Pennsylvania RVers, how do you keep your clothes clean?

When taking weekend trips, it is easy to pack enough clean clothing to last throughout the experience. Week or month-long forays into the wilderness or over the roads are a different story. Many RV fans simply stop at a laundry mat or dry cleaner along the way, but this will not work if you want to spend a few weeks camping without heading back to town. It is even harder to rely on laundry mats when you are boondocking. Here are three simple ways to keep your clothes clean during an extended stay in your new RV Pennsylvania.

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Photo courtesy of Vince Fonseca

1. Washing By Hand

Before electric washing machines and automatic dryers were invented, all clothing had to be washed by hand. You can use your RV’s bathtub, kitchen sink or a washtub for this process. A bathtub lets you wash a larger load at once than a small tub, and will drain and fill quickly. Purchase a hand agitator, a small tool that resembles a vented plunger, from a non-electric supply company. Some laundry detergent, hot water and a little pumping with the agitator and you have a clean batch of clothes.

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2. Campground Facilities

If you choose to camp in RV parks or well-established state campgrounds, you may have laundry facilities available. Keep in mind the etiquette common to a laundry mat when using these facilities. Don’t leave a load of clothes in the washer all day while you hike or swim, even if there are multiple machines available. This also speeds up drying over hand washing, where you must hang clothes on a line and hope for a few days without rain.

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3. Small Washing Machines

The growing popularity of RV living has led to the development of small washing machines that fit on the counter of your new home. Crank washers are round containers that hold just a few articles of clothing. You pour in the right amount of water and detergent, and crank the handle. Your clothing takes just a few minutes to get clean. Electric washers and dual-purpose devices that also dry can fit into large coaches. Be sure to look for units designed to run off a 110 volt outlet, and consider the drain on your batteries.

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If your current RV is too small to fit a washing machine or tub into, visit  Lerch RV. We are Pennsylvania’s largest travel trailer dealer.

Laundry…by the bucket full.

Have you ever wondered how to do laundry effortlessly while on that family camping trip?  If you’re heading out-of-town by RV and need to do laundry, here’s a simple method originally from John Steinbeck in his book Travels With Charley:
Put your dirty clothes in a 5-gallon bucket with lid, cover the dirty clothes with water, add a little detergent, and secure the bucket somewhere in your vehicle so that it will not upset or tip over  during travel.

Do laundry like a pro on the road...

Photo by Paul Joseph.

Every bump or curve in the road agitates the bucket and when you stop for a meal your clothes will be clean and ready to rinse. Pour out the grey-water, wring the soapy water out of your clothes, place them back in the bucket and add clean water again as you drive for another hour or two. This is your rinse cycle. As you pull into your destination you can use a clothes dryer there or just carry a DIY clothesline to dry your clothing.

Traditional skills blog The Art of Manliness recommends using half the normal detergent you’d normally use for a load using this method. If you plan on dumping your grey-water outdoors, please consider using a  biodegradable detergent (we like Ecos—you can get it online or at Costco) so you’re not polluting the environment.

While not for everyone, if you’re traveling on an extended RVing trip this method of laundry might prove useful, especially if you’d rather not spend an hour or two of your trip looking for change to use at the laundromat. However a better way to do laundry would be to install a washer/dryer unit in your RV, this can only be done if your RV is washer/dryer ready.  If you are looking to have all the conveniences of home in your new RV, give your central PA RV dealer a call.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!