The Best Way to Do Laundry for Fulltime RVers

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The Best Way to Do Laundry for Fulltime RVers

The Best Way to Do Laundry for Fulltime RVers

Laundry. The bane of full-time RV’ers.

While some are lucky enough to have a washer and dryer in their RV, the rest of us are left to haul our dirty socks and underwear back and forth from the local laundromat or campground laundry room.

The constant struggle to have enough quarters, and enough laundry detergent, and a method of carrying said dirty laundry is enough to make you want to wear the same clothes every day for a week.

And then there is this: Where do you store the dirty laundry?

After four months of full-timing, I accidentally discovered that a laundry basket would fit perfectly under the bathroom counter on top of the cat litter box in the RV (deciding where to put that thing is another post altogether).

Before that, we had tried numerous other solutions for where to put a family of four’s dirty clothes in between trips to the laundromat. We had put it in the bedroom, underneath the dinette, in one corner of the living area, and finally, as a last resort, we took to just throwing it on the bathroom floor.

Funny how we worked hard at organizing our clothes into small closets and tiny drawers, but we never considered the dirty stuff.

Related Read: Mastering the Art of Laundry in Your RV

Read on for a laundry-list of ideas on how to deal with dirty clothes while full-time RV’ing:

Where do we stash this stuff?
  • Ideally, whatever method you choose to store your dirty laundry in your RV should also be convenient to carry to and from the laundromat.
  • Before you shop for laundry storage solutions, make sure you measure the space in your RV you think want to use. For example, if you hope to keep a small hamper in the closet, measure the closet before you buy anything.
  • Collapsible or pop-up hampers are super-handy and can be stored away when not needed.
  • A large resuable shopping bag is easy to carry and can hold a ton of dirty or clean clothes. Bonus if it’s cloth and can be washed right along with the laundry.
  • Store your hamper, laundry basket or bag in the shower. Put it on top of the toilet or the bed when the shower is being used.
  • If space allows, an over-the-door or hanging laundry bag, can be a great solution.
  • A plastic storage tote can be shoved between the bed and the wall, or underneath the dinette.
  • A small plastic trash can could be used in place of a hamper, and stashed under the sink, inside a cabinet, next to the toilet or in a closet.
  • Some readers on this forum offer up ideas on how to turn dinette benches or under-the-bed storage areas into nice hiding places for dirty laundry.

How to stay organized on laundry day?
  • Unless you have to dress nice for work or a special occasion, only wear clothes that are machine washable, can be put in the dryer, and don’t need to be ironed.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to collect quarters. Pay in cash for small items and ask for the change in quarters, take a $10 bill to the grocery store customer service desk and ask for a roll, empty your coat pockets, pants pockets, purse or wallet everyday. Also check your car for that change from the drive-through. Put quarters in a small plastic bag or zippered pocket (or check out these great ways to use candy containers and other “upcycled” items as coin holders), and store the excess in a plastic jar or container.
  • Fill a small baggie with detergent for carrying to and from the Laundromat. Detergent pods work the best since they are lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space.
  • Keep your quarters, your baggie of detergent and any other necessary supplies in the same container with your dirty laundry so you don’t forget it.
  • If possible, have your clothes sorted as much as possible before getting to the Laundromat.

Laundry room etiquette?
  • Your campground neighbors will very much appreciate it if you don’t take up all the washers and dryers at once. Leave at last one of each empty in case someone has a laundry emergency and needs to wash or dry something asap.
  • If possible, stay near the laundry room so you can promptly remove your clothes form the washer or dryer. I actually find this to be a great time to escape my husband and kids and read a magazine, catch up on the Internet, make phone calls or just sit outside in the fresh air.
  • Don’t stare at or comment on other people’s laundry. We’ve all got that one pair of holey sweatpants that we just can’t give up, or that super-comfy pair of raggedy pajamas. Don’t judge.
  • Use the folding table for it’s intended purpose – folding – and nothing else. Don’t sit on it, or put your wet clothes on it while transferring from the washer to the dryer, and don’t let kids color or do activities on it.
  • If the laundry room is busy or tight on space, get out as quickly as you can. Fold only what is absolutely necessary right out of the dryer, and take the rest back to your RV. Socks, underwear, pajamas, towels and jeans will be just fine if they aren’t folded right away.
  • For the love of all that is clean and fresh-smelling, empty the lint trap in the dryer immediately after you are done using it. There is nothing worse than having to run your fingers through the leftovers of someone else’s laundry.

If dirty clothes really get you down or you just need a laugh, check out these wash-day jokes. Happy laundering!

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Jan Childs


Jan Childs

Jan Wesner Childs is a professional writer who travels full time in a fifth wheel bunkhouse with her husband, 12-year-old daughter, 15-year-old son and a cat named Chuey. She’s also a military spouse whose husband recently retired from the Army. They’ve spent the past 26 years living and traveling throughout Asia, Europe and Canada. Now they are rediscovering the U.S. and teaching their kids what it’s like to be American. She’ll be sharing her DIY tips and advice for full time RV’ing as a family. You can also follow their journey on her personal blog at

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