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How to Do Laundry in an RV

RV living presents many challenges and laundry can be one of them

How to Do Laundry in an RV

How to Do Laundry in an RV
By Chad Swinford

Full time RV living presents many challenges and laundry can be one of them depending on your budget and needs. While leaving the house behind and living on the road generally reduces your household chores and leaves more free time to do the things you enjoy, laundry may be an exception to that.

We personally have three children with us on the road, so laundry is a tad larger task than for most but many of our friends on the road have larger families than us. Either way it can be done frugally or with some flare; it really just boils down to your budget.

Here are some options when it comes to doing laundry on the road:

Got money to burn?

Splendide Washer/Dryer Combo

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If money is no object, or you're just big on convenience, and your rig has the necessary facilities then you may choose to go with a Splendide Washer/Dryer Combo or a Haier Washer/Dryer combo. This units fit nicely into the allotted space in most RVs and are widely used by many nomads. These units will wash and dry your clothes with no manual intervention, but your average load size is decreased by their limited capacity. They can be a bit price prohibitive but their ease of use and convenience can offset that initial investment. With the continual increase of those full time RVing out there, I think we'll see more options in this price range over the next few years and their efficiency and price will likely improve.

Got some budget for laundry?

If you have some budget to apply towards laundry but not an endless amount, then this section is for you. There are many options available for the budget minded RVers out there with a little money to spend.

First and foremost, you can save yourself the headache of not having any equipment at all and doing your laundry at the facilities provided by the campground. Typically they cost $4-6 per load but we have seen them offered for less. Aside from not having the expense of the equipment, the units tend to be more of the industrial size so the loads can be larger on average to get more for your money. We have noticed that most machines are in good condition and perform the work efficiently. However, be warned, the larger industrial dryers get very hot and can damage certain types of clothing.

If you have a little money to spend but don't want to spend your time in the campground laundry facility, then you can begin looking into alternatives that make doing laundry manually easier without going to the expense of one of the big combo units mentioned above. These units are compact, inexpensive, and have above average reviews from consumers.

Panda Mini Washing Machine

There are options when it comes to these compact units but I will focus on one set in particular that seem to get the better consumer feedback. If you haven't noticed, I'm big on reviews. If others like a product then there's a decent chance I will too.

First is the compact washing machine. The Panda Mini Washing Machine is a relatively inexpensive option and consumer reviews show that this machine handles both light and heavier loads well. The loads are much smaller than you would run in a standard size machine, but this unit should pay for itself over the course of a few months.

Centrifugal clothes dryer

To make the most of your new compact mini washing machine, you may want to pair it with a compact dryer. Centrifugal dryers are not necessarily a new product but certainly one that not many people have discovered. With a good centrifugal dryer your clothes will get 90-95% dry with no heat. Here is the best valued centrifugal clothes spin dryer on Amazon. This product won't set you back too much and is efficient, effective and easy to use.

Need absolute frugality?

Are you pinching pennies? Many of us are and we need frugal solutions to every day expenses, and laundry is one of them. If you're doing 3 loads of laundry a week then you're spending an average of $60/month if you use the campground facilities. In a single month the following equipment will have paid for itself.


From the same company that makes the aforementioned centrifugal dryer comes the WonderWash. My family has personally owned a WonderWash for a year now and it really does a superb job. This unit is simple, effective and very affordable. The WonderWash is a manual unit and requires roughly three minutes of cranking for each load and several minutes of soaking. One caveat with this unit is that it does not wring out the clothes. One must manually wring them out by hand.

To maintain the frugal theme, there are a variety of ways to fashion a clothesline on your RV site. It can be as simple as a rope tied from the RV ladder to a tree, an expandable drying rack, or a homemade PVC drying rack which attaches to the rear of the unit.

You may choose one of the methods mentioned here for your laundry solution, or possibly a hybrid solution mixing it up a bit. Which ever method you choose to do your laundry while full time RV living, just remember one thing... it will always be a chore.

Whether you're considering going on the road full time or you already are, surely you can learn a few things from our mistakes and our successes. Living in an RV full time is a challenge at times, especially with children, but it's very rewarding.

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