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!
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:
- 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.
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.
An image of a typical laundry
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.
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.