Jeff Flowers on March 18, 2015 4 Comments No matter whether you live the “RV Life” or are taking a summer road trip around the country with your family, at some point, you’re going to need to clean your clothes. Wearing the same clothes day after day will get pretty old, no matter how much you feel like roughing it. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to wash your clothes and linens while RVing. So fresh, so clean. Here are six tips for doing your laundry while on the road. 1. Go to the Laundromat The obvious method that most people immediately think about is going to the closest laundromat. Sure, this will work. You may have to sit around for a few hours waiting for your clothes to wash… and then dry. Which is, obviously, the main downside of using a public laundromat. To many RVers, this is just a gross waste of time. Instead of sitting there watching your clothes spin around, you could be using that time exploring the area or traveling on to your next destination. If you opt for the laundromat, remember to: Bring your own detergent and fabric softener, if desired. The last thing you want to do is buy the supplies sold there. You’d be shocked at how pricey they are. Bring along plenty of quarters. Most laundromats will likely have a change machine readily available, but maybe they won’t. You’ve likely never been there before. So, come prepared with plenty of quarters because the last thing that you want is to run out of coins before your clothes are completely dry. Bring something along to entertain yourself. Trust me, you’re gonna be there for awhile. Whether it’s a book, magazine, computer or phone, you’ll want to have something to keep you busy while your clothes are cleaned. It’s wise to keep a close eye on your belongings. On the plus side, this is a great opportunity for you to charge your electronic devices. Use a hamper or basket to carry your dirty duds in, and to store your clean and folded clothing on the way out. This is just the obvious way to do your laundry while traveling. If your RV has the space, there’s a few other ways to avoid the laundromat, but still have clean clothes. 2. On-board Washers & Dryers The most convenient and luxurious way to clean your clothes while traveling is to have your own set of laundry appliances on-board your RV. Depending on how much space you have, this may or may not be a viable option. But if you do have the space, this is definitely an investment that will pay itself off over time. The most popular on-board unit for recreational vehicle’s is a compact washer/dryer unit. These handy appliances not only take up very little space, but they also have multiple wash and dry cycles built into the same machine. Since RV living is growing in popularity every year, it’s possible that your recreational vehicle is already equipped with this appliance. Washer dryer combo units are becoming common features in new RVs, and should be a feature high up on your list when shopping for an RV. However, if your RV doesn’t have a washer dryer combo, you should strongly consider buying one. Combo Washer/Dryer: As mentioned above, these are the most popular units for RV’s as they take up less space and all your clothes are loaded, washed, and then dried within the same machine. Pros: Easy to Use Compact Doesn’t use much water Will fit in a plumbed RV closet that has an electrical outlet Cons: Small Capacity Care must be taken not to overload it Can take a while to dry clothes Stackable Washer/Dryer: Another option for on-board laundry, while less popular, but still viable is to install a Stackable Washer/Dryer. From a functionable standpoint, this option will work great at cleaning your clothes. From a lifestyle standpoint, these have one major downside. — they are much larger. In fact, the main reason they aren’t as popular as the washer dryer combo, is that they take up significantly more space. And in a recreational vehicle, your space is valuable and must be considered when researching this option. Pros: Faster washing and drying Larger capacity Clothes dry quickly Less water is used Cons: Takes up a considerable amount of space Some are too large to fit in an RV You may have to retrofit electrical lines/water hookups to accommodate machine 3. Hand Wash and Line Dry Another popular way to do your laundry while RVing, is to wash your clothes by hand and then hang everything on a portable clothesline. Other than a little manual labor and some patience as your clothes dangle in the wind. This is a completely feasible, cheap, and effective method of cleaning your clothes. What you’ll need: A hamper of dirty clothes An empty laundry basket Two plastic wash tubs (11.5” x 13.5” is a good travel size) A washboard (yes, they still make them) Liquid laundry soap Rope Clothespins With this method, place the two tubs side-by-side on an even surface. Fill the tubs with water and squirt soap into the tub on the left. Put the washboard in the first bin, the full hamper to the left of that one, and the empty basket to the right of the second tub. Now, assembly line fashion, scrub each soiled item of clothing on the washboard, then squeeze out the water, rinse it in the clear water, squeeze again, and place in the empty basket. Repeat this technique until all your clothes are washed. Next, tie your rope to a couple of trees or to your RV and hang the wash up to dry. Doing your laundry on a picnic table under blue skies with a view of nature can actually make this task memorable and fun. Not to mention smell like the sweet perfume of Mother Nature. 4. Other Public Washer/Dryers We previously discussed public laundromats as a popular option. However, many people are unaware that these venues aren’t the only option for washing your clothes in public. You can also find laundry facilities, some of which are even more affordable at the following two locations. Truck Stops: Most truck stops have washers and dryers readily available for truckers to use, as well as showers and convenience stores. Laundering your dirty items at truck stops can make your wait-time go by in a flash, too, because there are usually diner-style restaurants on site. You can grab a meal while waiting for your clothes to finish. Not to mention stock-up on supplies while you wait. Campgrounds & RV Parks: Plenty of campgrounds and RV parks have laundry facilities. If this is how you plan to wash your clothes, search features of parks and campgrounds when you plan your route. 5. Try Alternative Portables If you want to wash your clothes in your rig, but don’t want to invest in a washer/dryer, scrub them by hand, or go to a public laundromat, you can try some portable washers. They’re small and simple, but they can get the job done. In fact, some of these portable options are not much bigger than a tabletop kitchen appliance. Unfortunately, while these do accomplish the goal of getting your clothes clean, over time many RVers find them to become more and more of an inconvenience. This is because they take a lot of work, and the load-size’s are typically pretty small. It’s at this point that they usually see the benefits of upgrading from one of these portable washing gadgets to a washer/dryer combo. 3 Types of Portable Washers: Hand-Crank Unit: You can purchase a compact mini-washing machine that cleans five pounds of dirty clothes in no time. A hand-cranking option takes zero electricity and very little water. It utilizes a pressurized system that launders fabrics economically, efficiently, and quickly. Small Portable Compact Washing Machine & Spin Dryer: This portable unit weighs less than 30 pounds and is simple to operate. All you have to do is fill it up with water, set the timer, and wait for it to do its job. One side washes, while the other side spins everything dry. Manual Clothes Washer: This washer looks like a plunger, but it’s actually a clothes washer. It is operated by hand, is sturdy, lightweight and designed for easy storage. 6. Wash Small Loads Often No matter which of the above methods you use to do your laundry, it’s best to do small loads often. If you procrastinate and only do your wash when you completely run out of clean clothes, you can find yourself in hot water. Daily laundering can help you avoid: Overloading your washer/dryer Running out of clean clothes Being overwhelmed by a huge mountain of dirty laundry Feeling grungy Hitting the highway in an RV can be the adventure of a lifetime. You get to be king and/or queen of the road in your self-contained vehicle viewing parts of the country that others only dream of seeing. If you get your laundry done in a convenient, effective way, you will have more time to enjoy your trip and your adventurous life.