Even when you’re living the dream of life on the road or having a blast on an extended RV road trip, you still have to deal with everyday chores. Among these is the care and keeping of your clothes—aka laundry.
There aren’t very many people who enjoy laundry even in a sticks-and-bricks home. However, this task becomes even more irritating when you’re in an RV. It requires more creativity, more planning, and often, a bit more work.
All that said, keeping up with your laundry while traveling is totally possible, and you even have options in terms of how to get it done. Below are some of the most popular options, the pros and cons of each, and a few tips and suggestions.
Laundry Rooms and Laundromats
The first and most obvious option is to visit campground laundry rooms or local laundromats along the way. This is what we recommend for those who are 1) staying near cities or in RV parks with facilities, and 2) will be in their RVs for the short term. It’s the cheapest short-term option and is rarely complicated by the challenges that tend to come our way while adventuring on the open road.
Tips for using laundry rooms and laundromats include:
You might find yourself needing to plan for laundry ahead of time. This is especially true if you tend to choose rustic campgrounds without facilities and/or stay in smaller towns where laundromats may be limited.
Always keep in mind that laundry facilities may be difficult to find, and never get so far behind on laundry that you’re left with no clean clothes and nowhere to wash your dirty ones.
Keep Quarters on Hand
While many laundromats are now accepting cards, there are still just as many that require users to have quarters. Because not all laundry rooms necessarily offer a quarter machine, it’s a good idea to keep a good stash of quarters on hand at all times.
Get Deposits Back
Some laundromats are turning to cards that are specific to their business. Many of these require guests to pay a deposit in order to use such a card. Since you likely won’t be in the area often, you may want to request a refund of deposit. Some businesses will gladly give one, others won’t, but it’s always worth asking.
Last but not least, always read reviews. You might be surprised how awful some laundromats can be. Reading reviews will help you avoid those locations.
In-Rig Washing Machines
If you’ll be living in your RV full-time, you may want to consider getting an in-rig washing machine. There are a number of pros to having such a machine. Naturally, there are some cons as well.
Below we will cover both the benefits and the drawbacks, as well as some of the best machines on the market.
Pros of RV Washing Machines
The benefits of having a washing machine in your RV are plentiful. In fact, if you can manage it, this is what we recommend to those spending copious amounts of time in their campers.
- Available When You Need It — Unlike laundry rooms, your own washer will be available to you whenever you need it.
- Can Save Money — Because you won’t be shelling out quarters every few days, using your own washer can save you quite a chunk of change over time.
- Only You Use It — Some people are concerned with the types of detergents (and other things) that might go into public washing machines. When you have your own you won’t need to worry about that.
Cons of RV Washing Machines
Now that you know the good, let’s take some time to cover the bad. The drawbacks listed below are the complaints we hear most from folks who own RV washing machines:
- Expensive Upfront — Depending on how automatic you want your washer to be, these things can get pretty darn expensive upfront.
- Requires Electricity and Water — The automatic machines that work well will require you to have electric hookups, and all washing machines use quite a bit of water. This makes doing laundry in your rig difficult when boondocking.
- Uses Valuable Space — RVs are small, so space inside an RV is valuable. Therefore, you must carefully consider where you would put a bulky item such as a washing machine. In some cases, people have to be willing to give up their shower or a sink for the machine.
The Best RV Washing Machines
If you do decide that an RV washer is for you, the next step is deciding which one to get. Below are our top 2 picks:
- Giantex Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine — While you will have to hang clothes to dry after using this one, it does a good job of washing items and a decent job of spinning them, so nothing is too wet when hung. We love that this machine is both lightweight and automatic, meaning no hands-on labor for the user.
- Splendide Vented Washer and Dryer Combo — This washer is a bit bigger and heavier than the one listed above. However, we find that it works even better, and it’s still small enough for most RVs. We adore that it’s a washer and dryer in one, meaning no hanging laundry to dry.
About the author: Chelsea Gonzales
Chelsea has the amazing opportunity to take part in full-time RV living and traveling with her tiny tribe. She homeschools her five-year-old son as they travel, and takes full advantage of their unique situation by using the entire world as her son’s classroom. A group of total Disney fanatics, Chelsea and her family often find themselves in the Orlando area in order to visit the Disney parks, but they have also visited over 25 of the 50 states with plans to see many more along the way. No matter where her travels take her, Chelsea enjoys riding bikes, gazing at beautiful sunsets, finding new coffee shops, Irish dancing, and sitting around a campfire with her family.
You can join her adventures through her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander.