Boondocking Basics

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How to do Laundry While Boondocking

How to do Laundry While Boondocking


The two most popular ways that people do laundry while boondocking is 1. drive into town and visit a laundromat, and 2. wash clothes by hand using a couple of 5-gallon buckets. Most people take the first option, because they tend to move camp every 7 to 14 days anyway. Either way, how to do laundry while boondocking involves using as little of your own water as you can.

washing laundry while boondocking
We tried using a portable washing machine at one time

How to do Laundry While Boondocking

Many campers we’ve met asked us how to do laundry while boondocking. It’s always interesting to hear how others handle the task of washing and drying clothes…

Visit a Laundromat

This is still by far the most common method among boondockers. Since most folks pack up and move camp every 7 to 14 days, they look for a laundromat along the way that offers enough parking space for their rig.

  • Most laundromats have bill changers for coins.
  • Many laundromats now take debit cards on the machines themselves.
  • Remember to bring laundry detergent with you.

Use Two 5-Gallon Buckets

how to do laundry while boondocking
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It’s very common to do laundry while boondocking this way. You fill one bucket with about 2 gallons of water along with your favorite laundry detergent. Then you fill the second bucket with about 2 gallons of clean water. You will also need a toilet bowl plunger.

  • Put the clothes into the bucket with the detergent and use the toilet bowl plunger as an agitator. Press and stir the clothes for at least 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the clothes into the bucket with clean water, and rinse.
  • Wring out your clothes and hang them somewhere to dry.

Portable Washing Machine

portable washing machine
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These have become popular with full-time RVers lately. Portable washing machines (see it on Amazon) are much smaller than conventional washers, about the size of an end-table, and are very lightweight…

  • They require about 5-7 gallons of water per load.
  • Combined laundry + water can weigh no more than 8-10 pounds, about two sets of clothes max.
  • It has no dryer, only a spin cycle to wring out water.
  • They are intended to sit inside a shower or bathtub when in use.
  • They require 110v power (AC electric).
  • Most units cost between $150.00 to $200.00.

This is not the ideal way to do laundry while boondocking. It’s better suited for RV parks and campgrounds where you have a water hookup and sewer drain.

The downside to these units is that they take up a lot of room in an RV, and they use up a lot of water per load. There is also no way to wash multiple loads using the same soapy water; you have to use up another 5-7 gallons of clean water for each load. Read, “30 Tips to Make an RV Water Tank Last for a Month“.

Shout Wipe & Go

shout wipe and go
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These are moist towelettes (see it on Amazon), similar to those you get at barbecue restaurants, except they’re formulated to remove stains from clothing. They are meant to be used in emergency situations, like when you’re going out on a date and you don’t want to look like a slob…

  • For boondocking purposes, these individual packets take up little room.
  • In some cases, you can use these in lieu of a full & proper wash.

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