Can You Break Washing Machine by Overloading It

Can You Break a Washing Machine by Overloading It?

At some point or another, most of us have found ourselves shoving about twice the amount of washing into the drum than is recommended. 

Washing clothes is a never-ending job, especially for larger, or more active households, so the temptation to do double the washing in half the time is completely understandable! 

Is it really a deal?! 

Yes, it turns out that you can damage your washing machine by overloading it. If it’s something that you are in the habit of doing – stop! 

As well as damaging your washing machine, it can also reduce efficiency as your machine won’t be able to wash your clothes properly. 

So, the time you thought you’d saved by throwing a huge load in, actually comes back to bite you, as you’ll probably have to rewash your clothes and potentially invest in a new machine altogether! 

Loading Your Machine Correctly

Loading Your Machine Correctly

It might seem a bit of a faff, but it’s actually worthwhile working out loads based on the capacity of your washer. This will maintain wash efficiency, ensure good circulation of detergent, and produce sparkling clean results! 

A pro tip is to weigh your load prewash. Just work out the weight of a perfect load (outlined below) and use a lightweight mesh bag to hold the load in place on the scales. 

Another tip is to evenly spread larger items, such as bed sheets, around the drum, so that the weight is distributed evenly.

Generally, it’s best to refer to the appliance manual to find the maximum capacity of the washing machine. 

However, if you can’t for the life of you remember where you’ve put your owner’s manual – make sure that there is about a 10 cm gap between the top of your load (once it’s in the machine) and the top of the drum. Most machines are designed to handle roughly 7 kg of laundry.

Here is a rough guide of what various drum sizes can manage:

  • 6 kg: 5 hand towels, 6 t-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 jumper, 10 pairs of socks or underwear, 2 bed sheets
  • 7 kg: 5 hand towels, 10 t-shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 1 jumper, 20 pairs of socks or underwear, 2 bed sheets
  • 10 kg: 8 hand towels, 15 t-shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 jumpers, 30 pairs of socks or underwear, 3 bed sheets

It’s also handy to bear in mind that there is a difference between weight and volume! It might sound stupid, but 3 kg of t-shirts won’t take up the same amount of space as 3 kg of jeans.


Why Is Overloading Your Washing Machine So Bad?

washing machine overload

For a start, overloading your washing machine means that the detergent won’t have space to evenly move around and wash your clothes evenly. 

Plus, if the drum is jam-packed, water might not even reach the clothes packed into the middle, and you will lose the mechanical action of clothes rubbing against each other! This could result in some of the stains not being removed and clothes looking patchy, or having white streaks on them. 

Loading your machine correctly, so that all stains can be targeted, your clothes can be washed evenly, and the condition of the machine is well maintained, is a no brainer!


What Actually Happens When You Overload Your Washer?

By putting too big a load on, your washing machine is put under stress. The structure and bearings haven’t been designed to cope with extra kilograms! This means that your appliance may fall short of its estimated lifespan. 

Additionally, as mentioned previously, your clothes won’t be washed as well, and they could even become damaged if they get lodged between the door and seal. 

On top of that, a normal amount of detergent wouldn’t be sufficient, so your clothes could remain dirty (or worse smelly!). 


Why You Shouldn’t Underload Either

It’s more complicated than you’d think, this washing malarkey! Underloading your wash isn’t recommended either. It’s a waste of energy, so is bad for the environment, as well as your bank! 

You’re also likely to waste detergent and time. There’s no need to wash three loads of three items when you could bung them all in together! In some cases, it could actually make your washer even louder too – best to avoid!

This may seem like an effort at first, but once you get into the habit of what a good load size is, it’s one of the easiest jobs you can do! And if you’re going to end up saving on buying a new appliance, and having consistently sparkling results then it’s well worth it!