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Washing machines in a laundry room
Some laundry rooms are built together with other utilities such as sinks

A laundry room or utility room is a room where clothes are washed, and sometimes also dried. In a modern home, laundry rooms are often equipped with an automatic washing machine and clothes dryer, and often a large basin, called a laundry tub, for hand-washing of delicate clothing articles such as sweaters, as well as an ironing board. Laundry rooms may also include storage cabinets, countertops for folding clothes, and, space permitting, a small sewing machine.

The term utility room is more commonly used in British English, while Australian English and North American English generally refer to this room as a laundry room, except in the American Southeast.[citation needed] "Utility" refers to an item which is designed for usefulness or practical use, so in turn most of the items kept in this room have functional attributes, i.e. "form follows function".


The utility room was a modern spin off to the scullery room[1][2][3] where important kitchen items were kept during its usage in England, the term was further defined around the 14th century as a household department where kitchen items are taken care of.[4][5] The term utility room was mentioned in 1760, when a cottage was built in a rural location in the United Kingdom that was accessible through Penarth and Cardiff.[6] A utility room for general purposes also depicted its use as a guest room in case of an immediate need.[7] A 1944 Scottish housing and planning report recommended new state-built homes for families could provide a utility room as a general purpose workroom for the home (for washing clothes, cleaning boots and jobbing repairs).[8] An American publication, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on July 24, 1949[9] reported that utility rooms have become more popular than basements in new constructions.[10] On June 28, 1959, in a report of a typical American house being built in Moscow, Russia, the house was described to have a utility room immediately at the right side after the entrance.[11] The Chicago Tribune reported that the laundry room was then commonly being referred to as the utility room in a September 30, 1970, publication.[12][clarification needed]


The utility room has several uses but typically functions as an area to do laundry. This room contains laundry equipment such as a washing machine, tumble dryer, ironing boards and clothes iron.[13] The room is also used for closet organization and storage. The room would normally contain a second coat closet which is used to store seasonal clothing such as winter coats or clothing which are no longer used daily.[14][15] Storage spaces would contain other appliances which would generally be in the kitchen if it was in usage daily. Furnaces and the water heater are sometime incorporated to the room as well. Shelving and trash may sometimes be seen at this area as not to congest the other parts of the house.[16]


In older homes, the laundry is typically located in the basement, but in many modern homes, the laundry room might be found on the main floor near the kitchen or, less often, upstairs near the bedrooms.[17]

Another typical location is adjacent to the garage and the laundry room serves as a mudroom for the entrance from the garage. As the garage is often at a different elevation (or grade) from the rest of the house, the laundry room serves as an entrance from the garage that may be sunken from the rest of the house. This prevents or reduces the need for stairs between the garage and the house.

Most houses in the United Kingdom do not have laundry rooms; as such, the washing machine and dryer are usually located in the kitchen or garage.[citation needed]

In Hungary, some older apartment buildings and most workers' hostels have communal laundry rooms, called mosókonyha (lit. "washing kitchen") in Hungarian. In the former, when residents started to all own individual washing machines in their apartments, obsoleted laundry rooms were sometimes converted into small apartments, shops or workshops (e.g. a shoemaker's) or used simply for storage.

See also


  1. ^ "Utility Rooms FAQ". Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  2. ^ "Utility Room". Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  3. ^ "Organized Utility Room". Hi Hut. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  4. ^ Bouknight, Joanne Kellar (2004). New kitchen idea book. Taunton Press. p. 115. ISBN 9781561586424. Retrieved 2010-03-17. modern sculleries. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  5. ^ "scullery". Douglas Harper. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  6. ^ "utility room history". Google Timeline Search for Publications on “Utility Room”. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  7. ^ "Utility Rooms". St. Petersburg Times – Aug 3, 1946. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  8. ^ Great Britain. Scottish Housing Advisory Committee (1944). Planning our new homes : report by the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee on the design, planning and furnishing of new houses. Wellcome Library. Edinburgh : H.M. Stationery Off.
  9. ^ "Utility Room Vs. Basement". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  10. ^ "Utility Room Vs. Basement". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  11. ^ "THIS HOUSE MAY MAKE HISTORY". Chicago Tribune. 1959-06-28. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  12. ^ "LAUNDRY ROOM TODAY IS A UTILITY ROOM(2)". Chicago Tribune. 1970-09-19. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  13. ^ "Utility Room Laundry Aids". Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  14. ^ "Utility Room Closet Organizers". Utility Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  15. ^ "Utility Room Storage Cabinets". Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  16. ^ "Utility Room Trash". Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  17. ^ "A Design Expert Tells Us The Mistakes To Avoid When Designing Your Laundry Room". MSN. Retrieved 2022-11-17.