Washing machines come in different sizes and capacities, so it's nice to have some general guidelines to help you fill your machine effectively. At Tide, we've developed some tips for filling your machine based on an average drum size. No matter the size of your machine, though, you'll want to know how to load it for maximum effectiveness. Apply our load-size tips on your next laundry day, and you'll be sure to get the most out of your wash while saving money and energy.
Once you’ve determined what your load size is, it’s easier to dose correctly. To get the best results, simply follow the load-size recommendations noted for each cycle:
- Medium/Regular load: When the drum is around ½ full, you have a medium or regular load wash.
- Large load: If you want to do a large load, then the washer should be ¾ full.
- Extra-large load: If you have a lot of laundry to do, then you can fill the machine for an extra-large load. Use the 1-palm trick, and see if you can still fit your hand inside the drum. This helps make sure that the machine is not overloaded. Your clothes need to tumble freely, so if you want the best results, avoid packing them too tightly in the washer.
How Much Laundry Can I Fit in Various Load Sizes?
Based on our testing, these are the recommended weights for each load in an average machine:
- Medium/Regular load: This works out to a load of approximately 6lbs.
- Large load: A large load in an HE machine is approximately 11lbs.
- Extra-large load: If you have an HE machine, then an extra-large load at full capacity is around 21lbs.
However, it’s not easy to eyeball how much your laundry weighs. So, to make things a little easier, here’s a visual guide to help you see what various loads look like.
- Medium load/Regular Load: If you can scoop up your laundry in an armload or less, then you have a medium load.
- Large load: When you pick up your laundry, and it’s a full armload, then you have a large load.
- Extra-large load: You know you’re dealing with an extra-large load when you need to make two trips to the washer, because one armload is simply not enough. Just make sure you leave enough of a gap in the drum so your hand can fit inside, allowing the clothes to tumble freely.
To give you a more itemized idea about how much laundry can fit in various load sizes, you can see a more specific guide in our diagram below. Based on our testing, here’s what you can fit in the various load sizes based on an average machine:
- Medium/Regular load: If you’re washing on a medium load, then your load could be made up of approximately: 6 men’s t-shirts, a pair of socks, 2 skirts, 1 women’s sweater, 1 men’s sweater, 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of underwear.
- Large load: A large load in an HE Machine could approximately take: 12 men’s t-shirts, 6 pairs of socks, 3 skirts, 1 women’s sweater, 1 men’s sweater, 5 pairs of pants, 4 pairs of underwear.
- Extra-large load: If you have an HE machine, then an extra-large load might look like approximately: 12 men’s t-shirts, 12 pairs of socks, 6 skirts, 8 women’s sweaters, 7 men’s sweaters, 6 pairs of pants and 6 pairs of underwear.
Because different load sizes require different quantities of detergent, it’s important to get the dosage right. Find out how to dose correctly with our guide, whether you’re using powder, liquid or laundry pacs to get the optimal dosage requirements for your load size and soiling needs.