Before replacing or purchasing a washing machine for the first time, you'll need to measure the space it will occupy to get the right sized machine. Unlike a furniture fixture or cabinetry, washing machines will "move" during operation. Most will vibrate during use and some will shimmy slightly back and forth or side to side while operating. The space requirements are necessary not only for operation but to gain access for repairs, if the need arises.
Remove any objects that currently occupy the space in which the clothes washer will be installed. The area must be free of any obstructions to obtain a proper measurement of the space.
Measure the total space that the appliance will occupy next to the clothes dryer. Write down the width and depth measurements. Washers generally range in size from 25 to 27 inches wide and 25 to 34 inches in depth.
Purchase a clothes washer that will fit inside the measured space. As a rule of thumb, a clothes washer, as well as clothes dryers, need to be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart and the same distance from walls on either side. In addition, there should be about 1 foot between the washer and the wall behind it.
Install the washer into the space, leaving enough room on each side. For instance, a washer that is 27 inches wide and 30 inches deep will need a space requirement of 31 inches wide and be 3 1/2 feet deep.