How much space does a washing machine need round the sides?

When installing a washing machine you need to consider how much space it has around it. They should not be packed tightly into a space with no room for air to circulate. I recently received the following related query –

We need to buy a new washing machine. The width of the space available is just 600 mm. A local retailer recommended having a gap of at least a quarter of an inch on either side..

..This leaves an available width of at most 587 mm, which seems to rule out all the standard-size machines currently on the market. Do you agree with the advice I was given?

Ideally a gap all the way round would help air flow and give some leeway if the machine moves about on spin. However, the standard gap designed into fitted kitchens for an appliance is 600mm.


Washing machine manufacturers are making plenty of washing machines at 600mm width and they must know they will only just fit. They clearly aren’t concerned.

The greatest source of vital air circulation is from underneath the washing machine so make sure the air circulation isn’t impeded by carpets, rugs etc.

If there’s also a gap at the top of the washing machine that will also aid air circulation. Built in washing machines also have no gap at all at the sides.

Related article: Washing machines and associated problems with sizes

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