When Is a Washer Too Full?


Doing laundry is probably not your favorite way to spend your time, so you might be tempted to cram your washing machine full of dirty clothes to finish the job in as few loads as possible. People hoping to save on water and energy costs may also overload their washer when trying to avoid extra loads. A machine that is too full may not clean clothes well or may simply shut itself off. A few signs indicate when a washing machine is too full.

Error Messages

  • Some washing machines use an error message to notify you when you’ve put too much laundry into the appliance. For example, Maytag’s Bravos models display the code “oL” when the washer is overloaded. They also drain water and detergent from the machine when aborting the wash cycle.

Weight Limits

  • Some manufacturers specify the amount of dry clothing their units can handle. LG says you can put approximately 21 pounds of dry clothes in units with 3.5-, 4.0- and 4.5-cubic-foot drums.

Top-Loading Models

  • Laundry placed in a traditional top-loading washer should not go over the top of the clothes-retaining ring, advises GE. Properly loaded clothes should be dry, not packed down and not wrapped around the agitator. For its high-efficiency, top-loading washers, Samsung instructs customers not to fill the wash tub more than three-quarters full.

Front-loading Models

  • When loading an LG front-loading model, you should be able to see the back of the drum when the door is closed. Filling the drum to about 75 percent capacity gives the laundry enough room to properly tumble, advises LG. Frigidaire warns owners not to pack the drum tightly and notes that the door should close easily.

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