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How to get your washing done when you live in a caravan

Are you wondering how you’re going to get your laundry done when you hit the road, and thinking about getting a small washing machine for your caravan? Ahh, laundry. Never stops does it? And especially once you hit the road. I’m sure you end up with a lot more laundry actually… until you realise that it’s not absolutely necessary to wear clean clothes every day… just some days. I didn’t like doing the laundry even when we lived in a house.
Firstly having to hunt down all the random laundry, sort  and seperate it, get the machine going, remember to come back in half an hour or so and then have to hang it out on the line, or put it in the dryer; and then remember to take it off the line before it rains, or out of the dryer before it’s wrinkled so bad you’re going to be ironing for days. Now that we live in a caravan and we don’t have our own washing machine, it’s even worse… ugg! Especially when you’re at a campsite that doesn’t have a laundry room (like show grounds) and you have to go and find a laundromat… and sit there while you wait for it to finish. It’s not my favourite job (can you tell?) but it’s really not all that bad. Oh and the ironing? That’s easily fixed, I don’t do it. Simple! I don’t have an iron and I either buy clothes that theoretically don’t need ironing or I just wear them wrinkled. I’m all class. But the laundry does need to be done, and there are a couple of ways of getting doing it. So these are the options we’re going to look at in this article:
  1. Washing machines fitted into your caravan or motorhome.
  2. Portable washing machines
  3. Dryers and washer/dryer combos
  4. Manual washer (hand washing)
  5. Going somewhere else to get your laundry done; such as the campground laundry room or a public laundromat.
  6. Clothes lines
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Small washing machine for your caravan or motorhome

How am I meant to write about these without my eyes glazing over in jealousy? I’d love a washing machine in our caravan. Sure, you can’t use them while free camping, unless you have oodles of power and water at your disposal. But when we’re in a power and water site it sure would be nice to do a load whenever I want, not have to wait until I have a load big enough to take to the laundry and cough up all those gold coins each time. I could read, or cook breakfast, or exercise (hahaha!!) or drink coffee while the machine does it’s thing, and then I hang it up and go about my day. No more having a weeks worth of dirty undies festering in the laundry basket before taking it to the laundromat. If you’re looking at putting a small washing machine into your caravan or motorhome, here are some options I’ve been able to find online.

Top Loading Small Washing Machines

NCE 2.5kg Top Load Washing Machine

nce_top load

Camec Compact 2.5kg RV Washing Machine


Front Loading Small Washing Machines

Dometic RV 3kg Washing Machine

Camec Compact 4kg RV Washing Machine


Wall Mounted Small Washing Machine

Daewoo 2kg Wall Mountable Mini Washer 240V

Portable washing machines

This is the type of machine that I think makes the most sense for us (other than hand washing / manual washing, of course). They’re light, so we could store it in the car and just bring it out on the days we need it. Although the twin tubs look like they’d be a bit of a pain IMO. I have to admit though, it would still be better than hand washing or lugging everything off to the laundromat.

Companion RV Washing Machine


Devanti 4KG Mini Portable Washing Machine – Black

GECKO 4.6kg Mini Portable Washing Machine Camping Caravan Outdoor Boat RV Dry

Companion Twin Tub Washing Machine

Della Small Compact Portable Washing Machine 5kg Capacity with Spin Dryer


Portable Twin Tub Caravan Student Washing Machine & Spin Dryer Load 230w

Devanti 5KG Mini Portable Washing Machine – White

Dryers and washer/dryer combos

If you want to have a dryer in your caravan or motorhome, well we’ve got that covered for you too!

Daewoo 2.5kg Wall Mountable Mini Combo Washer & Dryer

It’s a tiny little number (and the dryer is even smaller at just 1kg) but gosh it would be convenient when you’ve run out of clean undies and you’ve gotta get them dry.

Camec Compact 3.2kg RV Dryer

Manual washers

In this section we’re going to look at those nifty gadgets you can find that help you to do your washing without needing a washing machine. It’s kinda like hand washing on steriods! Hang out to the end where I explain the number one method that everyone talks about on all the facebook groups for doing your washing on a travel day. It’s a good ‘ole Aussie solution that everyone from Mick Dundee to Alby Mangels would be proud of!

Companion EzyWash Washing Machine

Portable Mobile Manual Hand Camping Washing Machine Camp Washer Laundry Rotary

The Scrubba Wash Bag

This is a great Aussie invention I’m starting to see pop up on travel blogs all over the world. It’s getting great reviews. The Scrubba takes the principle of hand washing with a ridged, bumpy washboard, and puts into into a waterproof bag. Just put your clothes in, with some water and detergent and scrub away for a few minutes. Rinse and hang out. Done.

The Bucket Method

Here’s the method that I see talked about all the time as the best way of getting your laundry done of you’re going to be on the road that day.I haven’t tried it myself, but here are the steps:
  1. Get a bucket with a lid
  2. Fill it with with water, your dirty clothes and a dose of wool wash (not too full, you want to allow for some agitation)
  3. Set it somewhere where it will get bounced around the most; maybe the shower, on the A-frame of the caravan or in the tow vehicle. (Obviously not the bed or the couch… that IS obvious, right?)
  4. Travel. If you happen to be doing lots of corrugated roads then that’s great!
  5. When you get to camp, wring out the clothes and hang up to dry.
Apparently, the use of wool wash means that you don’t have to rinse the clothes and the agitation of being on the road is enough to get the clothes clean. Worth a try, huh! The Wandering Jocks have taken it a step further and mounted a ‘washing box’ at the front of their caravan. Check it out!

Using a campground laundry room or laundromat

This isn’t exactly an art form, but here’s a few tips I’ve picked up that might be handy to newbies. You’ll figure it out, but sheesh it’s annoying when you forget the washing powder and have to pay $2 per packet (one load) when you can sometimes buy a whole box for 2 bucks!
  1. Have plenty of coins – they don’t always have coin machines in there so we have a little container that all our $1 and $2 coins go in to
  2. Bring your own laundry detergent – buying it from them is super expensive
  3. Read the signs to make sure your don’t put your clothes into the machines that are designated for work clothes or pet blankets
  4. Get used to the idea that some laundromats are cleaner than others. Usually there’s only one laundromat in town, so if it’s not very well maintained or cleaned then you might find your clothes smell weird of end up with washing powder residue (that’s the experience we’ve had) but it’s either that or dirty clothes. I don’t really know the answer to this dilemma… except to have your own washing machine!
  5. If you leave the laundry room while your clothes wash, make sure you come back BEFORE the cycle finishes. There are some people (who are waiting for your machine) who will take your clothes out THE SECOND the cycle finishes. Grrr.

Clothes Lines

Now that you’ve got lovely clean clothes, it’s time to get them dry. Have you guys seen these types of clothes dryers everywhere? It’s like 2 out of every 3 caravans has one of these sitting outside. Did I miss a sale at Bunnings or something?

OZtrail Deluxe Clothesline

Of course there’s the good ole clothes airer type:

Companion Quick Fold Clothes Line Stand

But I think the most practical option is the one where I see people their clothes under their awning. (Not us, we don’t have an awning.)
For us at the moment, the most practical and convenient option is to go to the laundry room or laundromat. Since we’re not working at outside jobs (just doing online stuff) we don’t have to keep up with work clothes so that makes it heaps easier. What about you? If you’re on the road already, what do you do to get your clothes clean?

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Thursday 13th of August 2020

We had one of the little plastic twintubs. It was an excellent machine. We could put it out in the sunshine to use it and tuck it away when finished. And it did a great job

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