An RV trip can be so freeing, but it still can’t excuse you from one basic fact of life–laundry. RV laundry issues are common for new RVers, but they don’t need to disrupt your trip or cost you an arm and a leg.
Let’s take a look at some easy ways to deal with laundry on the move!
The RV Laundry Dilemma
Your RV laundry needs aren’t less than they were at home, and sometimes they’re even more if you’re getting dirty in the great outdoors. The main difference is that most RVers don’t have a clothes washer and dryer like they do at home.
While you can pack enough to avoid laundry on a short vacation, it’s helpful to plan for laundry on trips two weeks or longer.
How to Do RV Laundry on the Road
Depending on whether you’re renting an RV for vacation, taking out one that you own, or living in your motorhome full time, different RV laundry solutions may work best for you.
1. Campground Laundry Rooms
If you’re staying at a campground with laundry rooms, they can be an excellent resource for your laundry needs. These are usually coin-operated, though some high-end machines may have card swipe technology.
Campground laundry rooms are usually more expensive than your standard laundromat. After all, you’re paying for the convenience of staying in the campground! They can also get crowded (especially at peak times), and you may find yourself waiting, as there frequently aren’t many machines available.
Traditional laundromats are another excellent option for RV laundry. They’ll generally have lower prices and more machines available than your campground laundry room. Higher-end laundromats might also offer additional cleaning services or wash and dry your clothes for you.
One of the best things about going to a laundromat is that you can usually get all of your laundry done very quickly by using multiple machines at once. These commercial machines typically work pretty quickly, too.
The most significant downsides of using laundromats? You’ll need to find and travel to one from wherever you’re staying, and you’re still paying a considerable amount for laundry when you get there. Also, while there are usually more machines, there’s no guarantee you won’t end up waiting.
3. Install a Washer and Dryer in Your RV
If laundry convenience is a must-have for your travels (and your RV can accommodate it), consider installing a washer and dryer in your RV. The benefits here are obvious–your own personal laundry, on-demand, with no need for quarters, dragging your clothes to the laundromat, or waiting around.
However, this may not be the right solution for everyone. You’ll need full hookups (water and sewer) to use your combo, which limits where you can camp.
They also add significant weight to your RV and can be expensive to buy and install. Most importantly, depending on your motorhome’s size and layout, there may be no way to install them.
There are some RV washer dryer combo units available – where the washer and dryer are combined into one unit. While these save on space and weight, we have heard they take a very long time to wash and dry clothes and are still extremely expensive for their performance.
4. Use a Portable Washer and Dryer in Your RV
Those who want a personal laundry system but don’t want or can’t install a full washer-dryer combo might find small portable washers and RV dryers ideal. These smaller devices are more affordable than full combos and can be set up and put away as needed.
However, they’ll generally require electric hookups and a water/sewer system, and you’ll need to find a place to store the portable system when you’re not using it. Users have also complained that in some models, the dryers don’t fully dry your clothes.
If you don’t want to worry about a power supply and don’t mind putting in some elbow grease, you could try a non-electric model. You power these with motion, whether by hand or even bicycle spinning!
- Compact, Non-Electric - The Laundry Alternative's WonderWash...
- High-Quality Material: The Wonderwash manual washing machine is...
- Portable and Stylish Retro Design - for convenient space-saving...
Interested? We’ve already done the research for you on the 5 Best Small Washing Machines for RV Living.
Tips for Doing RV Laundry on the Road
After you’ve sorted out the “where” in your RV laundry dilemma, it’s time to figure out how you’ll make it happen. While we know not all of these ideas will speak to you, we’re offering a few tips to improve your RV laundry routine.
Have a Dedicated Laundry Day
Laundry isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but putting it off can cause some uncomfortable situations, to say the least. If you’re traveling for an extended period, designate a day of the week as laundry day.
Not only will you always have clean clothes when you need them, but you’ll also have a regular appointment with yourself to keep you accountable. It gives you a deadline for figuring out what resources you’ll have on laundry day.
If You Boondock, Reserve a Campground Now and Then for Laundry, Dumping, and Other Chores
Boondocking can be awesome. It’s a free or cheap solution for RV living that also helps you connect with the natural world. But even the most wilderness-friendly RVers need civilization now and then.
Boondockers should occasionally stay a night or two in a campground to use RV laundry facilities, dump and replenish their tanks, and take care of similar issues.
Always Keep Quarters Handy
There are few things worse than lugging your laundry to the laundromat or camp laundry to find you have no quarters to run the machines. Many places have change machines, but sometimes you’ll have to visit a bank or find someone willing to make change.
Keep a few rolls on hand at all times to avoid running out!
Conserve Your Clean Laundry
When you’re at home, it might not matter if you change clothes midday–after all, what’s one more load in the washer? However, each load is an additional cost and extra time spent washing and folding while on the road.
Be mindful of what you’re wearing, how much clean laundry you have, and how long you’re planning to last until the next laundry day. If you can wear an outfit more than once a week, do so! This will help you live and dress comfortably without needing to bring a vast wardrobe with you.
Go Super Early or Super Late at Night
Humans tend to think alike. If you think it’s a great time to do your laundry, chances are others feel the same. When you’re relying on scarce machines at a campground laundry or small laundromat, you’ll find long waits that turn a minor chore into a daylong odyssey.
Try to grab the laundry machines as soon as they’re available in the early morning or late at night to avoid the crowds and get them done as quickly as possible. After all, your goal as an RVer is adventure! Who wants to spend more time than necessary doing laundry?
Line-Dry, But Check With RV Park For Rules On Hanging Clotheslines
One easy way to save money on RV laundry is to do the drying yourself back at your campsite. However, some RV parks actually have rules against hanging clotheslines and air-drying outside of your RV! Check your park’s rules before you start stringing up your damp clothes.
Conquer Your RV Laundry For More Fresh Adventures!
RV laundry may be a chore, but it doesn’t have to feel like one. If you know your options and keep these tips in mind, your clothes will be clean, and you’ll be back to adventuring in no time!
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Thursday 18th of March 2021
After a year of full-timing and using RV Park and local laundromat we installed a washer/dryer in our rig (2020 GD Solitude 344GK-R). We went with the Splendide WD2100XC White Vented Combo Washer/Dryer, finding it on sale at Camping World. It's a great unit so far. It's just the 2 of us so a load or 2 every couple days and you can keep up. You are right about needing full hookups though. 3 loads of laundry will fill up the GW tank.
Mortons on the Move
Thursday 18th of March 2021
Thanks for sharing your experience with the Splendide washer/dryer. :)
Jerry T Daminato
Thursday 18th of March 2021
Thanks for all the great articles!