Effect of Load Size on Wear & Tear?

johnmkOctober 2, 2013

Specifically concerning front load clothes washers:

How appreciable is the difference in wear & tear on clothes with regard to the size of the load being washed? I can imagine that a large load of clothes is really putting quite some weight & roughage on clothes that end up at the bottom of the heap, second by second, and that this could, over time, lead to accelerated wearing out of clothes. Socks, for example, I notice often stretch over time. Now that I'm on my own, I'd like to do things right and that means picking the right balance between energy efficiency, time efficiency, rate of wear on clothes, time & money spent shopping for clothes, etc. Seeing as that the variable I'm least familiar with is rate of wear on clothes as it relates to load size, I'm asking you fine folks for any clarity you might bring to a murky area of my understanding.

Thank you,


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In a front load washer there is no bottom of the heap. The clothes are constantly being rotated.

The general rule of thumb is to load a front loader loosely and allow for a space up at the top about the distance of your fist. This will allow the clothes full tumbling movement and saturation with water.

Also it's best to keep the same types of materials together. i.e. Don't wash polyesters with heavy cottons, etc.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:03AM
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exactly what jakvis said!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Thanks for your responses but this isn't the kind of objective information I'm looking for, so far. But nonetheless, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Of course no article spends all of its time underneath everything else, but second to second, something's there, something's getting all that weight and bristle thrust into it, flattening it out, loosening/fraying fibers, etc. Pretty much everything in the load gets subjected to that treatment time after time, every minute or so. The weight of the clothes, coupled with the much greater weight of the water, has got to do something.

Thank you,


    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:26PM
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You could always try to not get your clothes dirty and wear them more than you do now, to cut down on washing. That's really one of the best ways to reduce wear and tear, presuming you are given them good laundering care when it is time to wash each garment. I know I'm guilty of being lazy with my clothes and tossing them into the laundry basket instead of hanging them back up in the closet so that I can wear them again if they are still clean.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Over stuffing your washer can lead to excess wear on your clothes and not allow them to get as clean.
Washing dis-similar fabrics can have the rougher fabric damage more delicate fabrics.
Use the correct amount and type of detergent. Over use of detergent has detrimintal effects on a lot of different fabrics.
Use the slower spin speeds as they give less stress to the clothes.
By quality clothes. Cheap fabrics don't last as long.

Read other posts about washing help in the Garden Web.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Now that we have a FL washer, I turn all knit garments inside-out to help reduce the friction that you are concerned about, if that is the concern?

Certain fabrics are more delicate than others. I use the Delicates cycle for those. Machine uses more water in the wash as well as rinse segments, so the fabrics are buffered by the water.

Our old top-load water hog washer always twisted and knotted up jeans, pants & trouser legs. Not to mention sheets. That's not good for the garments nor the fabric.Ugh... Our FL washer doesn't do that.

There are still some conventional TL washers on the market. Perhaps you will be happier with that type machine. Peace of mind is worth a lot, IMHO.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I was reading an article awhile back about proper loading of FL machines and it said that to get the best results regarding cleaning and maximum efficiency, load the machine to 80% of capacity (roughly 3/4 full). It went into a lot of detail about temp, wash time, extraction speed, etc....but it got really technical, lol


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:20AM
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