How much should you fill your washing machine?

When it comes to using our washing machine, many of us grab our laundry, throw it in the drum and start a cycle. However, did you know that how you load your washing machine can significantly affect its efficiency and longevity?

Find out how much you should be filling your washing machine in this guide. We also explore what can happen when you overload or underfill your machine and look at what size would be ideal for your household needs.

What do we mean by washing machine capacity?

A washing machine’s capacity is how much laundry the machine can handle per load. The capacity is normally expressed in kilograms (kgs), which refers to the maximum amount of dry clothes you can safely put into the drum for each wash cycle. 

What to consider when loading your washing machine

There are various things that you should consider when loading your washing machine. Ask yourself these questions before beginning a wash cycle:

  • Is my washing machine overloaded?
  • Is my washing machine underfilled?
  • Are all my clothes pockets empty?
  • What temperature should I wash my clothes at?
  • Should I select a slow or fast spin cycle?
  • Have I added the right amount of detergent?

How full should a washing machine be?

Striking the right balance is essential when determining how much to load into your washing machine. It’s important to be economical while ensuring optimal performance.

For the best washing results, aim to load your machine to approximately 75% capacity. Another way to determine this is by leaving a hand width empty at the top of the drum. When the drum isn’t overloaded, your clothes can move freely during the wash cycle. Additionally, there’s enough water to dissolve the detergent and clean your laundry effectively.

Overloading the machine reduces the water-to-clothes ratio, meaning less water is available to dissolve the detergent, resulting in suboptimal cleaning. However, underfilling the machine is inefficient and uneconomical.

Why is monitoring your washing machine load important?  

Monitoring your washing machine load is essential. By ensuring that you’re washing the correct amount of laundry, you can reduce the risk of damage to your machine, ensure optimal washing and stay environmentally friendly.

  • What can happen if you underfill your washing machine?

    You might not think it, but regularly underfilling your washing machine can lead to problems. If your machine is less than 50% full, the following issues can occur:

    • Imbalanced machine: When there aren’t enough items in your washing machine, clothes can accumulate on one side of the drum, causing imbalance. This not only leads to excessive noise but also strains the bearings, potentially causing mechanical damage.
    • Imbalanced detergent concentration: If your washing machine isn’t full enough, there could be too much detergent for the laundry load size, which can damage your clothes.
    • Energy inefficiency: If you regularly underload your washing machine, you may be wasting electricity, which impacts the environment and your utility bills. It’s cheaper and more energy-efficient to wait for your laundry to build up so that you can wash a full load.
  • What can happen if you overload your washing machine?

    Overloading your washing machine can also cause many problems, not only for the appliance but also for your laundry. Potential issues that may arise if you overload your machine include:

    • Less efficient washing: Your washing machine will use the same amount of water, whatever the size of your laundry load. More laundry in the machine means the water used has to spread further and may not properly soak your clothes, meaning they may not be totally clean at the end of the cycle.
    • Drainage problems: Overloading your washing machine makes it more difficult for it to drain the water at the end of a cycle. This can lead to your laundry sitting in dirty water for longer and lengthen the drying process.
    • Damaged motor: Regularly exceeding your washing machine’s weight limit can put unnecessary stress on the motor, which is responsible for the drum spinning.
    • Damaged bearings: Your washing machine’s bearings also aid the drum’s movement. Loads that are too big can damage the machine’s bearings, preventing it from functioning effectively.

Finding the right size washing machine for you

When shopping for a new washing machine with AEG, you’ll notice capacities ranging from 7kg to 11kg. Trying to figure out what size washing machine is right for you? Here’s what you need to know about each capacity:

  • Small Drum (7kg): Ideal for someone living alone who completes up to four washes per week.
  • Medium Drum (8kg-9kg): Ideal for couples or flatmates who complete between four and six washes per week.
  • Large Drum (10kg): Ideal for small families who complete between four and six washes per week.
  • Extra-Large Drum (11kg): Ideal for large families who complete over six washes per week.

Think your washing machine needs to be bigger to meet your requirements? Or do you need a smaller machine? It may be time to invest in a new one. Find a washing machine at AEG with a capacity to suit your household.

Signs it’s time to change the size of your washing machine  

So, what are the signs that it may be time to change the size of your washing machine? Here are a few reasons:


  • You’re cramming clothes in

    If you find yourself constantly cramming clothes into the washing machine during each load, it might be a signal that it’s time to upgrade. Overloading your machine can damage it, so consider switching to one with a larger capacity.

  • You’re struggling to fill your washing machine

    At the opposite end of the scale, if you’re finding it difficult to fill your washing machine regularly, consider downsizing to a smaller-capacity alternative. This way, you can wash full loads more frequently, which is better for the health of your machine, more environmentally friendly and can lead to cheaper utility bills.

  • You’re doing multiple washes a day

    If you’re doing multiple washes per day, it may be a sign that your washing machine isn’t big enough. Consider switching to one with a bigger capacity, allowing you to fit your laundry into fewer loads.

  • Your family is growing

    If your family is growing, it might be time to consider upgrading to a larger washing machine. As you welcome children into your household, your laundry load naturally increases. Opting for a washing machine with a bigger capacity can make your laundry routine more efficient and accommodate larger and more frequent loads.

  • Your household is getting smaller

    Alternatively, if your household is getting smaller (for example, your older children are moving out), your washing machine may become too large for the amount of laundry you now have. Downsizing to a more appropriately sized machine could be a practical solution in these circumstances.

  • Your detergent isn’t working for you

    If your detergent isn’t effectively cleaning your clothes, it could be a sign that your washing machine is too full. When the machine is too full, there isn’t enough water to dissolve the detergent as your clothes are soaking it up.

Finding the right washing machine for you

Whether you live on your own, have a growing family or are preparing for the kids to leave home, finding the right-sized washing machine is essential.

At AEG, you’ll find washing machines in a range of capacities. Whether you’re shopping our 7000 series with ProSteam Technology, 8000 series with PowerCare or 9000 series with SoftWater Technology, we have a range of options for different household circumstances.