A colorful closet of clothes and the full time rvers guide to laundry

Dirty Clothes? 8 Tips & Tricks to do Laundry in an RV

Greens and oranges. The color of many landscapes as we travel across the lands that are the United States. It’s also my wardrobe. The greens range from lime to dusty-almost brown to forest and teal. The oranges are neon and salmon, dotted with browns and whites, and like their green counterparts, the oranges trend towards brown as well. Green and orange are, in fact, my favorite colors, tied only with brown. So, it made sense that when we moved into a motorhome and I decided to trim my clothing that I would make a capsule wardrobe of sorts based around the colors of nature. Why? Well, mostly for the sake of doing laundry in an RV, and having relatively matching clothes without overthinking it.

Laundry: one of our most asked questions

One of the most asked questions we receive about full-time RV life is, “how do you do laundry in an RV?” While we do have a washer and dryer in our rig, that doesn’t directly answer the question, so I figured I’d put together a few tips on what we do to create as little laundry as possible, and how we deal with our dusty clothing.

Focus your clothing around one color theme

If you’re interested in limiting how much laundry you do on the road, one of my major tips is this: focus the majority of your clothing around the same colors so there is less sorting and thus fewer loads to be done. While I’ve never been a stickler for sorting all my laundry into very specific colors, you’ll feel a lot less disheveled (which you may feel if you dry camp often) if you can coordinate an outfit with your limited clothing.

I’m not advocating you go out and buy 10 pairs of all monochromatic clothing, but rather simply be mindful when you do purchase new clothes. My blues are slowly migrating out of my wardrobe. Jeremiah’s clothing is predominantly blues and yellows, so we often find ourselves doing a load of blue-greens, and another of orange-yellows.

Store a pair of clothing in your dryer

If you have a washer-dryer in your RV, always have a spare pair of clothes stored in your dryer, especially if you have kids or are prone to spillage like me. (I get it from my mom, so mom, this tip is definitely for you, mom, when you and dad hit the road.) This enables you to always have a clean or warm option without opening up the motorhome slides, or searching through packed up stuff. I know not everyone has this option, but the dryer is great for storage in general. This isn’t directly about how to do laundry in an RV, but it’s such a great tip that I learned early on.

Make a home for your laundry detergent in the shower

Store your laundry detergent in your shower while driving. Spilled soap isn’t awesome, but it’s a lot less traumatic if it spills in the shower. Our laundry detergent shares the shower with some friendly plants while we drive down the freeway. They’re buddies.

Humid areas? Try this Febreze trick.

If you’re in a damp area without access to laundry facilities for a while, spray your dirty laundry with unscented Febreze. It will help in the short term, as well as when the laundry is washed. Febreeze is pretty cool in that it helps rinse on the scents once something has been laundered. Don’t use the scented Febreze. Why? It smells nasty and fake. The added scents trigger my asthma, but the non-scented option does not, so if you’re sensitive to smells, it’s a pretty decent option. (They do make a clothing option one, but it’s scented.)

Dirty clothes are best washed with hookups

Our washer and dryer are dependent on being hooked up or have the generator running, due to the electrical needs. Our washer is smaller, but it uses a significant amount of our grey and freshwater storage, so if we are dry camping, we might do one load, but having hookups is pretty necessary for our washer and dryer. However, there are RV-specific small washer-dryer combos that we’ve seen around that make a lot of sense. If we didn’t have the space for the washer and dryer, along with the hookups, we’d absolutely consider getting one if it helped us dry camp longer.

Deem a shirt a weekly “dirty” shirt

Have a “work shirt” available that you use when you’re wrenching on cars or doing dirty maintenance. We typically deem about one work shirt a week to put on when we’re going to get dirty, so that way we’re not rolling through multiple shirts and outfits a week. This just helps cut down on laundry overall.  

Invest in wool socks and reduce doing laundry in your rv

If you’ve got stinky feet, this might not work for you. However, smartwool socks are my best friend. Truthfully, I wear them a couple of times before I throw them in the washer. Jeremiah just owns about 3047 pairs of black short socks. I request new smartwool socks for every celebration because they’re so handy! (or…is that footy? Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Laundromat tips – for everyone!

If you’re new to using a laundromat, my overall tips are separate your clothing before, and don’t forget the soap! The soap at the laundromat is inevitably more expensive than bringing your own. Also, bring a book, or a laptop.

Laundry on the road was something I thought would take a lot more time than it really does, but if you’re looking to hit the road in the next year or two for full-time, I’d strongly suggest analzying the colors you wear most, and gravitating towards those in any future shopping trips.

If you have any questions about RVing, or laundry on the road, let us know! We’re happy to share our knowledge. We also love hearing new tricks and tips for all things RV life…including laundry.

Come on our Adventure with Us!

3 thoughts on “Dirty Clothes? 8 Tips & Tricks to do Laundry in an RV

  1. I believe there is a direct correlation to the number of stains on your clothes and the effort it took to prepare a scrumptious meal, make a beautiful piece of artwork or simply clean the heck out of something. Which is why I gravitate to printed tops. If you can’t see it is it really there? Sage advice from your Mom who has spilled more than most.

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