Are You Overloading Your Washing Machine

November 21, 2022

If you have ever wondered why your clothes are not coming out of the laundry basket as clean as they should be, the answer may be that you are overloading your washing machine. How do you know how full your washer should be for the best results? We have the answer in this month’s blog.

Why Overloading Your Washer is a Bad Idea

When comparing washing machines, top- and front-loaders will both clean your clothes. However, you need to be mindful of how much you load, as too little of a load will waste energy and water, while too much of a load could result in issues.

Overloading your washing machine with too much laundry can prevent the agitator from moving correctly, and the clothes may not get completely clean. On top of that, zippers, buttons, and other items may snag other garments, leading to holes and tears in clothing.

One more hazard of overfilling the washing machine: socks and undergarments that seem to disappear. Have you ever asked yourself what happened to them? The machine can push small items into the drain when it is too full.

The additional strain caused by too much laundry in the washer can be detrimental to the appliance, potentially resulting in costly repairs. Not only are those circumstances irritating, but they can also cause lasting harm to the machine.

Number One Tip to Avoid Overloading Your Washing Machine

How full is too full? It depends on the machine, so you should always check the user manual first. If you are concerned that you are overloading your washing machine, the general rule to remember is to pile the clothes in loosely and leave around six inches of space between the clothes pile and the top of the washer.

Standard Top-Loading Washing Machine

The agitator, located in the center of the tub, is the heart of the washing machine. Evenly distributing the laundry over the agitator is crucial to a successful wash. If the load is not balanced, the vibrations created can be so strong that they can cause the machine to shift, leading to a potentially expensive repair.

Here are a few tips for standard top-loading washers:

  • Place your garments as evenly as you can around the agitator.
  • Contrary to what you may think, avoid wrapping sheets and towels around the agitator and instead put them on either side to maintain balance.
  • Combining large and small items is fine and will help enhance the washing process.

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High-Efficiency Top-Loading Washing Machine

High-efficiency (HE) washers can be distinguished from standard models because they employ less water (due to their name) and lack a center agitator.

These are some ways to avoid overloading your washing machine:

  • Instead of piling your clothes in a heap in the middle of the washer, arrange them around the edge of the washing plate. Doing so will enable your garments to move freely.
  • Combining large and small items in the same load is best for optimal cleaning. This will help keep the balance of the wash.
  • Again, if you’re cramming your laundry in, it means the load is too big. You should leave a space of at least 6 inches from the top of the machine.

High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washing Machine

Compared to the older, conventional washers, which require 40 gallons or more of water, HE front-loading models only need a maximum of 20 gallons. But, like their top-loading counterparts, there are guidelines to avoid overloading your washing machine.

  • When utilizing a front-loading washer, it is essential to place each item of clothing individually. This will prevent the garments from becoming entangled.
  • The washer should not be too tightly packed; leaving some space at the top is best (typically six inches, as mentioned above).
  • Water enters the drum in the bottom of the washer, and the clothes rotate around it. Load heavily soiled garments first to maximize their exposure to water and detergent.


Are you guilty of overloading your washing machine? We all are from time to time. Hopefully, the tips in this article will show your washer and clothes a little tender loving care. While we can’t guarantee the return of your missing socks, the results will be cleaner clothes, better energy efficiency, and a washer that keeps running for years to come.

Are you looking for a washing machine repair service in Colorado Springs? You can trust the experienced technicians at Reliable Appliance Repair. We have decades of experience working with Southern Colorado homeowners and look forward to being your reliable choice for appliance repair for decades to come.

Speak with one of our home appliance technicians today.