Laundry Lens: An app to help with clothes washing

Apps are a great way for people living with sight loss to maintain their independence.
Read on to learn about Laundry Lens, an app that can help you to independently interpret laundry labels and wash clothes.
If you’ve ever washed clothes on the wrong wash, this may be the app for you!

Introduction to Laundry Lens

Laundry Lens, available on iOS, is a free app that allows you to scan laundry labels and identify washing instructions based on those labels. It also allows you to search and browse a comprehensive library of laundry labels to identify what they mean.

Richard from our Digital Enablement Team put the app to the test. Read what he thought below.

The Library

The Library portion of the app contains pictures of all the laundry symbols you are ever likely to encounter, including professional symbols. There is also the option to take a photo of a symbol not listed, and send it to the developer for addition to the library.

The symbols are displayed in a grid lay-out, and there is the option to search for a specific symbol by entering a term and symbols will be filtered accordingly.

This part of the app is accessible with VoiceOver in that the symbols are divided into categories such as ‘washing’ and ‘drying’, and each category has its own heading so you can easily navigate between the categories using the Headings option of the VoiceOver rotor.

However, VoiceOver only reads out the definition of each symbol – it does not give a description of the symbol itself, so this aspect of the app may not prove useful to people who solely rely on VoiceOver.

A screenshot displaying the Library screen, including 'search for a symbol' and the heading 'Washing'

The Scanner

The label scanner is the best part of the app.

This scans your clothing labels for laundry symbols and displays which symbols are found. There is the option to read the instructions associated with each laundry symbol.

The scanning is automatic, so you do not need to do anything apart from hold the phone steady. There is also the option to turn the device’s flash light on so lighting conditions do not affect the accuracy of scanning.

It usually takes a few seconds for the symbols to be scanned, and haptic feedback confirms that this is done.

Laundry Lens app

Putting the scanner to the test

I went through my laundry basket twice, once without a blindfold and once with a blindfold on.

The first time round, without a blindfold, there was 100% accuracy when scanning the symbols and I was able to split the laundry appropriately.

During this exercise, I noticed that on all the labels that I scanned, the washing instructions came first followed by any other secondary labels.

The second time round, blindfolded, I was able to locate the labels by touch and scan them all. I ended up with the laundry separated in the same way as when I used the app as without a blindfold.

There were, however, a couple of items where not all the symbols were picked up and it might have been possible to miss a ‘Do Not Dry Clean’ label.

I also realised afterwards that I should have used the app in conjunction with a colour identifier, as there is a possibility that I could have washed clothes that should not be washed together as a result of their colour.

There was also a slight hitch when I was using VoiceOver. Whenever I had scanned a label and checked the instructions, I had to launch the app switcher and close down the app completely to scan the next label. However, the need to close the app down to scan multiple labels should not happen too often as once you have the washing instructions for an article of clothing, you would probably remember them, or have made a note of them.

Overall Thoughts

The app is accessible with VoiceOver and large fonts work well throughout.

It is very easy to switch between Library and Scanner mode – to do this, double tap the ‘view mode’ button.

It is worth noting that if the app is in scanner mode, the ‘view mode’ button is in the centre of the screen and the last item you come to when swiping right to each item, but if the app is in library mode, the ‘view mode’ button is at the top of the screen and is the first item on the screen if you navigate using swiping gestures.

Overall, I thought Laundry Lens was quite a useful app.

Download from the App Store

If you live in Greater Manchester and would like more information about how you can use a smartphone to be more independent, visit our Digital Enablement page to learn what services we offer. You can also give us a call on 0300 222 5555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk.

You can also check out our Knowledge Village where there are plenty of blogs, videos and eBooks discussing different smartphone apps. We have an app videos playlist on our YouTube channel, as well as an eBook listing 40 of the best apps for people with a visual impairment.

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Alice
Alice
Alice is the Digital Communications Officer and is responsible for producing blogs and EBooks for Henshaws Knowledge Village.