Laundry While RVing–What a Headache!

Doing laundry while RVing full-time is one of my biggest headaches. Everyone handles it differently, but I’ll share my thoughts on the best way of managing laundry on the road.

Wash Machines in Your RV

Some RVs are big enough to have washers and dryers in them. This makes doing laundry while RVing easier, but only if you have full hookups. A wash machine uses a lot of water, and it isn’t practical when you’re boondocking and water is at a premium.

Most everyone is familiar with stackable washers and dryers. They’re simply apartment size units. Many people, however, are not familiar with the European style washer/dryer combination that many RV’s use. These units are both washer and dryer. They go through a wash cycle followed by a dry cycle, all in one machine. These units take up less space in an RV, but they have their draw backs. The drum might look pretty large, but a dryer needs twice as much area as a washer to dry clothes efficiently. In other words, you can’t fill your machine and expect to get dry clothes. These machines will probably wash 2 pairs of jeans at a time. It can take a long time to do your laundry.

Laundry at RV Parks

Most RV parks have washers and dryers for their guests use. They aren’t free but they are often less expensive than a laundromat. Of course, they usually are residential size units so you may have to do more loads.

Laundry while RVing at RV Park
RV Park Laundry

Portable Washing Machines

Portable Wash Machine
Portable Wash Machine

I honestly don’t have any experience with portable washing machines. To me they look like almost as much work as hand washing clothes. In addition, you need to have a wash line to dry your clothes. You don’t want to dry them inside as the humidity can create a great environment for mold to develop in your RV. RV parks usually don’t allow clothes to be hung outside. So, in order to hang dry your clothes you probably need to be boondocking. And, of course, if you’re boondocking you have limited water for washing clothes. Portable washers may work for some people, but for me, it’s not the best way to manage laundry while RVing.


Let me say, “I hate laundromats!!!” When I was 18 my roommate had a very scary encounter in a laundromat and it still scares me. (I always make Jim come with me.)

That being said, it’s the way we manage laundry while RVing. The quality of laundromats varies so I always check Google reviews. I don’t need fancy, but I always want a clean place to wash my clothes. The advantage of a laundromat is you can do a week’s worth of laundry in less than 2 hours.

The downside of a laundromat is the expense. Until I started RVing, I wasn’t aware of how expensive it was to wash and dry clothes at a laundromat. We have two dogs and a cat so, in addition to our laundry, we have dog “blankies” and extra sheets we use on the bed to cut down on cat hair. All of that can really add up.

Collapsible Laundry Basket
My favorite collapsible laundry basket.

An average load of laundry can cost about $3.50 to $4.50 to wash and dry. If you aren’t picky about separating colors, you can stuff a lot of clothes into some of the larger wash machines. The really big ones are about $6.50 to wash. Remember, don’t overstuff or nothing will get clean. I think we save some money by using larger machines. When we had a sticks-n-bricks, I washed at least one load of clothes every day. Now we’ve cut back to washing about every two weeks. That meant a trip to Walmart for extra underwear, but I think it saves us a little money in the long run.

Laundry Day is Always Awful!

Overflowing laundry

I don’t think anyone likes doing laundry, but it’s a necessary evil. When we first considered RVing full-time, I didn’t consider how expensive it would be to do laundry while RVing. If you’re first considering the RV life, make sure you add that expense to your proposed budget.





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