Friday, July 11, 2008

Laundry in the Kitchen

Most North American kitchens don't include laundry facilities, but there are some good reasons why you might consider including them in your kitchen design.


Whoever decided that the best place for the washer and dryer was in the basement - often in an unfinished area with a dusty concrete floor and spidery open-joist ceiling - didn't do laundry very often. Especially if you have kids, a laundry area in the kitchen will be much easier to get to and use, and usually be nearer the bedrooms where much of the laundry is produced.


The kitchen already has water supply and drain lines ready to hook your washer into, so if you do want to move out of the basement, it's a good place to move to without having to pay for major plumbing work. You will almost certainly need to run new electrical circuits though, if you want an electric dryer. A gas dryer may be a good choice if you already have a gas supply to the kitchen for your range.


A stacked washer and dryer in the kitchen uses much less space than the regular full sized separate appliances in their own laundry room. Consider using the laundry room for something else completely - maybe you can remove a wall and combine it with the kitchen, maybe you need mudroom space for your large family, or maybe it could be a home office, craft room or darkroom.

Do you have a kitchen laundry? Would you have one? Why or why not?


Anonymous said...

We're thinking of combining our kitchen with what is now the laundry room. Will be a much better flow and will add needed room to the cramped kitchen. We just worry about having food preparation and clothes cleaning too close to each other. Anyone ever try this? Thanks.

Kev W said...

Laundry in the kitchen - or not - is often a cultural thing. In the UK, it's common. In the US, not common.

But if you're simply removing the wall between the existing laundry room and the kitchen, not moving appliance locations, you aren't really bringing the laundry any closer to food prep areas, so I don't think you should worry about it.

If you are going to be moving appliances closer together, it becomes simply a commonsense thing to keep dirty cloths and food apart, just as you keep other not-so-clean kitchen stuff (floor cleaning gear? garbage pail? pet dishes?) away from your food prep areas, and wash hands between jobs

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are fixing up a 1957 home that at the time was a wonderful home on "millionaires row". It had the best ideas and materials of the time. Yes, the washer and dryer sat out in the open in the kitchen next to what the original plans called the "service entrance" from the garage. The kitchen door is near a tiny milk delivery door in the garage wall! I think the original owners had a maid. We are a "maidless" couple, according to Julia Child. But we still want to keep the laundry in the kitchen so it's convenient as we age.

The laundry in the kitchen has been a hot topic of debate for over a year with contractors, kitchen designers, family and friends. We considered many options for relocating the laundry. Our plumber suggested dividing the kitchen into two rooms so the laundry would have it's own space. I don't want to cook in galley kitchen and do laundry in a "cave". So, the room is ripped down to the studs with the original mahogony cabinets stacked in the basement as we design a plan to keep the laundry in the kitchen.

This will require new cabinetry since we are moving the dishwasher, getting a 30" instead of a 40" stove, and want to enclose the laundry somehow with matching cabinetry. We will likely have the laundry enclosed in a closet with doors that slide open. They will have louvres or a custom jigsaw design to allow air flow through the moist laundry environment. I considered enclosing front loaders in cabinetry that matched the kitchen, but then I learned that front loading washers often get a musty smell with mildew growing on the door seal. I definately don't want THAT in my kitchen. Also, it's hard on the back bending over for both washer and dryer.

For sanitary reasons, we will sort laundry in bins located in closets in our bathrooms, hallways or bedrooms and take it one load at a time to the kitchen to be washed. We won't have dirty laundry in piles in the kitchen. I couldn't live with that. I'll have to carry the clothes that I partially dry to a drying rack in another room.

The dust from the dryer's lint filter is a concern of mine. I'm going to look for a dryer with a lint filter that doesn't throw dust everywhere when you pull it out. The ones that pull from the top are terrible! I'll have to clean the lint filter in the garage, four steps from the dryer, to keep dust out of the kitchen.

Humidity from the washer and dryer could be pulled out by a bathroom fan in the ceiling over the laundry area that is vented into our garage. I'll have the garage door open a bit to let out the moisture. I wouldn't use the stove fan for this purpose as it would pull dust toward the stove.

So that is where we are headed with our laundry in the kitchen. Hope these ideas help others.