In the United Kingdom, the term “white goods” almost always refers to large home appliances, in particular: washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, fridges, freezers, cookers, microwaves and hobs. These don’t necessarily have to be white-coloured to be defined as white goods in the UK. White goods can additionally include small domestic appliances such as kettles, toasters, vacuum cleaners, heaters and other electrical items.
The 2 Types Of White Goods In The UK
1. Kitchen Appliances
These kitchen items are almost always thought of as white goods in the UK:
- Fridges & Freezers
The following kitchen appliances may be considered white goods:
- Rice Cookers
- Ice Makers
- Slow Cookers/Electric Crock Pots
- Food Blenders
- Smoothie Makers
- Air Fryers
- Home Grills/Toastie Presses (i.e. George Foreman Grills)
- Coffee Makers
- Electric Stand Makers
2. Laundry and Cleaning Appliances
The following laundry and cleaning appliances are almost always thought of as white goods in the UK:
- Washing Machines (including Free-Standing and Integrated Washers)
- Tumble Dryers (including Heat Pumps and Integrated Tumble Dryers)
- Washer Dryers
The following are sometimes considered white goods, but not always:
- Trouser Presses
- Electric Fans
- Air Conditioning Units/HVAC
- Vacuum Cleaners
- Electric Heaters
- Hair Dryers
International English Names For White Goods
- USA: The terms “major appliances”, “home appliances” and “large appliances” are used in lieu of white goods.
- Republic of Ireland: The term white goods is occasionally used, but you’re more likely to encounter “kitchen appliances” and “home appliances”.
- Canada: “Home appliances”, “kitchen appliances” and “home & kitchen appliances” are all Canadian English equivalents to white goods.
- Australia: The term “home appliances” or “household appliances” is typically used. Some Australian sources use the name “white goods” while others, including official Australian consumer law, spell it as the single-worded “whitegoods”.
- New Zealand: The terms “whitewear” and “whitewear appliances” are used almost exclusively in New Zealand, although “appliances”, “kitchen appliances” and “laundry appliances” are equally common.
White Goods As Properties
If you’re buying or renting a property in the UK, you’re likely to find white goods mentioned in your tenancy agreement. Landlords have no legal obligation to provide tenants with white goods unless explicitly mentioned in a signed contract and if they do so, electrical appliances must pass PAT testing.
However, it’s common for large and bulky domestic white goods, like cookers (including hobs/stoves) and fridges, to be included as part of a property. The person responsible for cleaning, maintaining and repairing white goods in a rental property may be the tenant, estate agent or landlord.
If you buy a property that comes furnished with white goods, or purchase white goods with your own for money, then you are responsible for the health and safety of these appliances in your home. you have a range of legal protections and obligations under British law.
White Goods Grants & Loans UK
White goods are an essential part of modern life. However, access to white goods in the UK isn’t universal.
New appliances can be expensive and used appliances are hard to transport, especially if you don’t own a car or van. The following services provide advice, support and access to free and reduced-price white goods to people in the UK:
- turn2us is a UK-wide poverty support charity. They campaign for better living conditions, improvements to the benefits system and other social issues. The Turn2us website is frequently updated to include the latest white goods support schemes and grants.
- Glasspool (The Glasspool Charity Trust) provides one-off payments to help people in financial difficulty secure white goods.
Some councils, especially those in the North of England, offer a unique grant known as the Local Welfare Provision (LWP). People with a low assessed household income may be eligible for free or reduced-cost white goods under this scheme.
In England alone, there are approximately 30 fires caused by white goods every day! Learning as much as you can about white goods:
If you own a white good and it becomes damaged, contact the manufacturer in the first instance. You may have a warranty in place, protecting your right to a refund or repair within a certain time period (usually 1 – 3 years).
If the item isn’t covered by a warranty or guarantee, always choose an approved repairer to fix white goods. Visit the government-approved website registermyappliance.org.uk for more information regarding white goods.
Attempting to fix damaged white goods yourself can be extremely dangerous – visit the Whitegoods Trade Association website for guidance on finding reputable white goods repairers across the UK.
Where To Recycle White Goods In The UK
Almost all household white goods can be recycled for free at council-owned recycling centres. However, this is easier said than done. Recycling centres in the UK, especially those located in large urban areas, are often too small to keep up with demand.
White goods are sometimes disposed of incorrectly. Some individuals and businesses illegally dump their used or unwanted appliances on other people’s land. In all of Britain’s legal systems, leaving white goods on public or private land, without the owner’s express consent, is a crime.
This act is known as “fly-tipping” – for more information on how to legally get rid of white goods in England, Wales and Scotland, visit the Keep Britain Tidy website.
If you don’t own a vehicle, recycling white goods in the UK can be hard. Some councils offer a bulky item collection service. For a small fee, your council may be able to collect white goods for recycling at your home address.
Private waste collection services, which operate all over Britain, are another option for white goods recycling and removal. However, their convenience comes at a cost – their white goods fees may be even higher for short-notice collections.