I'm looking for the word for a room, part of an apartment house, that would be used to do laundry. In Germany there are sometimes these "tenants' laundromats" – and also in Scandinavia I have seen rooms shared by the tenants, usually equipped with a couple of washing machines. Sometimes there is also a drying room, where you can hang the laundry. Any pointers appreciated! Thanks!


10 Answers 10


This is usually just called the "laundry room". It could be for a single apartment or house, or it could be a communal space with several washers and dryers.

  • My last flat (apartment) had a big cupboard, accessable from the communal hallway, which had previously served as a washing and drying space for all the tenants. They all referred to it as "the laundry room". Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 11:16
  • I've also heard some realtors refer to it as simply "the laundry."
    – Crashworks
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 0:56

In the UK it's a utility room.

Utility room

Image from Orkney self-catering.

utility room

a room with equipment for domestic work like washing and ironing



For private residences/apartments, we say laundry room and sometimes utility room. Laundromats are usually referring to much larger commercial businesses, that house numerous washers and dryers.


I would call the room "the laundry", without specifying the word "room". In fact, the phrase "kitchen and laundry" commonly appears in advertising (particularly real estate listings).

Here's a quote from an arbitrary commercial page which showed up when I searched for "kitchen and laundry":

The laundry is the engine room of your home, helping you keep everything in perfect running order. With our extensive range of laundry tapware, troughs, wastes and more you can create a laundry space that will look great and be enjoyable to use.

That is an Australian site, and I grew up in New Zealand, but the Oxford English Dictionary provides a definition includes a definition without indicating country-specific notes:

  1. A room in a house, hotel, or institution where clothes and linen can be washed and ironed: the pathology department was in the hospital basement, next to the laundry

In contrast, Merriam-Webster (an American English dictionary) does not specifically include the "room" definition - it uses the more general "business or place":

a business or place where clothes, towels, sheets, etc., are washed and dried

The comments on this answer (and, indeed, other answers) suggest that American English does not use bare "laundry" to refer to a room in a house.


In New Zealand homes they are usually called the laundry and are a separate small room, often with a clothes dryer as well. (Always find it odd to see washing machines in UK kitchens on TV.) The laundry area is also often a side area in the garage where the sink/tub is with the whiteware (washing/drying machines).

In the university hostel with a few machines, it was also referred to as the laundry.


In Australia it's called a laundry.

laundry noun

a room in a house, hotel or institution where clothes and linen can be washed and ironed

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

A basic laundry would have a washing machine, a dryer and a sink.

A typical laundry

An image of a typical laundry

Source: Bunnings


I suggest "communal laundry". A Google search for that phrase (in quotes) yields around 247,000 hits, so the expression is reasonably common.

The word "communal" brings in the sense of "common" or "shared", and "laundry" is the thing that is shared. It also distinguishes the room from a private laundry that someone might have in their own apartment.


In the southern US this is still referred to as the laundry room (I add regionality since other US regions may call it the utility room or wash room).

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure "wash room" always refers to a room with a toilet. (A bath/shower may also be implied in some areas.) Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 20:40
  • Wash room is the toilet. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 2:00
  • It's interesting that it is called a "laundry room" but no-one (that I am aware of) refers to a "kitchen room". As for "bath room" - that is ambiguous where I come from (Australia). If I hadn't watched a lot of American TV, I would assume you wanted a bath, if you asked for the bathroom. I know of quite a few houses where the toilet doesn't have hand-washing facilities, so the toilet, and the wash room, are quite separate places. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 11:10

When I was a child we had a room called a scullery which served the purpose described.

A definition from wikipedia "A scullery is a room in a house traditionally used for washing up dishes and laundering clothes, or as an overflow kitchen when the main kitchen is overloaded."

  • 3
    This word is somewhat archaic, though, and wouldn't be used to refer to a room in a typical family home nowadays. Its etymology is probably linked with the term "scullions", referring to the servants who would typically work in a scullery.
    – user89175
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 23:20

Merriam Webster: Full Definition of LAUNDROMAT —used for a self-service laundry.

Dictionary,com: Laundromat - a self-service laundry having coin-operated washers, driers, etc.; launderette.

OED lists laundrette and laundromat as synonyms for laundry: A room in a house, hotel, or institution where clothes and linen can be washed and ironed.

It seems that laundry, laundrette, and laundromat all work as single words for the intended meaning, even for a noncommercial establishment.

Here's some interesting history behind the word laundromat, supposedly from the son of the inventor who coined the term.

  • 7
    Most people in the US would understand "Laundromat" (a trademark, I believe) to mean a commercial self-service laundry, in a public location, vs an installation in an apartment building intended for the residents.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 18:47
  • @HotLicks You’re right. I believe that for laundromat, the OED actually says only "Laundromat /ˈlɔːndrəʊmæt/. orig. U.S. Also laundromat. Etymology: See -mat. The proprietary name of a brand of automatic washing machines; also, by extension, a launderette. 1943 Trade Marks Jrnl. 14 July 300/1 ― Laundromat. Domestic electric washing (laundering) machines. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company··Pennsylvania. (...)" I’ve no idea what Isaac is referring to; he should provide a proper citation, as I believe he has gone to the wrong website altogether, probably ODO not OED.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 19:52
  • Please provide a synopsis for what’s in your link, because that link will eventually go dead.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 19:56
  • 1
    @HotLicks I'm in the UK, and would interpret "laundromat" and "laundrette" in the way you describe. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 12:35

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