Wish you had a smart washing machine that would alert you when your laundry is done? Thanks to a clever Alexa feature, you can add smarts to practically any washing machine or dryer.
Alexa’s Sound Detection feature allows Amazon’s voice assistant to listen for certain sounds, including snoring, barking dogs, crying babies, and–you guessed it–beeping appliances, including washing machines and dryers.
You can create a routine that makes Alexa perform any action you choose once she senses that your washing machine or dryer beeped.
For example, Alexa could change the color of a smart bulb, play a song, or even tell a joke when your laundry is done.
We’re going to keep it simple and have Alexa simply say, “Your washing machine is done.”
This how-to is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart speakers and displays, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
At a glance
Time to complete: 5 minutes
Tools required: iOS or Android device with the Alexa app installed
Materials required: An Alexa-enabled speaker, like an Amazon Echo Dot; a washing machine and/or dryer
Create a new Alexa routine
First, open the Alexa app, tap the Menu tab, tap Routines, then tap the “+” button in the top corner of the screen to create a new routine.
Tap Enter routine name, then give your new routine a name.
Set ‘Sound Detection’ as the trigger
Tap When this happens, then tap Sound Detection. Once you tap through a brief disclaimer (which basically says that Alexa won’t keep or share any Sound Detection activity), you’ll need to select what type of sound you’d like Alexa to detect. Tap Beeping Appliance.
Next, you’ll want to specify which Alexa device should do the listening–preferably one that’s close to your washing machine and dryer. Pick a speaker from the Select Device screen, then tap Next.
Choose when you want Alexa to listen for beeps
You can choose on which days and at what times you want Alexa keeping an ear out for beeps. Tap Change next to the Every Day setting, then make selections for Active Days (for days of the week) and Active Between (for times during the day).
You can also set Alexa to “suppress” the routine for a certain period of time, handy for keeping Alexa from triggering the routine repeatedly if she hears several beeps in a short period of time.
One minute is the default Suppress for setting, and you can adjust it to up to 12 hours if you wish.
Add an action for Alexa to perform
Now we need to tell Alexa what to do when she hears a beep from your washing machine or dryer.
Tap Add action, then pick an option. For this example, I chose Alexa Says, and then typed in a phrase for Alexa to say–in this case, “Your washing machine is done.”
You can add multiple actions if you’d like; for example, you could have Alexa speak as well as flash your smart lights, or play a song. Use your imagination!
Select the Alexa device that will perform actions
You’ll also need to choose which Alexa device will do the talking or otherwise perform the actions you specified; just tap Choose Device under the From heading.
For this example, I chose an Echo Show display in our kitchen, which is on a different floor than the washing machine.
Finalize your Sound Detection routine
Last but not least, review your routine settings. If everything looks good, tap Save. You’re done!
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.