Are Portable Washing Machines the Answer for Apartments?

In the modern age, portable washing machines are a game-changer, offering a space-saving and convenient way to tackle laundry in an apartment setting.

These compact machines bring the convenience of laundry right into your living space without the need for a dedicated laundry room.

Are portable washing machines good for apartments and can they be used? Yes, portable washing machines are generally well-suited for apartment living, but it’s essential to consult with landlords and local authorities to ensure you’re abiding by any legal restrictions.

This article will go through the mechanics of portable washing machines, the pros and cons of using a portable washer in an apartment, legal considerations, and much more so that you have a roadmap if you are planning to use a portable washer in your apartment.

How Do Portable Washing Machines Work?

Unlike traditional washing machines, a portable washer doesn’t require permanent washer and dryer hookups.

Instead, they can be connected to a standard faucet for water supply and often come with a hose for easy drainage.

The operation is straightforward, you add your clothes and laundry detergent, set the wash cycle, and let the machine do its work.

Some models even come with a dryer function or can be paired with a separate portable dryer.

If not, hanging laundry on a clothesline or folding laundry after air drying are viable options.

When it comes to the maintenance of portable washing machines, regular cleaning, and proper drainage are essential.

Also Read: Working Principles of Portable Washing Machine

Top reasons why a portable washing machine may not be allowed in small apartments

  • Water Damage: Leaks from portable washers can cause costly water damage, a significant concern for landlords.
  • Noise Levels: These machines can be loud, potentially disturbing neighbors, especially in apartments with thin walls.
  • Electrical Hazards: Overloading circuits with a portable washer can pose a fire risk, raising safety concerns.
  • Code Violations: Some portable washers may breach local building codes due to weight or plumbing requirements.
  • Amenities Conflict: In complexes with communal laundry, landlords may disallow personal washers to prevent drainage issues especially when it’s a shared drainage.
  • Space Constraints: The size of portable washers can be problematic in smaller apartments, taking up valuable space.
  • Utility Costs: Using a portable washer can increase water and electricity bills, affecting the overall cost of apartment living.

Before diving into the convenience of apartment laundry with a portable washing machine, it’s crucial to take some precautions and understand the legal landscape.

Consult with the Landlord or Apartment Manager

The first step is to consult with the landlord or apartment manager.

Many lease agreements have clauses that may restrict the use of portable washing machines.

Gaining explicit permission can save you from potential legal issues down the line.

Check with the Local Building Authority

Next, it’s essential to check with the local building authority.

They can inform you about any building codes that might affect your apartment laundry setup, such as drainage, electrical networks, and water heater requirements.

Consult the Tenants Board

Finally, consult your local Tenants’ Board.

They can offer valuable insights into your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, helping you avoid any legal pitfalls.

Can a property owner evict you for having a portable washing machine? The answer largely depends on your lease agreement and local building codes.

If the lease agreement explicitly prohibits in-unit washers, or if you’re found to be in violation of building codes, you could potentially receive an eviction notice.

Therefore, it’s essential to be proactive and consult the relevant authorities to mitigate the risk of eviction for using a portable washing machine.

Additional Preparations Before Operating a Portable Washing Machine in Your Apartment

Confirm the Absence of Existing Washer and Dryer Connections

Check if your living space is pre-fitted with connections for a washing machine and dryer.

If that’s the case, you may want to think about a long-term laundry setup, since employing a mobile washer could be unnecessary in such a scenario.

Verify Easy Access to Water Supply and Adequate Drainage

Next, ensure that you have easy access to a water supply and proper drainage facilities.

The convenience of a portable washing machine can quickly turn into a hassle if you have to go to great lengths to connect it to a water source or deal with water drainage issues.

Ascertain the Machine’s True Portability

Always double-check the dimensions and details of the washer to confirm its true mobility.

Remember, not all machines labeled ‘portable’ are identical; a few might be too large or heavy to fit comfortably in your specific residence.

By being thorough in these considerations, you can facilitate an easier setup of mobile washers and sidestep complications that might emerge from neglecting these factors.

How to Choose a Portable Washing Machine for Your Apartment?

Selecting the right portable washing machine for your apartment involves more than just picking the first model you see.

Here are some factors to consider to ensure you make the best choice for your apartment laundry needs.

Consider the Size of Your Apartment and Laundry Needs

First, evaluate the size of your apartment and your laundry needs.

Make sure the portable washer you’re considering is not only compact but also suitable for apartment living.

Some machines may be advertised as portable but might be too large or cumbersome for a small space.

Choose a Machine with the Right Capacity and Features

Next, look for a machine that has the right capacity for your laundry loads.

Consider features like multiple wash cycles, temperature settings, and whether it has a fabric softener dispenser.

These features can make your laundry experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Variety of Models and Features to Consider

The market offers a wide variety of models, each with its own set of features.

From size and wash cycles to additional functionalities like delayed start or a built-in dryer, make sure to consider what features are most important to you.

Importance of Reading Reviews

User testimonials can give you a genuine perspective on the advantages and drawbacks of utilizing a portable washer in a living space.

Moreover, they might share advice on upkeep and even guide you on picking the most fitting mobile washer for your residence.

By meticulously weighing these aspects, you can judiciously pick a mobile washing machine that aligns with your apartment type.

Advantages of Portable Washing Machines in Apartments

Space Efficiency

One of the most significant benefits is space efficiency.

These appliances are small enough to fit comfortably in limited spaces like tiny apartments.

Plus, when you’re not using them, you can easily stow them in a corner or a closet, making them an ideal choice for maximizing your laundry space.

Also Read: How to store your portable washer when not in use?


The portability of these machines is another major advantage.

They can easily be moved around, making them highly convenient for different living situations, whether you’re relocating within the building or moving to a new apartment.

Ease of Installation

Unlike traditional washing machines, portable washers require no complex plumbing or electrical work.

This makes the installation of portable washing machines a breeze, even for those who aren’t particularly handy.

Cost Efficiency

When it comes to cost efficiency, portable washing machines shine.

Their initial cost is generally lower than that of traditional machines, and they consume less power and water, leading to long-term savings on utility and water costs.

Flexibility and Control

The flexibility and control offered by portable washing machines are unparalleled.

You have the freedom to do laundry at any time that suits you, and the machines’ smaller capacity allows for washing smaller loads, offering more control over your laundry routine.


These machines are also eco-friendly. Their lower water and energy consumption make them a more sustainable choice, aligning with growing environmental consciousness.

Special Care for Delicate Items

For those with delicate garments, the gentle wash cycles and smaller load sizes are ideal.

This allows for special care for delicate items, ensuring your clothes stay in top condition.

Alternative to Traditional Laundry Facilities

Mobile washers are a great substitute for conventional laundry options, particularly for individuals who find it challenging to access these services.

This makes them a practical choice for a wide range of apartment dwellers.

Disadvantages and Considerations

While portable washing machines offer numerous advantages for apartment living, there are also some drawbacks and considerations to keep in mind.

Landlord Restrictions

Firstly, landlord restrictions can be a significant hurdle.

Some landlords may prohibit the use of portable washing machines due to concerns about water damage or increased utility and water costs.

Always check your lease agreement and consult your landlord before making a purchase.

Noise and Disturbance

Another issue is noise and disturbance, portable washing machines can sometimes be noisy during operation, which might disturb your neighbors, especially in a multi-unit apartment building.

Risk of Overflows or Leakages

The risk of overflows or leakages is also a concern. Improper installation or maintenance of portable washing machines can lead to water leakages, which could damage your apartment and lead to costly repairs.

Utility Costs

While generally more energy-efficient, portable washers can still increase your apartment’s water and utility bills. It’s essential to factor this into your budget.

Smaller Capacity

The smaller capacity of portable washing machines compared to full-sized ones means you’ll have to do laundry more frequently, which might not be ideal for everyone.

Cleaning Efficiency

Additionally, the cleaning efficiency of portable washing machines may not be on par with larger models.

This could be a drawback if you have heavily soiled clothes or larger items like comforters.

Risk of Leaks

Lastly, the risk of leaks is always present, especially if the machine is not properly maintained.

Regular checks and proper washing machine maintenance can mitigate this risk but cannot eliminate it entirely.

Final Thoughts

Portable washing machines offer a range of pros and cons for apartment living.

These machines offer a compact and handy solution for laundry tasks, yet they also present unique hurdles like possible property owner limitations and added expenses for utilities.

By thoughtfully assessing these advantages and disadvantages, you can arrive at a well-informed conclusion on whether a portable washer aligns with your apartment’s needs or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t my apartment have a washing machine?

The inability to have a washing machine in your apartment could be due to various reasons such as building codes, lease restrictions, or existing amenities like communal laundry facilities.

How can I hide my portable washing machine?

You can tuck your mobile washer inside a cupboard, beneath a tabletop, or behind a stylish drape. The objective is to locate an area that is not only practical but also inconspicuous.

Where should the portable washing machine placed in a small apartment?

In a small apartment, consider placing your portable washing machine in the bathroom, kitchen, or storage closet. Ensure it’s near a water source and drainage for convenience.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)