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How to Get Cleaner Clothes by Weighing Them First

Do you really want to remove all those pesky stains and get your clothes clean? The solution may come with how much you are putting in your washing machine. Question: How many items fill a washing machine? Answer: A whole load less than you think!

Get out the bathroom scale and scoop on all the clothes and bedding you’d normally push into one wash load. Now throw off items until you get down to 5 kilograms (kg) (11 pounds [lb])…then down some more to 2.5kg (5 lb).

Unless you have a large capacity machine, these weights represent the maximum weight load of a typical washing machine at full and half capacity – but only if you’re doing a general wash of cottons and linens. Switch to man-made or wool fibres, and you can load in even less – synthetics and delicates max out at 2 kg (4.5lb) and woollens get just 1kg (2.2 lb).

These lower weights are because synthetics and delicates are washed at lower temperatures, and so need more agitation and detergent to get clean. Synthetics are also prone to creasing if overloaded. However, wool needs more room because it swells in water. For all fabrics, overloading the machine means clothes aren’t washed as well as they could be. Some stains may remain because they didn’t have room to get agitated away.

Article Material Weight
Clothing
Anorak, adult Cotton mix 750g (1lb 10oz)
Anorak, child’s Cotton mix 450g (1lb 1oz)
Briefs Cotton mix 40g (1–1/2oz)
Dress Cotton 150g (5oz)
Synthetic 350g (12oz)
Jeans Cotton 700g (1lb 6oz)
Jumper Wool 450g (1lb 1oz)
Synthetic 350g (12oz)
Shirt Cotton 300g (1lb 6oz)
Synthetic 200g (7oz)
Socks Cotton mix 50g (2oz)
T-shirt Cotton 125g (4–1/2oz)
Household Items
Bath sheet Towelling 1,000g (2lb 3oz)
Bath-towel Towelling 700g (1lb 8oz)
Double duvet cover Cotton 1,500g (3lb 5oz)
Other 1,000g (2lb 3oz)
Double sheet Cotton 800g (1lb 12oz)
Hand-towel Towelling 350g (12oz)
Pillow-case Cotton 200g (7oz)
Single sheet Cotton 350g (12oz)
Tea towel Cotton 100g (3–1/2oz)
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