How to Calculate Washer Capacity and Laundry Load Size

How to Calculate Washer Capacity and Laundry Load Size

What’s a washing machine’s capacity? How do you know you’ve not overloaded the machine? These are questions that have probably crossed your mind when you’re doing your laundry. If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions and don’t have a manual, or simply enjoy geeking out over your laundry, read on to determine how to calculate washer capacity and laundry load size.

Washing Machine Capacity by Type

Different washers have different capacities. Before you pick a washer to use and regret your decision because it’s too small, it’s essential to know how they differ in capacity.

Compact washers are typically 2.30 to 2.45 cubic feet, while standard or high-efficiency top load washing machines may range from 3.1 to 4 cubic feet. However, if none of these washers are sufficient for your needs, consider a front-load washer. They range from 4.2 to 5 cubic feet.

Washing Machine Tub Capacity Formula

Since washing machines come in various sizes and capacities, there’s no standard washer size that can tell you the tub capacity. However, you can calculate the tub capacity using the formula below:

Volume in cubic feet = pi times r times r times d

Use the key below for the equation:

  • r = radius in feet or half the diameter
  • p = 3.14
  • D = depth in feet; it’s the height of the cylinder

If you use the formula above, you’ll be able to calculate a washing machine’s capacity in cubic feet.

Steps to Calculate A Washer’s Tub Capacity

  • First, measure the tub’s radius from its center to the outside wall. Alternatively, measure the diameter and divide by two to get the radius.
  • Next, calculate the radius squared by multiplying it by itself. Note, this isn’t equivalent to multiplying the radius by two.
  • Afterward, multiply the radius squared by 3.14.
  • Finally, multiply the value from the step above by the depth of the tub to get the washer’s volume in cubic feet.

How to Calculate Laundry Load Size

Now that you’re conversant with a washer’s capacity, you’ll need to determine how much laundry it can hold. This is measured by load size. Getting a washer’s correct load size can help reduce utility usage and save you time.

Unfortunately, unlike tub capacity, manually calculating load size isn’t straightforward. Thankfully, most washers come with a capacity recommendation.

Generally, compact washing machines can hold a maximum of 8 pounds of laundry per load, while standard top-load washers can hold roughly 12 pounds of laundry.

Meanwhile, front-load washers can hold as much as 15 to 18 pounds of laundry, while extra-large front-load washers can accommodate 20 to 22 pounds of laundry in one cycle.

How Much Does Dirty Laundry Weigh?

Eyeballing how much your dirty laundry weighs isn’t easy. Your estimate may be deceiving. So, to give you an idea of how much dirty clothes weigh, here are some guidelines:

  • An XL t-shirt weighs about 0.5 pounds.
  • A full-size bed sheet weighs about 1.3 pounds.
  • A medium sweatshirt weighs approximately 0.9 pounds.
  • A pair of medium-sized jeans or a large bath towel weighs roughly 1.6 pounds.

While the weights above are estimates, they should give you an idea of how many of each item you should include in one cycle.

Additionally, note that the amount of detergent you should use may vary. Factors that influence the amount of detergent you should use include the washer type, load size, water hardness, detergent concentration, and the soil level on your clothes. So, check out your detergent’s instructions before you start washing.

How to Load A Washing Machine

Once you’ve sorted out your laundry, you can load the washer. But be careful not to overload it. Overloading a washer may result in some clothes not getting thoroughly cleaned. Worse still, the washer may malfunction.

To ensure you don’t overload the washing machine, place your hand into the drum. If your hand fits between your clothes and the drum’s wall, you can start washing. If it doesn’t, remove some clothes to create room. But don’t remove too many clothes. Underfilling the washer may prevent it from spinning. Plus, it will result in inefficiency because you’ll spend more time and detergent doing your laundry.

If you do laundry in a laundromat, appropriate weights are often posted for your convenience. Not only will following these guidelines help you use the washer appropriately and get cleaner clothes, but it will also extend the lifespan of the washers – a win-win for everyone.

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