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Laundry Chute Safety

Quentin Shires

Laundry chutes offer convenient ways for families or businesses to transfer their soiled clothes and other materials to the laundry room for cleaning. Laundry chutes consist of a narrow vertical passage and are commonly found in multi-level homes and businesses. Because many laundry chutes travel between different levels of a structure, it is important to gain knowledge of certain safety risks that can cause injury or death.

Chute Doors

Laundry chutes offer convenient ways to transfer soiled clothes to the laundry room.

Laundry chute doors should be 36 inches or more off the floor. This will help prevent small children from falling down the passageway or getting stuck in the chute. Purchasing a chute door that contains a child-safety locking mechanism will also lessen the risk of children injuring themselves in any way.

Fire Safety Mechanisms

Family members can increase their safety when using a laundry chute by attaching a fireproof, hinged door at the bottom of the chute. This door will only open when clothes are falling through the chute and will stay closed if there is smoke or fire coming from the basement or lower level. This will keep the upstairs free of smoke in the event of a fire.

Laundry Collection

Placing a basket at the bottom of the chute will allow laundry to be collected in one place. Not only is this convenient for homeowners, but also is an important safety precaution. A basket will help contain items of clothing in one secure location and will also allow residents of the home to be aware of any objects dropping down the chute.

Permanently Sealed Chutes

For homeowners who do not use a laundry chute or feel that it is too dangerous of a convenience, they can have their laundry chute permanently sealed. To permanently seal a laundry chute, the door to the chute is taken off and replaced with sheet rock to make a permanent seal. Another way to permanently seal a laundry chute is to bolt the door to the opening of the chute, making it impossible to open or operate.


Pipes and Wires

Sealing pipes and wires that are in and around the laundry chute with fire retardant foam will help decrease the chance of fire spreading to the upper levels of the home. If you do not seal your pipes and wires and there is a fire in the basement or lower level of the home, it can easily spread up the chute to the upper level of your home.