How Full Should You Fill A Washing Machine?

Posted by Stephen Steinberg on 06 25, 2017

How Full Should You Fill A Washing Machine?

There are a number of variables that determine how clean your clothes will be after a wash: if you used a high quality laundry detergent, the temperature of the water, how long the clothes were submerged, how hard your water is and the level of agitation, just to name a few. And if you’re washing smelly gym clothes, these become very important things to consider.

One often overlooked aspect of getting a truly clean load of laundry is how full you fill the washing machine with clothes.

If the washing machine is too full, some of the clothes will not be submerged in water long enough to get cleaned. Additionally, the clothes will not have enough room to swish around and therefore the dirt and grime will not be washed away entirely.

So how much clothes can you fit in your washing machine before it starts negatively affecting its cleaning power?

Maximum Amount Of Clothes In A Regular Top-Load Washing Machine


A top-load washing machine should never be filled to the top. The general rule of thumb is that you should add clothes until the machine is about two-thirds full. That’s two-thirds of loosely packed clothes, so don’t try to pack as many clothes as you can in that area either.

Some other general tips when using a top-loading washing machine is to add the detergent first, turn the water on, and then add the clothes. This will allow the detergent to mix well into the water and clean the entire load evenly and effectively.

Maximum Amount Of Clothes In A Front-Load HE Washing Machine


Front-loading high-efficiency (HE) washing machines can handle more laundry at once while also using less water. The general rule of thumb with them is to fill the drum about 80% of the way. It’s ok to pack the clothes in there within that 80%, but just don’t go overboard. The clothes still need room to tumble around.

Each HE washing machine is different, so you should follow the directions carefully in order to get the best clean. But generally, you should add liquid detergents into the detergent dispensing tray and add powder detergents directly into the drum with the clothes.


There are your general guidelines to how full you can actually fill your washing machine. Even the strongest laundry detergents on the market cannot overcome the problems of overflowing your washing machine with too many clothes, so follow these guidelines and you’ll always get a great clean!