings of your machine, which in turn could cause premature appliance failure.

In extreme cases, clothes may become lodged between the door seal and the inner drum of the machine, which may tear or permanently damage your clothes.

Furthermore, a normal dose of detergent won’t be enough to effectively clean a massive washing load. That means your dirty laundry will stay dirty, ultimately costing you more time and energy to get a wardrobe full of fresh attire.

Underloading isn’t ideal, either

Conversely, underloading your washing machine will cause problems, too. You’ll waste energy, detergent and time. On top of that, you might be driven a little insane by the thumping sound your washer will make. An undersized load will put your appliance off-balance during the spin cycle.

Find the perfect balance by throwing your laundry in a mesh laundry bag or feather light 100-litre bin bag and popping it on the scale. Refer back to your owner’s manual to ensure your load is well within the optimal weight range, then fill the drum evenly so the load will stay balanced throughout the cycle. Once you’ve mastered the skill, you’ll end up with a batch of evenly washed, sparkling clean laundry.

© Axonn 2015