A laundry chute is a tube or duct that runs from one part of a home or building to another. The purpose of the laundry chute is to allow a person to drop laundry from a higher level of the home or building down into a lower level or basement where the washing machine and dryer are located. This chute must be built at a steep angle to prevent clothing from getting stuck anywhere along its length, and it must be smooth enough inside the chute to allow clothing to slide smoothly down to the lower levels.
The bottom of the laundry chute is often built into the ceiling of the laundry room or basement, and it must be positioned in such a way that clothing will not pile up in places it should not be, such as directly onto the washing machine or dryer, as this can be a fire hazard. Most laundry chute units are positioned over some sort of bin, or a laundry basket is placed under the opening, to ensure all clothing ends up contained and off the floor. Larger buildings such as hotels will often feature very large, rolling bins to collect laundry when it falls out of the laundry chute.
The specific design of a laundry chute will vary according to the building in which it is constructed, though most feature a door or other enclosure at the high point of the chute to hide it from view when not in use. This door is often hinged at its bottom so the user can pull the door or hatch downward, insert clothing that needs to be washed, and close the hatch easily. The hatch or door is built into a wall, usually in a hallway or bathroom, or in some other out-of-the-way place.
Some laundry chutes have more than one opening throughout the house or building to accommodate more laundry being transported from different parts of the building. In larger hotels, the laundry chute hatch is often located in the same place on each floor so the ductwork that makes up the chute can be reduced; the duct will usually be one vertical chute to prevent laundry from getting hung up at any joints or turns. The hatch will open up on each floor into the vertical chute, and the user can simply dump the laundry into the chute so it falls directly down into the laundry room.