Cabinet installation needs a creative fix

MuffettJanuary 30, 2014

A custom designed cabinet was built for my kitchen to hold the washer and dryer. The louvered doors recess into the cabinet.

It looks beautiful. However, when the washer was placed inside, the dispenser tray does not extend far enough past the door frame to be accessible. This is exacerbated by the rounded door. The washer is an HE5T Kenmore Elite.

Does anyone have a similar setup that works? Can anyone think of a creative solution?

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A top down view...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 5:08PM
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The drawer should be fully removable for cleaning. Pull it out further for adding your laundry products.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Oops...very annoying oversight.

Dadoes is correct...assuming you can reach and depress the little plastic lever in there to release it....which you will want to do occasionally anyway to give the thing an inspection and/or cleaning from time-to-time.

If your loads only take normal doses of detergent and softener, you could use funnels...messy and inconvenient, but would probably work. If you ever use liquid bleach, that drawer would have to come out to get to the dispenser.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 6:39PM
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I was hoping someone had a brilliant solution that didn't involve dispenser removal or a funnel for every load of certainly takes some of the shine off of laundry on the main floor instead of the dank basement.

Does anyone know of a maybe a flatter front washer? Are there any FL washers with the dispenser tray in a different location? Swapping out the washer may be the least annoying solution.

I've had visions of washing machine on a giant pull out tray, a hole in the granite above the dispenser through which to pour, a curved door design, raising the entire cabinet...

I know I've seen photos of enclosed washer dryer units on Houzz. I foresee a new 'search' in my future. :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:37PM
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Perhaps removing the doors on the cabinet so you can pull the washer out further to access the tray. You can then use pretty curtains in front.

Or change the framing of the front of cabinet so that the cabinet doors are not recessed in the frame. That would also allow you to pull out the washer a bit to access the tray.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:07AM
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Washers like this are too heavy for convenient frequent pull-out and must bear firmly on their floor/base in any event in order to operate correctly. Machine needs to remain immovable/stationary.

I am aware of no FL's that do not have top-side dispenser-drawers. There may be smaller-dimensioned models that give you a little more room....but it seems to me they would still be inconvenient.

Unless you're willing to cut a big U in the counter, I agree you're due for a re-think.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:08AM
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Is it possible to move the washer slightly to the right? From the picture it looks like a quarter of an inch might do it,

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:50PM
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This looks like a case of form over function. It certainly looks nice but half of the detergent drawer is non-functional and how do you keep the washer's door ajar to let it air out?

Anyway, removing the small clip that prevents the drawer from falling out let's you pull the drawer out by about another inch. I just tried it.

Alternatively, you can add powdered detergent to the drum (near the front edge) before adding laundry. Quote from a recent Whirlpool user manual:

"Oxi-type boosters or color-safe bleach can be added to the drum prior to adding laundry."

If you must use a liquid detergent... go for Pods. As far as softener is concerned. I'd either use dryer sheets or fill softener into a bottle with a small spout (empty JetDry bottle or similar) so it's easier to aim at the dispenser.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:49PM
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If I am understanding this correctly, you are saying that the louvered cabinet door itself is prohibiting the detergent drawer to be pulled out fully?

If that is the case, you could have a wood worker notch out the inside of the cabinet door to accommodate the needed clearance of the detergent door. That is if the hinge placement will allow you to do so.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Form over function indeed. Despite the current trend to ''build in'' washers and dryers, it remains a very bad idea. As mentioned previously, you need to leave the washer door open much of the time, and you need more ventilation around the machine than the louvered doors provide. They also need to be pulled forward frequently to access the water and drain lines and for repair. An enclosure that small around the machines makes that normal maintenance virtually impossible by a homeowner.

Remove the enclosure entirely.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:43PM
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Thanks for all the comments. I'm working with the cabinet maker on alternatives including a different door style. In my small ranch, I had limited choices of where to place the washer/dryer on the main floor - in a custom cabinet seemed to be the best option.

I do have a panel in the wall behind the washer / dryer that allows easy access to the water shut off as well as the dryer vent.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 3:49PM
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How much room is in the back of the washer and dryer area? Are the cabinets open inside that would allow you switch the washer with the dryer?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:49AM
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One of the smaller, flat front, front load washers would probably work.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:08PM
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I notice that your top cabinets are full overlay (if that is the correct term), but the cabinet in question doesn't seem to mimic that design. Would that tweak in door design make a difference in your hinge/overlay problem?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:44PM
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