Laundry. It’s a dry topic, but it’s a reality of life – eventually the dirty clothes must be cleaned!
In-RV Laundry Options
When we were looking at RVs, I was pretty open to NOT having a washer and dryer in the RV. I considered it a “nice to have” but not a necessity. I read a little bit about it, and it seemed like very few people who have a washer and dryer are happy with them. A lot of people have a 2 in 1 model (the same machines does both washing and drying, so you don’t even have to switch the clothes!) because they take up less space. Some are vented and some are not, and I read that the non-vented ones are pretty much worthless because it takes forever to dry the clothes. I’ve also heard that no matter what kind of in-RV washer/dryer setup you have, they can’t wash many clothes. The capacity is small. Like a couple shirts and some underwear, MAX. At that rate, I’d be doing laundry all day, every day, which is not what I wanted for myself. One last “con” to having one in the RV is that they take up a lot of water, and therefore, space in the gray tank. Unless you have full hookups, you wouldn’t want to use the washer because you’d fill up your tank quickly.
So, all this to say: I thought a washer and dryer had potential to be a nice convenience, but I also wasn’t totally upset that the RV we ended up with didn’t have it.
I’ll also note that even if the RV you are interested in doesn’t have a washer and dryer, most of them have hookups and you can add one.
So..no washer/dryer in the RV. That leaves me with only one option: to use a laundromat or a campground laundry room. I think they are pretty similar. So far, I actually haven’t had to go to a laundromat. I’ve been using the laundry rooms that most of the campgrounds have. I was also able to wash a ton of clothes, rugs, and bedding for free when we stayed with my grandparents, which was very much appreciated!
The laundry rooms are coin operated, and a load of laundry ranges anywhere from $1.00 per load (for each machine) to $2.50 – at least that’s the highest I’ve seen so far! Most private campgrounds have a change machine somewhere that you can use to break bills into quarters. State parks sometimes have laundry facilities, but I’ve yet to see a change machine. At least in Florida, all of the laundry at the state parks is outside, but under cover. The one campground where I did laundry, it was inside, but it wasn’t air conditioned. Not exactly pleasant, especially on a 90 degree day when you have the dryers going! One disadvantage to campground laundry rooms – a lot of times they only have 1 or 2 washers/dryers, so you can’t just go do it all at once.
Using a campground laundry room is expensive. I do about 5 loads every time, and sometimes I have to put extra time in on the dryers. It’s all a part of the RV life budget!
It seems like I end up doing laundry about once every two weeks. Tim and I run out of clothes much more quickly than Calla. Thanks to her Grandmas and her aunt sending her clothes, she could probably go for a month without needing her clothes washed! The first thing she runs out of is pajamas. We just throw our dirty clothes into a big laundry bag and by the time we need laundry, two of the bags are full. If a place we are staying has cheap, clean, laundry facilities, I will do the laundry at that place – because you never know what the situation will be at the next stop! It’s also really nice if the laundry room is close enough that I can walk the clothes over instead of having to drive. At one campground, I thought I could walk over 2 heavy bags of clothes, detergent, quarters, and carry Calla (who wasn’t yet walking) – that was a mistake and I would not attempt that again.
Differences from In-House Laundry
Besides not being nearly as convenient, there are some other things that are different about doing laundry in an RV. I have nowhere to air dry clothes. I used to use multiple clothes drying racks in the basement of my house to air-dry some of the clothes that I didn’t want to ruin. Now? Everything goes in the dryer. Sometimes these dryers are VERY hot, even on a “normal” setting, and fry the clothes. Toasted elastic, anyone?
I do intend to purchase a foldable drying rack, but I’m just not sure that we have anywhere good to store it. Although it folds, it still has a big footprint. I can’t decide if it’s worth it to try to make room, or if I’ll just continue putting everything into the dryer. Since I can’t be as nice to my clothes as I would in a house (air dry, separate loads, etc) I am thinking that my clothes will wear out more quickly. Again – just another thing to consider as part of the RV budget. I can’t expect things to be exactly the same as they were in a house. If my clothes get fried in the dryer, I guess it’s part of the price I pay. I’ve also dried a couple of things outside, but try to avoid doing this with lots of clothes as it’s an eye sore, and I don’t have a drying rack (as I mentioned).
Truthfully, doing laundry on the road hasn’t been as big of a burden as I expected. I think choosing my laundry facilities wisely (at least as much as I can) helps, and doing it once every two weeks isn’t bad. I’m sure I will have negative experiences with it here and there, but so far, so good.