How To Do Laundry In A Small RV?

Last Updated on March 6, 2024

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Laundry in a Small RV

Key Takeaways:

  • Compact Appliances: Utilize compact washing machines and dryers designed for small spaces.
  • Laundromats: Visit local laundromats or campgrounds with laundry facilities for larger loads.
  • Handwashing: Hand wash smaller items in the RV sink using biodegradable detergent and dry them on a clothesline or rack.
  • Space Optimization: Maximize space by folding clothes neatly and storing laundry supplies in designated areas.
  • Frequency: Plan laundry days strategically to avoid accumulating excessive laundry and maintain cleanliness on the road.


I love the lifestyle my Small RV allows me. There is one issue I have to talk about that keeps coming up. Laundry. There are ways that you can clean your clothing without relying on laundromats. Especially you will need this when you are boondocking a lot.

Doing laundry in a small RV can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. I’ve been doing it for years now, and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I have to say, there is no correct “one size fits all” method that works every time. There are many variables that can affect how well you do laundry in your small RV, depending on your supplies on hand.

Nevertheless, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned in the hopes that it will help you in your journey. Maybe this information will come in handy when you are out there on the road, doing laundry in a small RV.

Mini Machines

laundry pod

There are some mini machines that can be used on the RV to do laundry. They are much smaller than the traditional washer and dryer and were designed to fit into smaller spaces like a small RV. Machines such as the Laundry POD or the electric Panda will wash the clothing.

Many people have compared the way that this machine works similar to that of a salad spinner. It spins the clothing and only a couple of shirts can be done at a time. It will then spin the clothing dry which is a big help. The loads are really small though.

There are also compact portable washers, but they have the same limitations as the machine above. They can wash smaller loads but you will have to do multiple loads to get by instead of one large load.

If you have decided to invest in one of these, the best way to deal with this is to do your laundry every day or every other day. This way, you will always have clean fresh clothing on hand. When doing laundry in a small RV, you will need to be constantly washing and drying your clothes.


Hand Washing

breathing hand washer mobile

While it may seem like a pain, there are a number of devices that were designed to allow you to wash your clothing by hand. A breathing mobile washer is one of these devices. It is the best seller manual hand-washer on Amazon and there is a reason why.

This device looks sort of like a plunger. The device is made out of tin plated steel which makes it easy to use. You simply push the plunger up and down in your sink or another water source, while holding onto the grip handle on the side. It’s fast too.

The clothes are agitated in clean water while using minimal effort from you. The best part is that there are no motors, no batteries, and no electricity needed. The mobile washer has a complete watertight system so the dirty water stays inside while you clean your clothing.

The fast action of this device will remove most dirt from your clothing in a flash! You can use it on any clothing that is machine washable, but with most small RV’s not having a washing machine or dryer, this will play a huge part in how to do laundry in your small RV.

It will be able to get the dirt and the stains out of clothing in no time. Many people even like this handwashing device because it is gentle on the clothing, making them really clean, and lasts for a long time. The best part? It doesn’t take too much space.

Clothing Bars

collapsible hanging dryer

You should not rely on the campground to have a line to string out wet clothing. In fact, most campgrounds would not allow this. Instead, you can go for a collapsible clothing bar. They’re relatively cheap and allow you to hang out your clothing in your bathroom and allow it to dry.

The collapsible hang dryer and the drip laundry hanger are perfect for small RV living because they are easy to store. You can easily pull the hanging bars down and roll them up for easy storage.

Another option is the hanging spray laundry line. This is a great idea for those of you that are wanting to save money because it can be used many times over.


Gray Water Waste

If you have water waste that needs to be dealt with, then this can also affect how you do laundry in a small RV. If the gray water tank is full, it may not be best to start a load of laundry. It’s easier when you are in a park and you have water and waste water hookups, but in most private parks you will find laundromats.

To do laundry in a small RV, just remember to wash and dry your clothes as soon as they’re dirty and before you run out of clean clothing. The faster that you do the laundry the better, because dirty clothing smells, not to mention mold or mildew, and nobody wants that in that small space.

What to Do with Wet Clothes When There’s No Place to Hang Them Up?

Maybe it’s raining outside, and there’s nowhere to hang your wet clothes. What do you do?

You cannot keep wet clothes laying around, it is best to dry them as soon as possible. The RV bathroom is the best place to hang your wet clothes even if you have a small wet bath. Keep moving them as they dry so you can hang more drying clothes up.

As mentioned earlier, you can always invest in a collapsible dryer. I am using mine all the time. I like to wash my necessities like my socks and underwear daily and hang them up overnight.

Keeping Your Laundry Area in Your RV Organized and Tidy

If you don’t want to always be tripping over clothes, shoes, and other things, then it’s best to get organized. For many people, the best way to stay organized is with baskets. They can be stored under your bathroom counter, they can sit on top of a dresser or you could hang them from a towel rack that is easily accessible.

Another option for staying organized is a hanging shoe caddy. This will allow you to keep all of your dirty clothes together and it’ll keep shoes away from clothing so that everything stays organized.

You could also try keeping your dirty clothes in a netted laundry bag. This is an easy way to keep the clothes together and keep them away from other items in your RV so that they don’t leave any odors or stains, but they can be rolled up when you’re not using them.

No matter what type of basket or container you use, just keep in mind that if it’s not easy to clean or dry, then it may not be a good option. You should also get something that will fit into your bathroom and whatever storage space that you have available.


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Cold Or Hot Water?

In most cases, you won’t even need hot water to wash. Cold water will get the job done just fine and you’ll save money in the long run by not using hot water. You can use some vinegar if you feel like your clothing needs some disinfecting.

If cold water isn’t getting your clothes clean, then you can always invest in better laundry detergents that have stain removers and deodorizers. This will work on any type of clothing and fabric so that your clothes get clean without having to do extra washings.

When washing your clothes in a small RV, it is also best to look for ways that you can conserve water. The above-mentioned plunger is very effective to conserve water.

The General Concepts

  • You can do laundry without electricity/water hookups/laundromats, but you will need to think outside the box. You can do laundry in a small RV with limited space, weight, and water supply. If you are willing to make some compromises, it’s absolutely possible.
  • Take advantage of your supplies on hand (soap/fabric softener).
  • Wash in cold water whenever possible (to save on water/energy).
  • Use the sun to your advantage (use solar power to dry your clothes).
  • Prepare for spotting/bleeding issues with dark clothing.
  • You will need to take liberties with some of these concepts, depending on how much space you have available and what you can carry.
  • I use my sink for pre-treating stains, soaking clothes overnight, and filling the washing machine (for smaller loads). I also take advantage of re-wetting clothing that is nearly dry by running the water in the sink until it’s warm. It saves on energy to just let them air dry for another few hours.
  • I have a few storage containers that are just for laundry supplies. I keep these out of the way when not in use, so they don’t take up any extra space inside the RV.
  • My sink is also used for rinsing my clothes after washing them. This helps me save water and gives me more space to do laundry in. Also, if I’m doing laundry in a small RV, I can’t afford to have excess water sitting around after washing my clothes.
  • My sink drain is connected to the gray tank of the RV via a hose and an elbow joint. This allows me to use freshwater from my holding tanks for rinsing the clothes (after the initial cold water wash). I usually disconnect this hose for the final rinse, because it wastes fresh water.
  • I also use a drying rack (or clothesline) to air dry excess loads (if there is room available in my small RV for the rack). If not, I will hang-dry them inside. This works well if I’m staying in one place for a while, or if I have access to electricity.
  • If you are concerned about the bulk/space in your small RV for laundry supplies, just keep it simple. Only have what is necessary on hand for when you need it. You can always add more later on when space frees up. Also, don’t forget that you can store some things outside (like the drying rack) if there’s room.

Final Words

These are just some of the ways you can have clean clothing and still enjoy life on the road. It is recommended to avoid wearing white clothing as white is hard to clean. Even after washing the clothes may look dingy. While laundry mats are helpful you cannot count that there will be one at every stop. These washing machines will allow you to have clean clothing no matter where they go.

It doesn’t take much to do laundry in a small RV. If you’re worried about the bulk/space, just keep it simple. A small investment in a few “laundry essentials” will certainly make your life easier when living in a small RV.

I hope that you’ve learned a little bit about how to do laundry in a small RV. It won’t be too hard if you’re organized, patient, and smart about it.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. I always enjoy hearing feedback from my readers!

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