Dishwashers have become a staple kitchen appliance in most households, and as they’re growing in popularity, the features and functions of dishwashers are rapidly developing and improving.
When choosing a dishwasher, it’s important to find one that suits you personally and is appropriate for your lifestyle. There are many standards and certificates that dishwashers are manufactured towards, and these may indicate the quality of the appliance, as well as acting as a reassurance for customers that the dishwasher has been tested and examined.
Some certificates confirm that the appliance is energy-efficient, while others explore its safety, amongst others. However, some dishwashers are ADA-compliant, and this is a standard to be met for a specific customer. Appliances that are ADA-compliant are designed to target people with disabilities, who may need their products to be more physically accessible.
What is ADA-compliance?
If a product is ADA-compliant, it means that it meets the standards set by The Americans with Disabilities Act, an organisation that was enforced in 1990 and specialises in removing discrimination against people with disabilities, so that they have equal opportunities and access to the same things as everybody else.
There are various areas that this organisation targets, including employment, education, transport, telecommunications and all places that are open to the general public.
The ADA claims to aim in ‘removing barriers and empowering people’, and while their role is to get rid of discrimination and provide more opportunities for people with disabilities, many products have aimed to meet this specific standard.
For a product to be ADA-compliant, it will either be designed especially to ensure that it’s accessible for customers with disabilities, or it will simply meet the standards.
There are lots of popular household products that are ADA-compliant, and these will be listed below, where we’ll also discuss what makes them accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Examples of how households are ADA compliant
When you have a disability, especially a physical disability, then you may find that everyday appliances and household facilities aren’t designed to suit your personal needs.
This can make performing the simplest tasks seem much more difficult than they need to be, which is why so many companies have worked to meet the standards set by the ADA in order to improve everyday lives for disabled people and remove any obstacles that may be preventing them from leading an easier lifestyle.
Perhaps the most common ADA-compliant facilities found in households are bathrooms. These include shower seats that can be used in a ‘wet room’, which is a much more spacious alternative to owning a shower or bathtub, and is very popular amongst disabled homeowners.
Other examples include a ‘bathtub seat’ that can be adjusted depending on the user, or ‘grab bars’ that are built into the walls to help disabled users move around and manoeuvre independently with much more ease.
There are also a number of ADA-compliant kitchen appliances, many of which allow one-hand operations. For example, you can buy refrigerators that allow one-hand operations and are positioned so that its controls can be accessed within arm’s reach. You can also purchase cooktops and ‘ranges’ that are designed so that their controls are easy to access without having to reach over hot surfaces, with temperature indicators and ‘control-lock capability’.
Wall ovens and microwaves can also be adapted to be compliant with the standards set by the ADA. These generally have touch controls that can be operated using one hand, and are positioned at an appropriate height with easy-to-reach controls and features.
ADA-compliant washing machines and dryers are also available, and they meet these standards because they’re front-loading with wide doors, and are positioned at a suitable height that makes it easy to load and unload the machines. The controls are often at eye-level so that you can easily access them, making it quick and easy to use, regardless of physical ability.
How are dishwashers ADA compliant?
Dishwashers are just another household appliance that can be adapted to meet the standards set by the ADA. Generally, ADA compliant dishwashers are front-loading with wide, easy-to-access doors positioned at a suitable height.
The dishwasher controls are often designed to allow one-hand operation, with very little pressure to make it much easier to control. ADA compliant dishwashers, or at least their racks, are often positioned higher up so that disabled customers can load their dishes as easily as possible, and they’re often adjustable to suit the user’s personal needs.
According to the reputable household company, GE, the ADA compliance requirements for dishwashers are as follows:
- The maximum ‘high forward reach’ for the dishwasher’s controls and operating mechanisms should be 48 inches, while the maximum ‘low forward reach’ is 15 inches.
- The dishwasher’s controls and features should be able to be operated using just one hand, and they should be lightweight enough to avoid users having to grasp tightly, pinch or twist their wrist. They say that the force needed to activate the controls should be no more than 5lbs, to avoid putting any physical strain on the user.
- When it comes to loading and unloading the dishwasher, its rack space should be accessible from the front of the appliance.
Where can you buy ADA compliant dishwashers?
There’s a wide range of dishwashers available, and customers may not know where to begin when it comes to searching for the perfect one for you and your lifestyle. This can be particularly difficult for customers that have specific needs, such as disabled customers who specifically need ADA compliant products.
However, customers can easily filter their searches to find dishwashers that are adapted to benefit their personal requirements. Most manufacturer websites let customers search for specific features to quickly and easily find the product most suited for them.
For example, GE allows you to customise your search to make it as broad or as specific as you want. You can simply tick ‘ADA compliant’ under ‘features’ when searching all of their dishwasher range, and this will lead you to a page displaying all of their dishwashers that are ADA compliant, and you can then choose to filter your search even further to make it more personal for you.
Bosch also provides customers with the option to customise their search, but theirs is less specific than GE’s as it doesn’t allow you to specify a standard. However, they do include a section entitled ‘compact and ADA dishwashers’, but it’s important to investigate each product thoroughly before buying to ensure that they are definitely ADA compliant.
Alternatively, you can conduct a more general internet search for ‘ADA compliant dishwashers’, and this will lead you to sites such as AJ Madison, The Home Depot and Lowes, all of whom claim to sell ADA compliant dishwashers. You can then either choose to purchase them from your chosen site, or you can find the model elsewhere from its official site, and buy it from there.