Moving to a tiny life is not easy. There are many questions and concerns along the way and the best approach is to go through all the concerns, and find definitive answers (as much as possible).
One of the first questions that came to my mind was, “Do tiny houses have washer and dryers? How am I going to deal with laundry”.
Tiny houses may have washers and dryers just like regular houses. You need to analyze; the space limitations, water and power consumption and operation noise, and your requirements for load capacity, portability, ventilation, and budget to find the perfect appliance for your tiny house..
I will go through all these aspects below, and at the end of this article, you will have crystal clear understanding of tiny house washer and dryers. Let’s start.
How Much Space Is Needed For Washer And Dryer?
Mainly you have 2 options for washing and drying machines: Putting them next to each other, or stacking them. Before making a purchase, you have to measure the available space in your tiny house.
I have found a good measuring guide on youtube from Home Depot. If you are not sure about the measurements, take a look to this short video (the video below is prepared for regular houses, but the measuring concepts are the same):
If your space forces you to put the appliances next to each other, in average, you will need between 45 – 60 inches space horizontally. If you opt in for compact washer and dryers for your tiny house, around 45 inched would be enough.
I have gone through different appliance sites and collected the average dimensions for washers and dryers. You will have an idea about your washer and dryer space requirements after checking the below table.
|Washer / Dryer Type||Average Width||Average Depth||Average Height||Average Capacity|
|Compact Washing Machine||20-24 inch||20-25 inch||28-40 inch||2 – 3 cu ft.|
|Standard Washing Machine||27-28 inch||27-31 inch||35-40 inch||4 – 5.5 cu ft.|
|Compact Dryer||20-25 inch||20-25 inch||25-35 inch||3 – 4.5 cu ft.|
|Standard Dryer||27-28 inch||27-31 inch||35-40 inch||6 – 7.5 cu ft.|
|Stacked Washer and Dryer||27-28 inch||30-34 inch||70-80 inch||4 – 5.5 cu ft.|
|Washer and Dryer Combo (ventless)||20-25 inch||20-25 inch||30-35 inch||2 – 4.5 cu ft.|
I have added only the average dimensions into this table. There are some extreme cases. For example there is a dryer with dimensions: 19.5 * 15 * 23.5 inch (Panda dryer). Its dimensions are considerable smaller than average compact dryers. However, there’s a result of this minimalistic design: the washing capacity is only 1.5 cu ft.
Useful tip: Some manufacturers don’t include the chrome ring around the doors for the depth measurement, so while the washer specifications say it’s 30 inches deep, it can really be closer to 32. When you decide the washer and dryer model, before making the purchase, better to check the actual dimensions in the store and compare with your available space.
Maybe you have never dealt with washer and dryers and you have no idea about the required capacity for a family, or just for yourself. So, here is a quick guide for you for the required washer and dryer capacities:
One to two person household can use a small to medium size washer (1.8 to 3.5 cu ft) while a family should opt for a large washer (3.6 to 5.1 cu ft). The dryer should be almost twice as large as the washer so wet clothes can tumble freely and dry more quickly.
How Much Room Do You Need Behind A Washer And Dryer? (How Close Can Dryer Be To Wall?)
As you know, the washer and dryers have multiple connections for various functions:
- washer hoses for hot and cold water (washing machine)
- drain hose for dirty water (washing machine)
- power cable (for both washing machine and dryer)
- ventilation (dryer). Especially ventilation takes some space. If you use ‘periscope dryer vent’, it may help you to save a couple inches.
- gas connection (if dryer is gas version). For tiny houses, yes it is possible to use gas dryers with propane tanks.
To run all those items, washer and dryers need additional space at the back.
As a general rule, it is suggested that you leave min. 2 inches space behind washers, and min. 6 inches space behind dryers; and 1 inch around them.
Obviously, if your washer and dryer are top loader version, you will need to check the lid size as well (usually they are about 20 inches). Otherwise, you may have problems to load and unload the machines.
What Is A Washer Dryer Combo For A Tiny House?
A washer and dryer combo is just one appliance that can wash and dry. Even though it has multiple settings, most of the time you just start the washer dryer combo, and it goes through all the cycle, including drying. So; there’s no additional step for you to move the clothes from one machine to another one and run it.
I was born and raised in Turkey, and back in my country almost all the homes have washer dryer combos. Up until I move to US, I wasn’t aware the 2 different machines as washing machine and dryer. So; combos are very common machines and you can trust their functionality.
Washer dryer combos are great inventions, especially for the small spaces, like tiny houses. Most of the combos have average depth 20-25 inch, and average width 20-25 inch. Comparing to regular washing machines and dryer; you are not only gaining 1 full machine space, but also additional a couple inches as well.
Most of the washer dryer combos in the market has 2-4 cu ft load capacity. This capacity is enough for a family of 2 (running 2-3 times a week). But if your family is bigger, you may need to run washer dryer a couple extra times in a week.
If you can spare a couple more inches for a bigger washer dryer combo, there are some products in the market with bigger loading capacities. For example, LG has a model with 4.5 cu ft load capacity, but its dimensions are a little bigger than the average: 30.25 inches depth * 27 inches width.
What Is The Smallest Washer Dryer Combo Available?
The smallest washer dryer combo (with a good user rating) that I was able to find was a DECO product. It has 22 inch (depth) * 23.5 inch (width) * 33.5 (height) dimensions. It has different color options (red, pink, white, or gray), so you can pick the right color which matches to your tiny house interior design.
However, small washer dryers are coming with their own disadvantages: Mainly capacity is the problem. The example product that I have mentioned above has 1.57 cu ft. loading capacity. If you will be living alone in your tiny house, this washer dryer would be enough. But, even for 2 people it would be a little small.
Is There A Portable Washer Dryer Combo?
If your tiny house some space for a washer dryer combo, but its location is not great to install a washer dryer, you may consider buying a portable one.
Mostly; portable washer dryer combos are considered as semi-automatic washer dryers.
There are portable washer dryer combos in the market, which are mainly produced for small spaces (tiny houses) and you can move them around.
Portable washer driers are usually using spin drying technology, so no duct is needed for dryer. Usually they have 2 water connections (clean water, and drain hose) and a power connection. You can simply attach the water hose to your faucet, place the drain to a proper place and run it.
An example one is from Super Deal brand with the dimensions (23 * 13.5 * 26 inches). The machine is not only portable, but also small as well.
As usual; the small size comes with its limitations. This machine has only 8 lbs washing capacity, and 5 lbs spin dry capacity. Just to give you an idea about the capacity; you can wash 4 to 6 shirts or pants.
Where Do You Put A Washer And Dryer In A Tiny House?
In ideal situations, you should be putting the washer and dryer in an area close to your ‘wet’ areas (kitchen, bathroom, wc, etc.) in your tiny house. This will make the plumbing and water hose connections easier.
However, we don’t live in the perfect world. Sometimes, we need to find clever solutions for our daily problems. In case you need to put your washer dryer in a different place (because of space limitations), you will need to think about the hose connections and piping solution.
While you are coming up with a solution, think also about possible problems down the road. For example, if you install the piping behind drywall, you may end up with a big bill in case of a piping problem.
If you cannot install your washer dryer next to your bathroom or kitchen, I suggest you to work with a plumber during the design phase.
What Size Is A Normal Laundry Room In A Tiny House?
A laundry room (also called a utility room) is a room where clothes are washed and dried. However, because of the space limitations, it is very rare to see typical laundry room in tiny houses.
So, what size is a normal laundry room in a tiny house? The answer is; “as small as possible”. Maybe 20 – 25 sq ft area would be enough for a tiny house laundry room.
If you decide not to have a laundry room in your tiny house, you need to be creative to find a good location for the washer and dryer. Maybe underneath the stairs? or under the kitchen countertop?
Any other creative solutions? If you want to showcase your solution, let me know and I’ll be happy to add your washer dryer location solution in here.
What To Consider When Selecting A Washer And Dryer For A Tiny House?
By now, you have pretty good understanding about the washer and dryers in tiny houses. As a conclusion, I would like to give yo a short list, so you can analyze your situation and requirements to find the best washer dryer for your specific circumstances:
Space limitations: If you have a dedicated spot for the washer and dryer, you need to measure the available space before starting your research. Don’t forget to add extra space behind (2-6 inches) and around (1 inch) the machines.
Washing requirements: How big is your family? And how often you will be running washer and dryer? If you have a family of 4 (with small kids) and if you buy a washing machine with limited loading capacity, you may end up doing laundry every single day of the week. Better to do the calculation at the beginning.
Additional plumbing requirements: Where are you planning to install the washing machine and dryer? If they will be away from water sources, maybe this is a good time to get some input from a professional plumber.
Power consumption: What kind of electricity you have in your tiny house? Some models (especially dryers) may need 220-240 volt electricity; which may be too much for your tiny house.
Water consumption: If your tiny house is off grid and wondering how much water the washing machines use for each cycle; here is some information for you: Standard washing machines use about 15 – 20 gallons of water for each run.
As I have explained in detail in another article (Are Tiny Houses Self Contained? Water / Power Systems Explained) , off grid tiny houses have freshwater tanks for water needs. They are in various sizes; but in average ~50 gallon tanks are common. If your washing machine uses 15 – 20 gallon water for each run, it will take only a couple of days to run out water. In my opinion, regular washer dryers are not a good solution for off grid tiny houses.
There are some higher efficiency models in the market. However, if you ask me, for proper washing machine usage in tiny houses, better to be hooked up to a water source.
Noise level: This is one of the most overlooked items when selecting a washer dryer. In regular houses, the noise level is not important. Most of the time, people have laundry rooms, mostly in basements. Even if the noise level is high, it doesn’t bother anyone. However, the situation is different for tiny houses. The space is limited, and if the washer dryer makes too much noise, it will definitely bother you. So, better to check the noise level before making the final decision.
What Other Methods Are There For Laundry?
If you don’t want an additional appliance in your tiny house or if you don’t have available space, laundromats are there for your usage.
-Unfortunately- Not all laundromats are great. Some are dirty, some have bad smell, etc. But, if you can find a good one in your location, it may be a great solution for your laundry needs, rather than investing in to washer and dryer.
Manual Washing Machines and Portable Spin Dryers
A manual washing machine is a tool that you use to wash your clothes, with total manual work – including adding water, adding detergent, spinning the machine for wash, and draining water.
A portable spin dryer is a tool that you use to dry your clothes by using your muscle power.
I personally don’t believe that these washer and dryers can be used for a full family; with 3 reasons: too much water consumption, too slow and too much work. Maybe they can be used as complementary.
While learning about manual washer and dryers, I found a really good video from Tiny House Expedition. Check it out, you will have in depth understanding about manual washer dryers after watching the video:
Semi-Automatic Washing Machines
Semi-automatic washing machines and dryers are the appliances that help you clean and dry your clothes, with some help from you.
They don’t do all the tasks by themselves, for example you will need to fill up the water to the desired level, and set the machine running time by yourself. But later on, without your involvement, it washes your clothes.
Once the clean cycle is completed, you will need to move the clothes to another compartment in the machine and run the dryer.
Again, for you to understand the process; I have found a video on youtube. Here it is:
If you don’t have enough space for a dryer, you have another option to dry your clothes: Hang drying.
In general, hang drying has some advantages. For example it helps to avoid the heat damage that can be caused by traditional dryers. Delicate fabrics, such as those used in activewear, underwear, and jeans, can also lose their shape and fit due to the harsh tumbling and heat of the dryer.
However, there is one important point for you to keep in mind when using hang drying inside the tiny house: The amount of humidity increases rapidly in such a small space and it may encourages the mold growth – which is dangerous for our health.
So, I suggest you to use hang drying method only outside.