Take a Load Off with this Washing Machine Load Size Chart

Every detergent bottle gives you instructions on how much soap to use for small, medium and large loads. But how do you know the size of your load? Overloading your washer can strain your machine and eventually cause it to break. Overfilling also won’t clean your clothes because they won’t be able to agitate well enough in the soap and water.

Knowing how much detergent to use for different load sizes is also important—too much detergent can cause machine build-up and leave residue on clothes. So, here’s a washing machine load size chart to make it easy for you to know just how much laundry equates a small, medium/regular, large and extra-large load.

How Big is a Load of Laundry?

There are a few easy ways to eyeball how big a load of laundry is, from grabbing an armload to counting the number of items to weighing your laundry. Here are three laundry load size guides to help.


If you’re the type of person who skips the hamper and just throws an armload in, this washing machine load size chart is for you.

  • Half an armload = small load
  • One armload = medium/regular load
  • Full armload = large load
  • Two armloads = extra-large load

Number of Items

When you know how many items make up a small, regular, large and extra-large load, it’s faster than ever to grab the right amount from your dirty hamper and throw them in.

  • Small load: One pair of pants and four shirts
  • Medium/regular load: One pair of socks, three pairs of underwear, three pants and eight shirts
  • Large load: Five pants, four pairs of underwear, six pairs of socks and 12 shirts
  • Extra-large load: Six pants, six pairs of underwear, 12 pairs of socks and 13 shirts


While you may not weigh your laundry on your bathroom scale, sometimes it’s helpful to have an idea of what each load weighs.

  • Three pounds = small load
  • Six pounds = medium/regular load
  • Eleven pounds = large load
  • Twenty-one pounds = extra-large load

How to Test for Overloading

If you’re washing a comforter or need to run an extra-large load, how can you tell if you’ve overfilled the drum? It’s simple: Just stick your hand in the drum of your front load washer—if there’s a gap in the top between the clothes and drum, your laundry can freely tumble.

Take a Load Off Your Shoulders

With this washing machine load size chart, you’ll never have to stress over whether you’re overfilling your washer or pouring too much detergent in for the load size. What a load of relief!