How To Keep Your Clothes Clean During Your Next Campervan Trip

Learn all the methods available to you to keep your clothes clean on the next campervan trip

Washing clothes isn't exactly entertaining but it is a necessary part of life. In a traditional home, it's often as simple as throwing the clothes into a washing machine and walking away. It can be a lot more difficult to keep your clothes clean when you're on the road. Whether it's a short vacation or you're planning a road trip across the country, you need to have a plan to keep your clothes clean.

Chances are, you won't have any sort of traditional washing machine on your motorhome. That doesn't mean your clothes need to stay dirty. There are quite a few different ways that you can stay fresh, clean, and dry while on the road. Several of these solutions will be covered below.

But first, let's talk about those dirty clothes.

The first step towards clean living on the road is finding a suitable place to store your dirty clothes. You likely won't wash clothes quite as often as at home which means you need adequate space for all of the dirty, muddy, stinky clothes that you accumulate. Throwing them around the camper or back in the drawers is definitely a bad idea.

An airtight plastic bag is a simple and affordable solution for storing dirty clothes. The bag must be as airtight as possible. This prevents the odours from escaping the bag and it also reduces the development speed of mould and mildew. Sweaty, muddy, or otherwise wet clothes are prone to mildew development with prolonged exposure to air. With a single bag, you can slow down the mould and lock away those unpleasant smells.

Common Laundry Problems on the Road

Three major obstacles prevent you from washing clothes in a traditional manner while on the road. They are:

1. Fresh Water Access

2. Limited Motorhome Space

3. Nowhere to Dry

These might sound like serious obstacles but don't worry, because every problem has its solution. Fresh water can be located with a little bit of planning. Limited space does prevent the usage of a traditional washer and dryer; however, there are other tools you can use to wash your clothes. Finally, a combination of the right tools and the right weather can make drying clothes much easier.

Make Use of Campsites

Campsites are the easiest solution to all of your cleaning problems. The majority of campsites will have an on-site facility where you can wash and dry your clothes. These facilities may even be open to travellers who are not staying at the campsite for the night but you will need to clarify this with management.

Campsite laundry facilities are typically operated by coin slots on the machines. Some newer machines can accept debit or credit cards. You may also need to make pay a staff member and receive a token or card that allows you to use the machines. Aside from the occasional staff interactions, these machines are self-service and can be used at any time of the day. You will need to bring your own detergent unless they sell small packs at the laundry facility. You can learn about a campsite's laundry facility and its policies by visiting its website or contacting its staff.

See our list of the best campsites in Ireland in our opinion.

Find a Nearby Laundrette

Most towns, both big and small, have laundrettes available to the public. These function similarly to the laundry facilities at a campsite. They will be coin or card-operated and fully self-service. Most laundrettes are in operation 24/7 and there are no requirements to use the facility.

Using a laundrette each time you wash clothes can quickly run up a surprising bill. It's not uncommon to spend around €20 to wash clothes for two or more people. A single person can probably spend closer to €10. You can lower this cost significantly by choosing to dry your clothes in a different location. If the weather is agreeable, then you can wash your clothes at the laundrette and dry them outside near your campervan.

Wash Clothes Inside the Motorhome

What do you do if you're kilometres away from a laundrette or campsite? Or maybe you just don't want to spend €20 to clean the mud off your clothes. There are a few different ways that you can wash your clothes in or near the campervan. These techniques are particularly useful when you're camping far away from civilization.

1. Washing Basin: This is essentially a large bucket. Some of them have legs and some of them sit directly on the ground. When it's not in use, you can keep the basin empty and stored away in the motorhome. When it's time to wash clothes, then you can move the basin outside and fill it with warm water and laundry soap. To dry the clothes, you'll need to hang them outside on a line.

2. Sink: If you've spent a lot of time on the road, then you've probably already washed your clothes in the sink once or twice. It's a fast and easy way to clean a small load of clothes. Simply fill the sink with hot water and laundry soap before adding the clothes. Let them sit for at least half an hour, scrub them clean, rinse off the soap, and then hang them outside to dry.

3. Washing Bags: These are specialized bags designed for people who need to wash their clothes on the road. First, you fill the bag with warm water, soap, and clothes. The bag is then rubbed against a hard surface, such as a tree, and then the clothes are removed. Add the clothes back into the bag with warm water and no soap. Repeat the process to rinse the clothes and then hang them to dry.

Protect the Environment

Keeping your clothes clean is important but so is protecting the environment. The dirty water and soap that you have left over should never be dumped into a lake, river, or another clean water source. It should always be scattered at a distance of at least 100 metres from clean water sources. It's also highly recommended that you use environmentally friendly cleaning detergents if you plan to dump the excess outdoors.

See our tips to help you reduce your waste on your campervan trip.

Keeping Your Clothes Dry

Finding the best way to dry your clothes can sometimes be more difficult than washing them. If the weather is warm and windy, then it's as simple as hanging them on a clothesline outside of the campervan. Unfortunately, it's often fairly damp and cold in this area. It's a good idea to invest in a clothes wringer just in case the weather decides to work against you.

Rent your campervan from us at Rambling Rover to enjoy a luxury trip!