One of the challenges of camping in or living in an RV for an extended period of time, whether it’s motorized or towed, is keeping up with the laundry. You want to keep clothes smelling fresh and looking great, which is not only important for your person, but for your RV’s interior aroma as well.
Keep dirty clothes separate from clean clothes.
This is particularly important if you are living out of a duffel bag or suitcase, but it applies to if you keep your clothes stored in bins or drawers, too: bring an extra duffel or laundry bag in which to put dirty clothes. You don’t want any indelicate smells or messes from the dirty items to make its way to your clean clothes. That being said, keep dirty clothes in a spot that won’t stink up the rest of the RV or tow vehicle. Some RVers keep laundry outside, others in the bed of the truck.
Resist the temptation to pack every piece of clothing you own.
It can seem appealing to bring along a lot of clothes in order to have options for your wardrobe and, if we’re being honest, to reduce the need to do laundry as frequently while on the road. This may be more of a challenge for weekend or vacationing travelers, as full-timers and seasonal RVers tend to have their attire narrowed down to the staples. However, even full-timers can find their RVs cluttered with extra clothing over time and especially when there is a variety of weather, such as what we have in Michigan. Carefully think about what pieces of clothing are essential. Throw in a favorite piece or two beyond that essential list, but stop there. You can do a lot with a little. And make sure to switch out clothes or purge clothing from time to time. As an option, you can donate clothes along the way.
Utilize a laundry line or drying rack.
Whether you’re visiting the nearest laundromat, using machines at a campground, or have your own on-board washer and/or dryer, you still want to be able to hang clothing outside. Wet clothing such as swimsuits or your regular clothes that are drenched from a downpour should be allowed to dry outdoors as much as possible. Wet clothes need to air out, otherwise they can generate smells or worse, mold. Or, you might want the flexibility to just wash your clothes in a wash bin or take them out of the washer at the laundromat and hang them up to dry at the campsite. A laundry line or drying rack is an indispensable item to have if you’ll be traveling for an extended period of time or living in an RV. Just be sure to check with the campground, RV resort, or RV park regarding the use of lines; some locations don’t like lines being tied around trees.
Do small loads more often.
This way the dirty laundry doesn’t hang around, and laundry day is not as overwhelming. This is especially key for families with children. You can also mix it up and save larger loads for machines and hand-wash smaller loads. Some RVers utilize a wash bin or a simple plastic tote with lid that’s filled with soap and water. By doing smaller loads more frequently, you keep more clothing in circulation and keep smells and stains at bay.
If the smelling gets tough, ventilate!
Make sure to ventilate your RV often, every day if possible. Do this when you’re cooking especially. Open the roof vents, crack open the windows, let the breeze dance in. Fresh air is good for indoor air quality as well as everyone’s overall health. Of course, there are plenty of plug-ins, deodorizing spraying solutions, and potpourri to choose from to neutralize or cover any unseemly smells… and to help you get to your next laundry day.
What about bedding and larger comforters? Most likely you’ll have to find a laundromat as its washers and dryers are much larger and more able to handle such bulky items. It’s important to clean sheet and pillow cases once a week. Bring an extra set of linens to help make fewer trips. Keep extra blankets, which you’ll appreciate on colder nights, but keep them stored in space saving vacuum bags when not in use.