How Many Bath Towels In the Washing Machine?

Determining how many bath towels you can wash in your washing machine is an important part of keeping your linens fresh and clean. With towels being used multiple times a week by you and your family, they can quickly pile up in the laundry room. Figuring out the right amount to wash at once ensures you aren’t overloading or underfilling your washing machine.

How Many Bath Towels In Washing Machine

Overloading can lead to damage to both your machine and towels. Underfilling wastes water and energy. Follow our guide to find the ideal number of bath towels per load based on your washing machine’s capacity.

Check Your Washing Machine’s Capacity

The first step is identifying your washing machine’s capacity, usually measured in kilograms (kg). This number indicates the maximum dry weight your machine can handle per load. Capacities generally range from about 5 kg for smaller models up to 12+ kg for extra-large machines.

You can find your washing machine’s capacity labeled on the inside of the door or within the owner’s manual. If you don’t have this info, contact the manufacturer to get the specifications.

Once you know the capacity, use it as a baseline for the number of bath towels you can wash at one time. However, towels are thick and become very heavy when wet so you’ll need to adjust downward from the machine’s maximum.

Standard Towel Sizes To Consider

Along with your machine’s capacity, the size of your towels makes a difference in how many will fit per load. Here are the standard towel dimensions to keep in mind:

Larger towels like bath sheets can weigh around 1 kg each when dry. Figure a wet bath sheet weighs nearly 2 kg. This gives you an idea of how heavy your load will be when saturated with water during washing.

Guidelines For Washing Towels Based On Capacity

Now that you know your machine’s size and the average towel dimensions, follow these general guidelines to determine how many bath towels make a full load:

Small Capacity Washing Machine (5-6 kg)

  • 3-4 bath towels
  • 6-8 hand towels

This smaller capacity is best for washing towels for just one or two people. Try not to exceed more than 4 bath towels to avoid damaging the machine.

Standard Capacity Washing Machine (7-9 kg)

  • 5-7 bath towels
  • 10-12 hand towels

This is the most common size and can handle towel laundry for a family of 3-4. Load no more than 7 regular bath towels.

Large Capacity Washing Machine (10+ kg)

  • 8-10 bath towels
  • 12-15 hand towels

Extra-large machines are ideal for handling towels for a large family. But don’t overload with more than 10 bath towels.

Tips For Even Distribution

When loading your washing machine, make sure you distribute the towels evenly around the drum. Try alternating different towel sizes as you put them in. This balanced distribution helps the towels wash properly.

Leave Room For Water

Don’t pack towels in too tightly. Leave some space for water to flow and penetrate the fabric. As a test, you should be able to fit your hand between the towels and the top of the drum when closed.

Weigh Your Towels

For a more precise measurement, try weighing your towels on a scale before washing. Add up the total weight and aim to stay around 80% of your machine’s capacity. This gives the towels room to absorb water and avoids exceeding the maximum.

Special Considerations For Other Towel Materials

While most bath towels are made of cotton, some luxury brands incorporate materials like bamboo, linen, and microfiber into their towels. These types of towels have special washing requirements:

  • Linen towels are delicate and prone to shrinking. Wash them separately in cold water on a gentle cycle.
  • Microfiber towels release more lint. Wash separately from other laundry.
  • Bamboo towels can shrink or lose softness if washed in hot water. Use a cold or warm gentle cycle.

Always check care instructions for specialty towels to determine the best washing method. This will help them last longer.

Tips For Washing Towels Properly

Now that you know how many bath towels your machine can handle per load, keep these extra tips in mind for properly washing them:

  • Wash towels separately from regular laundry to avoid lint transfer.
  • Use hot water for white towels to keep them looking bright. Use warm-colored towels.
  • Add about half the amount of detergent recommended on the bottle. Too much detergent leaves residue.
  • Skip the fabric softener so towels stay super absorbent. Consider white vinegar instead for softening.
  • Shake out towels before drying so they fluff up better.
  • Immediately remove from the dryer after the cycle finishes to prevent over-drying.

What Happens If You Overload The Washer?

What Happens If You Overload The Washer

It’s tempting to stuff in more towels to save time and energy. But overloading your washing machine with too many bath towels can cause several problems:

  • Poor cleaning: When packed in too tightly, towels can’t circulate or absorb water evenly, leaving them dirty.
  • Damage to towels: Excess weight and friction from overcrowding can tear, shred, or create holes in towels.
  • Damage to the machine: Too much weight throws off balance and puts strain on components like drum bearings.
  • Mold/mildew growth: Wet towels pressed together prevent proper drying and promote the growth of mold, bacteria, and odors.

Stick to the load limits for the best wash and to avoid unnecessary damage.

Extra Tips For Extending Towel Lifespan

To get the most use out of your bath towels, keep these extra care tips in mind:

  • Wash bath towels every 3-4 uses, and hand towels every 1-2 uses for best hygiene.
  • Immediately hang towels to dry between uses to limit bacteria growth.
  • Wash towels separately from family members who are sick to avoid spreading illness.
  • Inspect towels for snags and cut off any loops immediately so they don’t run.
  • Replace bath towels every 1-2 years as they lose absorbency and become threadbare.
  • Wash new towels before first use to increase softness and absorption.

How To Wash Other Bath Linens

Towels aren’t the only heavy items in the laundry room. When washing these other bath linens, follow these load guidelines:

  • Bath mats: Wash two at a time in a load without towels due to dense, heavy materials.
  • Bathrobes: Wash one robe at a time with similar colors. Tie the robe sash to prevent tangling.
  • Shower curtains: Wash two lightweight vinyl liners or one heavy fabric curtain per load. Use cold water.
  • Blankets: Wash one large or two small blankets in a load without towels to prevent damage from twisting together.

FAQ About Washing Bath Towels

How many hand towels fit in a washing machine?

Due to their smaller size, you can wash 10-15 hand towels in a standard 7-9 kg washing machine. Smaller 5-6 kg machines can fit 6-8 hand towels per load.

Should you wash towels on hot or cold?

For proper cleaning and disinfection, wash white towels in hot water. Use warm water for colored towels to prevent fading. Only use cold for delicates like linen or silk.

Can you wash towels with sheets or clothes?

It’s best to wash towels separately to avoid lint transfer and tangling. Towels also need more agitation, require hotter water, and take longer to dry fully compared to other laundry.

Does washing towels in cold water clean them?

While cold water saves energy and prevents fading, it is not hot enough to fully sanitize towels or remove bodily oils and bacteria. Water should be at least warm to properly clean towels.

How do you dry towels quickly?

After washing, shake out towels thoroughly before drying to remove excess moisture. Then dry them on a medium or high heat setting rather than air drying. This fluffs the fibers for quicker drying.


Figuring out how many bath towels your washing machine can handle per load depends on the capacity, towel sizes, and materials. Follow our guidelines based on common washer capacities. But also consider the thickness and weight of your particular linens.

When in doubt, err on the lower side. It’s better to do more frequent small loads than overload the drum and cause damage. Properly washing towels keeps them fresh and allows them to last for many years in your home.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.