Woman pouring detergent into cap to do laundry while on RV road trip

RV Laundry: 5 Solutions for an Extended Road Trip

Are you wondering how RVers do their laundry when they’re on an extended road trip? Or what about full-time RVers? Here are five different RV laundry solutions so you can have clean clothes while you travel!

If you’re on an extended RV trip – whether that’s for a few weeks in the summer, if you’re a snowbird escaping the winter or you’re a full-time RVer who calls their RV home, clean clothes is a must. And when it comes to RV laundry, you actually have quite a few choices.

RV Laundry Solutions

I’ll start off with what we did to get our clothes clean and end with what I wish we would have had…

RV Laundry Solutions for Clean Clothes While You Travel


Solution #1: Use Laundromat at RV Parks

On our travels, we found that most of the RV parks we stayed at had a place for you to do laundry. I can count on one hand the parks that didn’t have it, which meant we had to find another solution to get our clothes clean.

Just like all RV parks aren’t created equal, all RV park laundry options aren’t created equal. For example, one time we did a load and ended up with gum on one of Todd’s brand new shirts. Talk about a bummer!

Here are the pros and cons of using the RV parks washer and dryer.

PROS OF RV PARK LAUNDROMAT

  • Sometimes it’s free – we always felt like we hit the jackpot when we could do our laundry for free. This was a rarity though!
  • It’s convenient – it was so nice to be able to put a load in and head back to your camping spot

CONS OF RV PARK LAUNDROMAT

  • You have to hunt down quarters – most of the RV parks’ washers and dryers required quarters to use them. Check with the RV park first to see if they have a roll you can get and if not, try a local Walmart. If neither of those options works, there’s always the bank and local laundromats.
  • It can be expensive – the difference in price to do your laundry at the different parks was pretty crazy. While one place would be $1.00 the next place would be $3.00 – which can add up!
  • Your clothes can get ruined – as I mentioned above, we did one load and the machine had gum in it. With so many people using the machines, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.
  • You have to compete with everyone else wanting to do laundry – this was the most frustrating thing! I remember at times going back to the laundry room over and over and over to try to get our laundry done, but all of the machines were being used. (Keep reading for some tips to avoid this, as well as laundry room etiquette.)

TIPS ON USING RV PARK LAUNDROMAT

  • To avoid having to wait for an open machine, we found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were typically the best days to do laundry. A lot of the long weekend and week-long travelers were heading out on either a Sunday or Monday. Plus, the next batch of travelers wouldn’t be arriving until Thursday or Friday.
  • Inspect the machines – before you put a load in either the washer or dryer, look inside for gum, pens and any other random items that can ruin your clothes
  • Follow RV park laundry etiquette – some RV parks have strict rules of not leaving your clothes unattended. If that was the case,  I just brought a book with me and enjoyed the time to read. Also, set a timer for your clothes and be sure to check on them! It’s so frustrating for someone who is waiting to use a machine to go back several times and see that the clothes have been done for a quite a while, but the owner is nowhere in sight.
  • Get quarters the same time you grocery shop – If you’re at a local Walmart or even some local grocery stores and you know you need to do laundry, go ahead and get a roll of quarters before you leave

Solution #2: Use the Local Laundromat

If the RV park you’re staying at doesn’t have machines or you’re dry camping/boondocking, using the local laundromat is an option. We had to do this a few times and while it’s not my favorite thing in the world to do, it was worth it to have clean clothes.

PROS OF USING LOCAL LAUNDROMAT

  • You can wash and dry all of your clothes at the same time – most laundromats have an overabundance of machines, which allows you to use several machines at once if you need to. It can cut the time it takes to do your laundry in half!
  • They usually have machines for quarters – most laundromats we went to either had a change machine to get quarters or you could ask for some at the counter
  • You can use your debit card – a couple of laundromats we went to had machines that took debit cards. No need for quarters!

CONS OF USING LOCAL LAUNDROMAT

  • Sometimes the laundromat is really run down – we saw some laundromats that I wasn’t sure I could trust their machines
  • Sometimes the laundromat is not in a safe location – we always did a drive-by to check out the location first to make sure we felt safe doing our laundry there. I hate to say something like that but…safety first.
  • You have to stay with your clothes – you can’t throw a load in and then head back to your campsite. You stay until all the clothes are done.

Solution #3: Use a Drop off Service

If the RV park has no machines or you’re short on time, look for a local laundromat that has drop-off service and let someone else do your laundry. 

We never personally did this, but I remember being at one laundromat and seeing quite a few people come in and drop off their laundry. Most places will have same-day or next day service.

Solution #4: Portable Washer Dryer Combo

We came close to purchasing a portable washer for our RV and I think if we would have kept traveling past the year and a half mark, I just might have invested in one.

I first found out how great these were for full-time RVers in while discussing RV travel with out more experienced travelers. I also joined multiple RV Facebook groups and learned from their experiences and recommendations.

GIANTEXT PORTABLE MINI TWIN TUB WASHING MACHINE

The most often recommended washer is the Giantext Portable Mini Twin Tub. It’s known to be a perfect portable washer for washing small items like underwear, socks, and t-shirts. It doesn’t work well for heavy items like jeans, blankets, or even sweatshirts. That said, some reviewers said they were able to include a pair of jeans in a load that may have also included socks and underwear.

Portable Mini Compact Washing Machine
Pros:
  • 12 lbs washing capacity
  • 8 lbs dryer capacity
  • Ideal for small loads
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The portable twin tub washing machine works best with small clothing items: underwear, socks, and tees. It does not highly recommended for multiple pairs of jeans, blankets, or other heavy items.

This portable washer/dryer combo has two tubs, one for washing and one for spin drying. It runs off 120v power and will take up to 10lbs capacity for washing and 6lbs capacity for spinning. It also features a drainage tube which allows you to easily drain out dirty water.

I’ve read that even after your clothes go through the spin drying, they will most likely still be damp and you’ll need to line dry them.

WONDERWASH PORTABLE WASHING MACHINE

Another washer alternative is to purchase a hand crank option such as the WonderWash. It doesn’t require any electricity, but it does require some elbow grease.

WonderWash Portable Mini Washing Machine

Compact and portable washing machine with hand-crank manual operation.

Pros:
  • 5 pound capacity
  • Available in various pastel colors
  • No electricity required
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CLOTHES LINES AND DRYING RACKS

For line drying, you can either rig up a line outside to dry your clothes or use a drying rack that is foldable and collapsible.

Always check with the park ranger before hanging up a clothes line. It’s very common to find that installing a clothes line is prohibited at most campgrounds.

Travel Clothesline
$4.9950

Retractable clothes line with 12-piece clothes pins for air-drying laundry.

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04/10/2024 05:42 pm GMT
Folding Clothes Rack
$59.99
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04/10/2024 02:08 pm GMT

Here are a few other RV clothes drying rack options that we like:

RV Ladder Clothes Rack

This versatile wall-mounted clothes drying rack is a great option for RVs. It's easy to install, compact, and adjustable. It's also rust-proof so it could be installed indoors or outdoors.

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Lightweight Over Door Laundry Drying Rack Organizer

Over The Door Laundry Rack

Collapsible with 2 tiers for air-drying clothes.

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SCRUBBA PORTABLE LAUNDRY WASHING BAG

Another portable washer option, which is great for RVing, camping, and backpacking as well as other forms of travel, is the smallest washing machine in the world. Scrubba is actually a washing bag, not a machine. But, with a little time and some gentle muscle, it can scrub those dirty hiking clothes as well as a machine.

Portable Hand Washing Laundry Bag
$55.00

Eco-friendly laundry washing bag is great for camping and travel needs. Portable and packable for easy storage.

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04/11/2024 05:31 pm GMT

The Scrubba washing bag is more than a bag. It’s designed like a small portable and flexible washboard with mini nubs that help work the dirt and debris from fabric. It’s packable and weighs only 5 ounces. That’s what you want to hear when it comes to RV camping accessories.

Here are the 5 simple steps to use a Scrubba for doing your laundry on the go:

  1. Fill bag with water, laundry detergent, and clothes
  2. Roll it down and clip closed
  3. Twist the valve and press down to deflate
  4. Press and rub clothes on Scrubba Wash Bag’s internal washboard for 30 seconds and up to 3 minutes
  5. Unclip, pour out the soapy water, then use fresh water and repeat steps 1-4 to rinse

Voila! Clean clothes on the go. It’s an ingenious little invention isn’t it?

Solution #5: Purchase or Upgrade RV with Washer/Dryer Hookups

This is the easiest way to do laundry while RVing and honestly would have been a dream on our travels. RVs with washer/dryer hookups are more common than ever now.

Here’s a video of one of our recent tours of a new fifth wheel. It had laundry hookups in the master bedroom closet. Now that’s the way I want to RV travel!

This rig also had recliners with massage and heat. As you can tell, I kind of enjoyed that.

Here’s a video on how the Splendide Washer-Dryer Combo Works:

As with any options, this one has pros and cons as well.

PROS OF INDOOR WASHER/DRYER COMBO

  • It’s convenient and easy to do laundry right from your RV
  • You can choose to wash only or dry only
  • No hunting down quarters!

CONS OF AN INDOOR WASHER/DRYER COMBO

  • You can’t use this while dry camping/boondocking
  • The loads are smaller than your typical washer and dryer
  • It can take 2 – 3 hours to wash and dry a load
  • The spin cycle can shake the RV a bit

Which RV Laundry Solution is Best for You?


I hope we gave you enough information to decide which RV laundry solution is the best for your situation.

One thing to remember is just like with anything when it comes to RVing, you have to be flexible and go with the flow. Issues with laundry will arise, inconveniences will happen, you might get gum on a brand new shirt, but you just have to roll with it.

And RVing is definitely a great way to learn how to just roll with it… 🙂 

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