Can I Put A Washing Machine Under The Stairs?

If your kitchen is small and you’re looking for an alternative place for the washing machine, you might be considering putting it under the stairs. This could make sense as presumably that space is unused at present and therefore considered as wasted space.

The good news is you can put a washing machine under the stairs as long as it will fit. There should be no problems from a performance point of view as long as there is enough space, ventilation and adequate airflow. 

With that said, there are a few things you’ll need to consider which are highlighted below.

What You Need To Consider Before Putting A Washing Machine Under The Stairs

open washing machine door

There are several things you will need to consider before putting a washing machine under the stairs which include;

The Cost Of Installation

The reason most washing machines are put in the kitchen or bathroom is because all of the pipework is already there. This makes it a relatively easy task to install the washer into these rooms.

Placing the washing machine under the stairs will probably entail running a water feed and waste pipe as well as electricity for some distance. Plumbing work isn’t cheap and can vary depending on where you live and which plumber you use.

The cost might be lower if there is a toilet located close by. But it will still cost more than a regular washing machine installation. Then there’s the extra cost to ensure the area is adequately ventilated to prevent the washer from overheating.

Not forgetting the fact that you might want to hide the washer behind a door of some sort. Or make good any skirting board or trim to keep a uniform appearance.  All of this work will cost time and money.

Lack Of Storage Space

Depending on the set up in your home, you might not have much room when using the machine. For instance, if you locate the washer in the smallest part of the under stair area, you will not be able to use the space above the washer for placing the wash basket when loading or unloading the washing.

Then there’s a lack of storage space for detergents and fabric softeners. Which means every time you use the washing machine, you’ll need to go elsewhere to retrieve these items.

Inefficient Workflow & Disruption To The Home

Another factor is timing, for example, you will not be able to load or unload the washer when anyone is walking past the under stairs area. As this would effectively block the pathway, you would need to wait until the house is quiet or everybody else has gone out before you could load or unload the machine.

This might sound like it would work out OK, but in practical terms, it could definitely cause some problems.

Can Be Very Noisy When Spinning

Another factor that needs to be considered is the noise created by a washing machine. Granted, modern machines are far quieter than older models used to be.

However, when spinning, washing machines still create enough vibration to create noises elsewhere. Especially in an old house under the stairs. You will almost certainly need to install anti-vibration pads under the machine to help dampen any noise.

Possible Weak Flooring

You should also consider the flooring material under the stairs. Wooden floors can become water damaged in the event of a water leak. This might not get noticed for some time in a concealed space like under the stairs.

The first you may be aware of the problem will be when the washer falls through the rotten floorboards. Speak to your builder or plumber for a solution to this potential problem before it happens.

Type Of Washing Machine

A person putting clothes into a washing machine

Whilst it is entirely possible to put a washing machine under the stairs, it needs to be easy to access. This pretty much rules out a top loading machine.

Front loaders only need to be accessed from the front which means they need less space. A top loader on the other hand, needs adequate space above it for loading and unloading the laundry.

Where Will The Tumble Dryer Go?

Even if you can solve all of the practical issues with placing the washer under the stairs, where would you put your tumble dryer? For practical purposes, it makes sense to have the tumble dryer and washing machine close to each other.

This allows you to transfer wet laundry from the washer directly to the tumble dryer. But although it could be perfectly safe to put a washing machine under the stairs, it might not be safe to put a tumble dryer in the same space.

Tumble dryers have the potential to catch fire which means putting a tumble dryer under the stairs could be dangerous. If it were to catch fire when there were people upstairs, they could potentially be trapped.

In practical terms that means the tumble dryer will need to be put somewhere else away from the washing machine. This would mean every time you do a wash load, you will need to carry the wet laundry from the washer to wherever the dryer is situated.

You might not think that’s a big deal now, looking at it written down, but when you have to lug wet laundry about every time you do a wash load it can become a problem.

So, Can You Put A Washing Machine Under The Stairs?

Two people putting clothes in a laundry basket from the washer

Yes you can put a washing machine under the stairs. In fact it’s a great way to utilise an otherwise wasted space and save space for other things. For instance, moving the washing machine out of the kitchen gives you the space needed to install a dishwasher.

However, you need to bear in mind  that putting a washing machine under the stairs will make laundry days more challenging. Not to mention the extra costs involved in installing water and waste pipes as well as air vents etc.

If done correctly, putting a washing machine under the stairs can be the perfect solution for your home. 

SEE ALSO: Can You Put A Washing Machine In A Cupboard?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put a washing machine in a cupboard under the stairs?

You can put a washing machine in a cupboard under the stairs as long as there is adequate ventilation and you can run the correct water and drainage pipes as well as an electrical supply.

Where should a washing machine be placed in a small house in the UK?

If you live in a small house you can put the washing machine in the kitchen, under the stairs, in the bathroom, in the garage or anywhere it is safe to do so.

What is the minimum space behind a washer?

For safety reasons, you should leave at least 6 inches (15cm) behind a washer for ventilation, hoses and wires. You should also leave at least 1 inch (2.5cm) clearance on each side of the washer. This will also minimise noise levels as well.

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