How Much Does a Full Laundry Basket Weigh?

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A full laundry basket can have a lot of variation based on the size of the basket and the type of clothes that are in it.  Typically, however, a full laundry basket will weigh between 10 to 25 pounds.

Doing the laundry is a dreaded chore in many houses, but this activity can also be a good upper body workout.  Even a small laundry basket full of laundry can weigh about ten pounds, while a larger laundry basket can weigh between 15 to 25 pounds.

College students bringing home laundry bags can often bring home nearly 30 pounds or more of laundry.  An empty laundry basket made of plastic will typically weigh less than two pounds.

How to Determine the Weight of a Laundry Basket


Of course, everyone will have a different amount of laundry in their household, which means everyone’s laundry basket will weigh a different amount. The best way to know how much you’re carrying around on a daily basis is to take several measurements of the weight of your basket, then average these amounts together.  

Ideally, these measurements should be taken on different days with different types of laundry.

A well-rounded sample group should probably include a basket with linens, a mix of all clothes in the house, just children’s clothes, just adult clothing, and specialty items such as curtains.  

Also, be sure to include clothing at different times of the year, as a basket of jeans and sweatshirts could weigh differently than a basket of tank tops and shorts.

Getting an accurate weight of your laundry basket is more complicated than simply placing it on a bathroom scale.  Bathroom scales are configured to measure the weight of a person; all of that person’s weight must be centered on the scale.  

A laundry basket will likely overhang the edges of a typical bathroom scale, making the weight next to impossible to get accurately.  Instead, stand on the scale and get your own weight.

Then pick up the full laundry basket and take your weight again.  The difference between the two numbers is the total weight of the laundry basket.

How Much do Clothes Weigh?

The other way to gauge the weight of your laundry basket is to add up the weight of each individual piece of clothing.  For adults, small clothing, such as socks and most underwear, typically weighs about one to three ounces.

Non-denim shorts, t-shirts, and tanks tops weigh about four to ten ounces.  Jeans and sweatshirts typically weigh about a pound to two pounds.  Skirts and dresses tend to weigh between one and four pounds.

Children and baby clothing tend to weigh a lot less.  Children’s clothing will typically weigh about half of what a similar adult piece will weigh, while baby clothing will weigh about a quarter of a similar adult piece.

Items such as towels tend to weigh around one to two pounds (washcloths weigh only a few ounces), and they can weigh nearly four times that amount when they are wet.  

Sheets and blankets have a lot of variation based on their size and thickness, but typically sheets will weigh between two and four pounds, while blankets can weigh between five to twenty-five pounds.

It may be a good idea to use the same method for getting a good weight on a laundry basket to take the weight of larger items such as these.

The total weight of a piece of clothing will be dependent on a lot of factors, including material used, the amount of material, and decorations.  A heavy, full-length wool winter coat can easily weigh ten to fifteen pounds, for example.

A complete summer outfit (shorts, shirt, and undergarments) will usually weigh around two pounds, while a complete winter outfit (without a coat) will weigh around five pounds.  

Using this knowledge, it’s easy to get an estimate of how much a laundry basket weighs simply by multiplying the number of people in your family by the number of days it has been since laundry was done last.

Remember that children’s clothing usually weighs about half as much as adult clothing.  A family of four (two adults and two children) will usually produce about six pounds of laundry a day in the summer and fifteen pounds of laundry in the winter.

How Much Weight Should a Laundry Basket Hold?

While a laundry basket can certainly hold a lot of clothing, it’s rarely a good idea to load it as full as possible.  A small basket should usually hold no more than ten pounds of laundry at a time.

In the summer, that means about two days worth of laundry for a family.  In the winter, however, that’s less than one day’s worth of laundry for a family.  Larger baskets can hold up to twenty-five pounds of laundry, making these an ideal choice for larger families or people who simply do not want to do laundry very often.

Overloading a laundry basket can cause it to break. Typically, cheaper, smaller plastic laundry baskets can break easily if there is too much laundry in the basket.

This often happens not when there are too many clothes in the basket but because the clothes are wet.  Wet clothing can quadruple the weight of a basket.  For this reason, it’s not recommended to transport a lot of wet clothing in flimsy baskets.

Baskets that are made of sturdier materials, such as bamboo or metal, are much more suited to households that do large amounts of laundry or that have heavily soiled laundry.  

Sturdier baskets tend to weigh more, but the extra weight is worth it for the increased inefficiency.

How Much Laundry Should Go Into a Washer or Dryer?

A typical washer will usually come with instructions that specify a maximum weight allowance for the clothing that they can wash at one time.  The size of the washing machine or dryer will determine this amount, but few residential machines can handle more than twenty-five pounds at a time.

Usually, a person will want to fill their machine with ten to twenty pounds of clothing.  Fewer clothes will waste water and soap, while more clothes will overload the machine and could prevent it from getting everything truly clean.  

This means that most people can simply dump out their laundry baskets directly into the machine. This is not generally recommended for heavier items such as blankets or a load of wet towels, however.

Very bulky items should be washed at a commercial laundromat that has a large-capacity washing machine, while wet items should be spread out between several loads.  It is important to note that newer machines have settings that will allow users to clean entire loads of wet clothing.

These machines compensate by adding less water over longer periods of time in order to get the laundry really clean while not overloading the machine.

Dryers have similar capacity limits, but they tend to be higher because wet clothing is going into them.

If you believe a washer load is too much for your dryer, use your basket to split the load in half or hang up several items to line dry.

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