Washing Machine Capacity Explained

Washing machines are so different from one another these days that you really have to think about which one you want to buy. There are top-loaders, front-loaders and heavy weight machines. Steam washers are also available, as well as regular washers with steam functions. What exactly are washing machine capacities though? Well washing machine capacities basically define how heavy a load you can put in the machine at a time. What is the maximum capacity and how do I know what the capacity is?

Washing Machine Capacity in Kilograms

When you buy a washing machine, one of the specs will be capacity.

When you see a washing machine capacity amount as something such as 5kg, 7kg or 10kg, it’s not referencing the weight of the machine. This number is in reference to the maximum load weight your washer will cope with. The machine will surely wash heavier loads but far less efficiently, using more water and electricity and taking far longer than it should.

You might think you’ll need a heavy duty 10kg machine because you have a lot of clothes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the best machine because it has the biggest capacity. Often these heavy duty machines tend to be larger in size and might not even fit in the space you have for one. These numbers you’ll want to know. So, the first thing to do before buying a washer is measure your space, you’ll want a washer that is at least an inch smaller than the space you have so that it fits in nicely.

Does a washing machine capacity in kg refer to wet or dry clothing?

If you’ve ever been caught walking outside and suddenly you’re subject to a heavy rainfall, you’ll have noticed your clothes weigh more when they get wet.

I.e. You have 3 wet shirts and 3 dry shirts. When weighing both you’ll realise that the wet clothes might weigh up to twice as much as the dry ones. Seeing as a washing machine’s job is to take dry clothes and make them wet, it can be a bit confusing as to what the machine capacity means.

The kilogram capacity is in reference to dry clothing, yes, dry. When you see a washer that says it’s capacity is 6kg, know that the 6kg is the weight of dry clothes you can put in. Now obviously when these clothes get wet they might weigh up to and even above 12kg. However, don’t fret the machine will cope with that.

How much clothing makes a kilogram of laundry?

While we see machines measure capacity in kilograms, it’s doubtful that you measure your laundry loads. We don’t tend to think about each load in kilograms. That is unless you’re the one carrying the basket around!

One way to try and figure this out is weigh a laundry load before you do it to get a rough idea, then search online for machines that cope with your average load weight. You could do this by weighing each item of clothing individually and adding up the mass weight or by holding the load in your hand while using the bathroom scale and subtracting your own weight from the final number, remember if you’re wearing clothes your weight might be more than what it usually it should appear.

Here’s a guideline to get you started though.

1kg of laundry is equal to two bath towels OR one shirt and one pair of jeans or 5 shirts.

By this measurement, to run a six kilogram wash, you could wash 30 tee shirts or twelve towels. These are not exact guidelines so use them as a rough idea of what it might be. Though your washing usually doesn’t consist of just tee shirts and bath towels. If you use this guideline to work out what your average family wash cycle weighs then you’ll have a better idea of the machine specs you’ll require.

Let’s say your average wash contains 25 tee shirts, then you’ll be fine with a 5kg washing machine capacity. If you have an average load of around 50 tee shirts, you might need something closer to a 10kg washing machine capacity.

Infographic: Washing machine capacity

Infographic: Washing machine capacity

Duvets, Blankets and Curtains

Bulky items like these listed above, need more room to wash than your typical load. They should ideally be washed individually or for smaller blankets maybe two at a time. Using a top loading machine for these items could result in damaged fabrics. They could also still be dirty when you remove them from the machine.

Duvets! To wash a single duvet you want a machine with a capacity of at least six kilograms, for a double you’ll need 7kg and for kings and queens up to 10kg. For a set of curtains that reach the floor, you’ll most likely require a 10kg capacity too.

Some washers will have a bedding cycle that you can use to wash these items, this is more ideal than machines which don’t. Machines which don’t might end up not cleaning these items effectively.

If you need advice on washing machine capacity or need help with washing machine repairs or servicing, please contact the experts at Repair Aid.

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