What Happens If You Overload Your Washing Machine?


You’re in a hurry to get laundry done and you decide to pack your washing machine. It looks overloaded because it is, but you press the button to start the cycles anyways. Did you just make a terrible decision? What happens if you overload your washing machine?

Well, either your clothes aren’t as clean as they can be or you’ll be getting out your checkbook. Let’s explore why you should not overload your washing machine, nor underload your washer for that matter.

What Happens When You Overload Your Washing Machine

The reasons why you should not overload your washing machine range from minor to severe, but minor reasons can compound into a much larger problem.

Clothes Aren’t Clean as They Can Be

That blouse or t-shirt you love so much? You risk ruining it by overloading your washer. For starters, throwing too much bleach into the mix can cause streaking if the bleach can’t pass through the clothing; it sits on the clothing rather than travel around. The same goes for detergent. If it can’t get to your clothing, because it’s so packed, the cleaning solution can’t properly clean your clothing.

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Your Clothes Come Out Wet

Washers are very simple machines—water comes into the washer, it spins a few times in an attempt to wet all the clothing, rinse and repeat until your clothing is washed. Here’s the problem: overloading your laundry compresses the space between the clothing and prevents the water from traveling through. What you end up getting is a load of laundry that is soaked because the water couldn’t escape the clothing.

You avoid this problem by loading your laundry by as much as three-fourths of the washer’s drum—where the clothing goes. Alternatively, you can go by the weight as well, but generally speaking, it ends up being about three-fourths anyways.

You Risk Breaking the Machine

There’s nothing that will throw your washer into a funk than overloading it. The drum of the machine, where your clothes go, is set to rotate. Like the alignment of the wheels of your car, pushing it out of alignment will result in an incorrect rotation. If the washing machine doesn’t spin right, the tub bearings experience additional strain and machine failure occurs. Worst of all, your wallet feels the worst of it when you’re buying a new washing machine.

Let’s not forget that an overloaded washing machine doesn’t drain water properly—it’s trapped in the clothing due to improper rinse cycles—and can leak into the inner workings like the motor. If the motor’s damaged, the cycles slow, and then you have to make an order for a new washer.

Underloading Doesn’t Help Either

On the other end of the spectrum, throwing in a few articles of clothing isn’t going to help either. Too much weight on one side can throw the washer off-balance during the spin cycle. Not an ideal situation when your washer starts tap dancing. Oh, not to mention a terrible waste of money—water and detergent was used—energy, and your time.

If you’re washing, say, a bed sheet, you need to spread it out as evenly as possible. Don’t toss it to one side and then wonder why it’s thumping against your wall.

Stop Overloading Your Washing Machine!

If you’re always having problems with your washing machine, you need to know whats causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the washing machine repaired or replaced. Having a working washing machine is crucial for any home.

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Bottom Line

It’s totally understandable to see a large load of laundry and wanting to get it over with; you got errands to run and events to attend. But, unfortunately, acting on that impulse frequently is only going to cost you big bucks in the end when you’re shopping for a new washer, even more than the cost of doing several loads of laundry rather than one overloaded one.

In other words, stick to what your washer can handle and your washer will treat you right. Being at or around the magic number is fine and a few extra pounds over it’s ‘limit,’ isn’t going to hurt it. For example, if your washer has a limit of 20 lbs, 25 lbs of laundry isn’t going to make much of a difference. But 30 lbs and more? You’re pushing the machine to its breaking point. If you want, use a bathroom scale and a hamper to weigh your laundry. A good rule of thumb is no more than three-fourths of the drum.