Adequate space is needed in the laundry area to move, turn, bend, and twist, while moving laundry in and out of the equipment. Space for a laundry basket or cart is also needed. A clearance of 42 inches (1067 mm) in front of a washer, dryer, or stacked washer and dryer, is recommended (see Figure 9.14a). This will give adequate space to access either front – or top-loading machines, allowing space for door swings and a person to kneel or bend (see also Figure 9.8).
When the washer and dryer are placed side by side, the 42-inch (1067 mm) clearance space should be 66 inches wide (1676 mm) (see Figure 9.14b). If front-loading appliances are being used, check to see that this dimension allows adequate clearance for a door swing. If appliances are placed at right angles or across from each other, the clearance spaces for each machine overlap (see Figure 9.14c and Figure 9.14d).
If the person doing the laundry uses a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair or cane, these clearances will need to be increased. Refer back to Form 1, discussed in chapter 5, "Assessing Needs," for information on collecting clearances for mobility aids your client might use.
Laundry in Transition
Designing a laundry area is more than installing equipment with clearance space. The flow of laundry—mostly clothes—in and out of the space needs to be considered. Dirty laundry is brought into the area, clean laundry is moved out. During the transition, clothes, towels, bed linens, and other items may spend time "hanging out" in the laundry area. To help organize the laundry area, smooth the flow of laundry, and minimize clutter, consider the following ideas.
• Dirty laundry needs to be collected. Hampers, bins, or baskets in the laundry area can be used for short-term storage of dirty laundry (see Figure 9.15). Good ventilation of the dirty laundry containers is necessary to dispel dampness and odors.
Several containers might be used to pre-sort laundry. For example, white socks, t-shirts, and underwear might go into one container, jeans into another. (The effectiveness of this system depends on cooperation of everyone in the household!) Or, if several members of the household do laundry separately, each person can have their own container, using it to accumulate enough laundry for a washer load.
• Dirty laundry needs to be sorted before washing. Table or counter surface works well for this task, and then can later be used for folding and sorting clean laundry (see Figure 9.15). A work surface 24 to 36 inches (610 to 914 mm) deep and 32 to 36 inches (813 to 914 mm) high would work for most people. The length of work surface depends on how much laundry is typically sorted and how much space is available. The work surface should be smooth so it will not snag fabrics, durable, nonabsorbent, resistant to damage if laundry products such as detergent are spilled on it, and easy to clean and sanitize.
Several bins or baskets might be used to sort laundry. These items might rest on a work counter, pull out from underneath a counter, or store inside a cabinet.
• Hanging up items removed from the dryer minimizes wrinkles. Provide a space to hang shirts, blouses, skirts, dresses, and similar items. This hanging space should be convenient to the dryer. Garments on hangers should not block work areas or passages. Good ventilation is needed to allow garments to cool without wrinkling.
Refer to Figures 9.1,9.2, 9.3, and 9.6 for information on planning space and clearances for hanging clothes storage.
FIGURE 9.14a, b, c, d. Clearance in front of laundry equipment provides space for bending and kneeling, as well as door swings and space for a laundry basket or cart.
laundry type sink may not be necessary. A small bar-type sink can work well. Select a gooseneck or pullout faucet for fitting bulky items under the water flow. Look for controls that are easy to operate, such as with one hand, one touch, or a foot pedal.
• The laundry area needs adequate lighting that is conveniently switched. Good color rendition in the light sources is important for noting stains and other problems on fabrics. See chapter 7, "Mechanical Planning," for more information about lighting.