Question: How can you make laundry machines tactile for use by a visually impaired individual?

To use laundry machines independently for pre-shrinking fabric, the machines should be marked with tactile labels indicating cycle, load size and temperature dials/settings. This will allow the user to select the correct load size, temperature and cycle for the fabric. Pre-shrinking fabric before making a project is important for consistent accuracy of size when the piece is cleaned after sewn and used.

Marking the Laundry Machines

Supplies Needed:
Braille Labels- “Braillable” labels   And / or
Tactile Labels- “Spotters”, “Loc-dots”, “Small Transparent Bump-ons”, sand paper,   hook and loop fasteners or “Velcro”
Craft scissors- to cut to size “Braillable”, sandpaper or hook and loop labels
Rubber cement or glue
Alcohol and cotton balls to clean surface

When labeling, it is important to devise a system that works best for the visually impaired individual, rather than the sighted person marking the machine. To accomplish this, ask the visually impaired person what format of labeling is most useful for them and which settings do they use the most that should be labeled. Before adhering any labels, I first clean the surface area with alcohol where the label will be placed. Some labels are self-adhesive; others such as the sandpaper need to be adhered with rubber cement or glue.

Braille labels: Mark in braille on the Braillable labels: two P’s for the perma press cycle, two R’s for the regular cycle, one R for the rinse cycles, a full braille cell for off, and W for warm water. Warm is usually in the middle of the hot and cold choices, so hot and cold will be on the left and right of the W, and do not need to be marked. Too many markings may be confusing. Remove the adhesive backing to put these adhesive labels on the machine at the appropriate cycle positions.

Tactile labels: Decide which of the tactile markings will work for you for each setting. I have used the softest part of the hook and loop fastener for perma press or gentle cycles while using the rough sandpaper for regular cycle. Combining this with bump dots and braille may be helpful. Let the visually impaired person decide what their system of labeling will be, as they are the ones using the system.

Independent Living Aids, phone 800-537-2118, “Braillable” labels are Braille able plastic adhesive labels in sizes of 1-inch and 2-inch rectangular, 4-inch x 4-inch; Spotters, Loc-dots or Small Transparent Bump-ons

Local Fabric store- Hook and loop fasteners

Local Hardware store- sandpaper

Keep on enjoying more independence in the needle arts without sight process!