How Much Does a Load of Laundry Weigh? (And Other Interesting Laundry Facts)

Woman holding a wicker basket full of laundry
You’ve almost certainly wondered just how much that laundry basket filled with dirty clothes weighs while lugging it through the house. While often considered a mundane and monotonous task, you can make this task a little bit more bearable by appreciating all the factors that need to come together to make your clothes, bedsheets, and towels clean.

Look at laundry by the numbers and give yourself something to think about until the next load needs to be moved to the dryer.

Laundry Facts and Figures

Who Likes Doing Laundry?

According to one survey, Americans have strong feelings about laundry. Washing and drying clothes tied with doing the dishes and sanitizing/wiping the bathroom as the nation’s least favorite chore around the house. The 14% of us who can’t stand doing laundry should have a conversation with the 24% who call it their favorite household chore, almost twice as many as those who prefer doing the dishes.

Women are only slightly more likely to name doing laundry as their favorite chore, with their 26% total just 6 points clear of men. That means no matter your gender, you almost certainly love or hate the process of washing, drying, and folding.

How Much Does a Load of Laundry Weigh?

That laundry basket feels heavy, doesn’t it? It might feel like a lot of clothes, sheets, and towels, but most washers can only fit so much in a single load. Depending on the size of your washer, you are likely washing between 6–18 pounds of laundry:

  • Top-loading low-capacity washers hold 6 pounds
  • Top-loading medium-capacity washers hold 7–8 pounds
  • Top-loading large washers hold between 10–12 pounds
  • Front-loading washers can hold up to 18 pounds

Real-life equivalent: The average American eats roughly 18 pounds of bacon per year. That’s enough to fill the highest-capacity front-loading washing machine!

How Long Does a Load of Laundry Take?

Need something clean to wear and fast? The length of time needed to complete a full wash cycle depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of your washer
  • The manufacturer and model of your washer
  • The size of the load
  • The type of wash cycle selected

As washing machines have become modernized, manufacturers have offered more wash cycles fine-tuned to best meet the needs of users based on the fabric, size of the load, and just how dirty the clothes are. That also means the range of time for an average cycle is more varied than ever, but we did track down a few common wash cycles and a good range for how long a load might take:

  • Normal wash cycle — 50–60 minutes
  • Quick wash cycle — 15–50 minutes
  • Delicate wash cycle – 45–80 minutes

Real-life equivalent: That’s easily enough time to watch one of your favorite TV shows!

Related Topic: How to Clean Your Washing Machine

How Much Water Does a Load of Laundry Use?

Like the length of a wash cycle, the amount of water used for a load of laundry varies based on a few important factors, including those noted above but also how many large and absorbent items are added, like blankets and sheets.

Perhaps the most important element of water use in a washing machine is its efficiency. High-efficiency models that meet Energy Star certification must meet specific standards. By hitting those marks, HE washing machines use 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washing machines.

Comparing them gallon to gallon, a HE washing machine uses an average of 14 gallons per wash cycle while a regular washer uses about 20 gallons per load.

Even HE models vary slightly. In general, front-loading HE washers use less water than HE top-loading washers.

Real-life equivalent: Laundry is thirsty work. You’d have to have 64 cans of your favorite sparkling water to equal the 14 gallons of water used in an HE washing machine.

How Much Energy Does a Load of Laundry Use?

Break out your calculator! The actual amount of energy your washing machine uses per load varies based on the wash cycle length and aforementioned factors, but here we have a new wrinkle. Using warm or hot water requires additional energy to heat the water compared to loads washed in cold water. That plays a big factor in contributing a set kilowatt-hour rate.

Most Energy Star certified washing machines use around 500 watts. Nationally, the average cost per kilowatt-hour is roughly $0.12. If we did one 30-minute load of laundry per day, we’d be using:

  • 0.25 kWh per day
  • 0.91 kWh per month
  • $10.95 in energy costs per year

Real-life equivalent: That 0.25 kWh for 30 minutes of washing clothes could also power your 50” LED TV for nearly 2 hours!

Related Topic: Stain Treatment 101: Hot or Cold Water?

What Is the National Average Number of Loads of Laundry per Year?

It might feel like all you do is laundry if you’re doing about the same number of loads of laundry each year as most Americans, it may not be as much as you think. Americans do roughly 300 loads of laundry per year! That equals about:

  • 0.8 loads per day
  • 5.7 loads per week
  • 25 loads per month

Real-life equivalent: Adults in the US wake up in grumpy moods 300 days of the year…maybe because they’ve been doing so much laundry!

Focus on Laundry and Let Us Handle the Rest!

One of the perks of doing laundry is that once it’s in the washer, you’ve got time to do something you love. Whether it’s a long walk with the family or simply relaxing on the couch to watch your favorite TV show, protect that free time with a little help. Molly Maid’s team of professional housekeepers can tackle any room in your home when you need it or on a recurring schedule. Make time for what you love, even if it’s doing the laundry! To learn more, request an estimate online today.