Can You Overload a Washing Machine?

There are certain household chores that still take up a lot of time, despite the many modern tools we have at our disposal. We may have come a long way since handwashing our weekly laundry or using a washboard, and for that we should be thankful; but some things cannot be replaced by technology.

Doing the laundry ranks in the top five of most-hated household tasks, even though sticking the clothes into the machine and pressing a button really isn’t all that time consuming, nor does it take much effort. It’s the preparation process and knowing that, even once the clothes have been cleaned, the task still isn’t done and dusted: the drying procedure is still to follow.

A Dangerous Tendency

It’s hardly surprising, then, that we are prone to want to get as much of our laundry out of the way in one go. And this is where a lot of people find themselves seduced into loading their machine right up, so full, the clothes hardly have any room for movement during their spin.

On one hand, it almost seems logical. Why not fit as much into one load as possible to save on water and electricity? That seems more sensible than running a half-empty machine on a two-hour cycle.

In truth, however, overloading your washing machine is a dangerous tendency that could end up with an inefficient wash cycle or, worse yet, damage to the machine’s drum.

Keep it Light

No matter how tempting it might be to overload a washing machine, don’t. Keep it light. Washing machines are usually equipped to handle around 7 kg of laundry, any more could weigh it down too much. Don’t be wasteful by underloading either, just try to find a good balance between the two.

Overloading your washing machine will put a lot of strain on it, causing it to work a lot harder than it would when appropriately loaded. It puts a lot of stress on the machine’s bearings and is often cause for its premature retirement due to breakage.

It won’t do your clothes any favors either. When your load is so jammed its movement is restricted, the detergent has no room to flow and disperse. This is one of the reasons washing tablets often leave streaks and why clothes exit the machine still dirty.

Weigh Your Options

Now that you know that you can overload a washing machine, you’ve got two options. You can either ignore the facts and keep packing your load so tight your drum will dent or you can spend a little extra time on making sure you’re loading your machine just right.

One way to keep your load in check is by following the one-hand-rule. If you can fit your hand between your clothes and the drum, you have reached the ideal capacity.

If you want to get even stricter about it, store your washing in a light mesh bag and weigh it prior to loading it into your machine. This will allow you to add on to your load or take out any overflows to save for the next load.

Feed Your Machine a Balanced Diet

As is true for humans, all your machine needs to lead a happy and healthy life, is a balanced diet. The perfect middle between an underload and an overload of smelly socks and stinky football jerseys.

So, whatever it is you do, resist the temptation of forcing your machine to bite off more than it can chew. If need be, call on your weight watchers – i.e. scales – to keep you in check.

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