Where should you put your washing machine
For many of us, washing machines are a ubiquitous feature of kitchens up and down the country. However, in other countries, the idea of having a washing machine in the kitchen is baffling and, to those people, quite disgusting.
This issue, an ongoing debate, was once again brought to the fore on social media recently as many people weighed in on the German preference of placing washing machines in the bathroom. There are also many Americans living in the UK who are horrified to find that kitchens are where we often place our washing machines.
So who’s right in this debate?
Why British washing machines go in the kitchen
The reason behind this phenomenon is purely to do with the set up of a house. Traditionally, UK houses have been built with the plumbing for a washing machine directed towards the kitchen – rather than the bathroom. Because of this, it’s far easier to keep a washing machine in the kitchen when you live in the UK.
But why has the kitchen remained the near-solitary home of the washing machine in the UK? The reason is actually very simple: building regulations. In the UK, our building regulations specify that bathrooms cannot house plug sockets – unless they are placed 3 metres or more from a shower or bath. As the average bathroom size in the UK is approximately 2.3m x 2.7m, that means that the regulations exclude the majority of us from ever having a plug in our bathrooms. And if there’s no plug, then there’s likely to be no washing machine.
The only exception to this rule are sockets that power shavers. This is due to the low voltage required to power shavers. That, however, doesn’t negate you from doing some DIY work to make it so the washing machine can be placed in the bathroom – it’s just that the socket shouldn’t be in there too.
Additionally, we tend not to have what is often known in the USA as a ‘utility room’. This is a room where often a washing machine and tumble dryer are to be found, along with a basket to place dirty clothes. In the UK, these rooms are viewed as a luxury and, as such, there’s often a dearth of space that dictates where a washing machine ends up. And that’s almost always the kitchen – where it can be slotted under a kitchen worktop. For many Americans living in smaller homes and apartments, it’s normal to not own a washing machine and to instead wash and dry clothes at a laundromat (or, as they are known in the UK, laundrettes).
Why the bathroom isn’t necessarily the best place either
While there are definitely great reasons that dictate why a washing machine could nicely fit in to a bathroom – such as it being incredibly easy to dump your clothes in the drum – it’s not as simple as that.
Building regulations aren’t there to necessarily be awkward – they are there because there are safety concerns regarding the placement of a washing machine in a location that could be exposed to water spillages. Not only that, but the metal components in a washing machine are more susceptible to rusting if they are routinely exposed to damp conditions. If your bathroom’s ventilation system isn’t the best, then it’s not in your best interests to put in your bathroom.
And what about the seemingly clever argument that you can just dump your clothes in the washing machine before you head into the shower? That’s largely fine if you religiously clean your washing machine; but the reality is that most of our washing machines are full of bacteria – such as salmonella and E.coli. This often results from us storing out dirty underwear and undergarments in the machine and leaving them there until we next do a wash. It’s much more hygienic to keep dirty clothes in a laundry basket.
Is there a right place for a washing machine?
The reality is that, no, there’s not one fixed place where a washing machine should always be. It really does depend on the space you’ve got to work with, how the plumbing was fitted when the house was built and how much work you’re willing to do to accommodate your home to your washing machine. For many of us in the UK, the kitchen has become the most logical and financially-viable place to keep a washing machine. Love it or hate it, washing machines in the kitchen are here to stay for a while longer.
If you’re looking to have a new washing machine installed – in the kitchen or otherwise – then get in touch with the team here at Repair Aid. We install washing machines, tumble dryers and all sorts of household appliances at affordable prices and with 12-month guarantees on all of our work.