Seven accessibility features for washing machines

Picture of a dial and touch screen on a washing machine

Are you looking for a washing machine that's accessible and easy if you are blind or partially sighted, or have dexterity issues?

Here are the top seven ease-of-use features to ask for when you are considering buying a new washing machine:

1. Tactile features

  • Has the machine got tactile markings on the control panel, like raised notches or arrows on the dial that line up with settings?
  • Does the dial click (slot) into place?
  • Does the detergent tray have tactile markings for compartments and fill lines?

2. Audio output

  • Are there audible tones on the buttons or keypad?
  • Is there any audio output to let you know when a wash cycle has finished?
  • Are there audible alerts to warn you about problems with the settings, cycle or machine?

3. Visual contrast

  • Are buttons or controls lit with LED lights?
  • Is the control interface a touch screen?
  • Is the control interface a digital-only display?
  • Is there good colour contrast between the markings and their background?

4. Simplicity

  • Is it easy to use the buttons and/or dial to select a programme or setting?
  • Are the settings and controls well spaced?
  • Are the controls manual, electronic, or a combination of both?
  • Does the machine have auto-dosing for the detergent?¬†

5. Verification

  • Is there any indication of programme status or time remaining? If so, how is this displayed?
  • What sort of confirmation do you receive when setting the machine? For instance, does the dial click into place? Do the buttons beep or light up?
  • How will you know when you've reached maximum fill level in the detergent tray? Is this indication tactile, audio, and/or visual?
  • Can you pause the cycle or change the programme mid-cycle if necessary? And if so, is this done manually or electronically?

6. Maintenance

  • Does the machine have an auto clean capability?
  • Is the detergent tray easy to remove and clean?
  • Does the machine alert you when there's a problem? If so, how is this warning given? For instance, beeps or flashing lights.
  • Is the 'fluff collector' accessible?

7. Smart features

  • Is the machine internet enabled?¬†
  • Do the smart features on the app provide any touch or audio feedback?
  • Can you access all the machine programmes through the app?