Many washers and dryers can prove difficult for blind and partially sighted people to use, as touchscreen control panels are becoming increasingly common. Machines offering tactile interfaces can be hard to find. Yet the trend toward integrating appliances with smartphone apps and voice assistants should ultimately offer potential benefits for blind and partially sighted people, once prices for these so-called smart or connected models start to come down.
When searching for accessible washing machines, dryers and washer-dryer combinations, look out for features such as tactile controls or detailed audio feedback. For inspiration, check out this list of useful washing machine features for blind and partially sighted people and this table of easy-to-use washing machines, published by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC) in May 2019.
Bosch offer a free tactile adaptation service for some of their appliances. You can check if a Bosch appliance qualifies for free tactile adaptation by providing their customer service team with an appliance model number. You can contact the team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We strongly recommend verifying model compatibility with the Bosch adaptation service before finalising any purchase decision.
Using your smartphone
Whirlpool and Bosch have both started manufacturing smart appliances designed to be compatible with voice assistants. Amazon Alexa remains the most commonly supported voice assistant platform, though Google Assistant is likely to become more widely supported by appliance manufacturers over time.
Samsung manufacture a wide range of household appliances, all of which connect with their SmartThings Hub.
Simple devices such as sock-locks can be particularly handy for blind and partially sighted people. They allow you to attach pairs of socks, so that they stay together in the wash.