Thread Number: 69691  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
So what the heck is a "mixed load" anyway?
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Post# 926125   3/10/2017 at 22:06 (410 days old) by ryner1988 (Indianapolis)        

Hey all,

So whenever I pop on here, I see people talking about "mixed loads" of laundry. Do some washers work better with mixed loads than others?

Let's take my washer for example. Model number WTW4816FW. For ever, I've heard that you are supposed to wash clothes of similar weight/construction together. For instance often times I'll wash loads of jeans and sweatshirts together, and then loads of things like polos, t'shirts, and thinner constructed pants together. This seems to work well for my dryer, but my washer's instruction manual says I should mix different size items together. The motor does seem to strain some under my jeans/sweatshirt loads, so is this why the instructions say this? Are mixed loads actually better on machines than washing a whole load of heavy clothes together?

Just something I'm curious about on a Friday evening.


Post# 926148 , Reply# 1   3/11/2017 at 02:16 (410 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        


Mixed loads is precisely what you were talking about: stuff that should have been sorted apart for best care, but most people nowadays can't be arsed to do.

Sometimes, if you have really good washer and dryer, you can get away with mixing towels, t-shirts, underwear, socks, sheets etc all in one load because they are all white or something.

Usually, at home I do a load of towels, a load of sheets and pillowcases, a load of jeans and sweatshirts and sweatpants, a load of dress shirts and pants, a load of whites and a load of darks. Then again, I rarely have anything made out of silk or wool or too delicate, for example, and even if I wanted to be picky, the load of darks and whites are basically t-shirts, socks and underwear anyway, which are similar weight, construction and soil level.

One thing you may want to pay attention to is that neither volume nor weight of the load describe capacity very well. A thick king-size down comforter will weigh just a few pounds, but can be too large for most domestic washers and dryers, for example. On the other hand, while it's hard to overload a washer by just loading it with t-shirts, socks and underwear according to directions, it's very easy to overload a washer (or dryer, for that matter) with jeans or towels. A large, thick terrycloth bath sheet can weigh 1 kg/2.2 lbs, for example, while a regular pair of jeans can weigh the same. So 10 pairs of jeans are the max load for a 22 lbs washer, 9 pairs for a 20 lbs washer, etc. Those are fairly big washers, until very recently, most washers were designed to wash 16-18 lbs only.

I guess what the directions for your set are telling you to do is to mix things like sheets, t-shirts, etc. Not to do a load with 2 sets of sheets, for example, because then you'd have several pieces that are fairly large and make things hard to circulate or even ball up or tie into knots.

Have fun!
   -- Paulo.

Post# 926149 , Reply# 2   3/11/2017 at 02:18 (410 days old) by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

washdaddy's profile picture
Stick with doing your laundry the way you are doing it. You have the right idea when it comes to washing clothes.

You want to wash like weight items together as you mentioned. If you mix weights (towels and sheets for example) the washer will have a problems balancing the load when it comes to spinning. Keep in mind you don't want to wash items that cause a lot of lint with things that don't. You could end up with lint all over your laundry.

Of course, brights, whites, and dark items are separated to prevent bleeding onto one another.

If you think your machine might be straining when you wash heavier items maybe you should lighten the load so it isn't "working" as hard.

Laundering similar items together also helps with the drying. When drying you want to dry similar weighted items so that they take about the same amount of time to dry and aren't exposed to over drying.

Post# 926151 , Reply# 3   3/11/2017 at 03:24 (410 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Mixed loads

launderess's profile picture
As one understands the idea is to have a items from a range of sizes in a wash load. Sheets and pillow slips, terry towels, wash cloths and or hand towels, T-shirts, undergarments, and other clothing, etc... All done to give better washing action due to ease of circulation, and allow the washer an easier time of balancing loads for spin cycles.

Post# 926189 , Reply# 4   3/11/2017 at 07:10 (410 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        

As far as I understand, for HE TLs, simmilar weight and structure aid in agitation. Better rollover, less tangeling. Stuff like that.

For FLs, however, mixed loads aid in a lot of ways.

Mixed loads for me in this case means for example a load of a few pairs of jeans, khakis, sweat pants, sweaters\sweat jackets, T-Shirts, underwear, socks. All of simmilar color, for example.
There I got different sizes of items, different weighs of items, different structure\form of items.

That helps during washing, adding more "randomness" in the movement patterns, reducing the chance of tangeling, which would reduce the cleaning effectiveness.
Better agitation improves rinsing as well.

During spin, most distribution patterns take advantage of the fact that some items are denser and heavier then others. These items cling to the drum at lower speeds then lighter items.
Now, the main weigh of the load is distributed already, while the lighter still tumble. As the tub sways due to imbalances and the drum accelerates, it "catches" those lighter items on the opposite side of the heavier side, reducing the imbalance.

So, for everyday loads in FLs, mixing fabrics and items does help.

Some other load mixings just don't work as well. Bedding likes to be washed alone, so do towels, simply due to their typical fabric structure.
Further, those load types like other cycles more. Bedding likes lots of hot water with medium tumbling, rinsing with good amount of water, not to much spinning.
Towels like rougher agitation, medium water levels, long spins.

Day to day items just don't really care to much in that department.

Post# 926251 , Reply# 5   3/11/2017 at 15:45 (410 days old) by Logixx (Germany)        

logixx's profile picture
That's a mixed load to me. A bunch of towels and a bathrobe, a fitted sheet and a pillowcase and some small items like underwear etc. - all colorfast and able to take a 140° wash. This load filled the Duet about two thirds.

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Post# 926522 , Reply# 6   3/13/2017 at 08:04 (408 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

No skivvy's?
Oh well. No skivvy's, no hash marks.

Post# 926534 , Reply# 7   3/13/2017 at 09:07 (408 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

A lot depends on the quantity of laundry and the machinery you have to work with and your situation. My hot wash items are all sheets and towels. The dryers I have aren't much bigger than the washers. While a full wash load fits into the dryer with no problem, the 30 minute cycle won't dry them all. If 2 dryers are available I split the load in half and make sure each dryer has an even mix of bedding and towels. This way I avoid the tangling of an all-bedding dryer load and I know all will be dry in 30 minutes.

Clothing is warm wash and fits into one machine. Pants and winter weight socks go into one dryer on high. The other items are usually much lighter in weight and dry on delicate. A 30 minute cycle is usually all that's necessary for each.

NB: My laundry situation is simpler than some people's. My clothing is medium to dark so bleeding is not an issue. Sheets and towels are all colorfast so separation is not needed. I work indoors in an overheated environment so my clothing is rarely stained but saturated with sweat and skin oil. All comes clean with ammonia instead of chlorine bleach and vinegar instead of fabric softener. The odd stain comes out with a detergent pre-treatment. If that doesn't work, it's Didi Seven to the rescue! :-)


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