Tuesday, August 4, 2009

LAUNDRY - Costs and Tips for RV'ers

LAUNDRY – Costs and Tips for RV’ers


If you are an occasional/regular/frequent camper, or a Full-Timer, you quickly realize that you can travel with a limited amount of clothes. Once you accept this, you know you have to wash clothes while on your trip.


Selecting a Campground based on Laundry:


You will often have several selections of campgrounds when you are planning your trip. I recommend that while you are selecting a Campground, that you add these questions to your others when you call them;

1- Do you have a Laundry?
2- How many Washers and Dryers are in the Laundry?
3- Is the Laundry well-lit and Air-Conditioned? (especially in the Summer)?
4- How many of the machines are broken at this time? If they don’t know, then they probably don’t care if/when they get repaired.)
5-Wh at is the cost per Wash (# of minutes for amount charged)
6- What is the cost per Drying (# of minutes for amount charged)
7- Is there a functioning change machine in the Laundry (or even on site)?
8- Is there a Campground Store, and do they sell detergents (in case you run out)?

Washer/Dryer Costs:

You find very quickly that there is a wide range of pricing for using the washing and drying machines in different campgrounds. You need to set an acceptable cost limit for yourself, and make your decisions based on these. For example some costs we have seen in our travels are;


1- Washer - $1.25 for 30 minutes and Dryer- $1.25 for 60 minutes. This works out to $2.50/Hour for the Washer, and $1.25/Hour for the Dryer.

2- Washer - $1.00 for 30 minutes and Dryer - $0.25 for 6 minutes. This works out to $2.00/Hour for the Washer, and $2.50/Hour for the Dryer


There other places we have been with both lower and higher pricing, but you should look at how many Washer loads you have and how many Dryer loads you have to use at the campgrounds pricing and calculate what your costs are going to be.One option is that often there are public Laundry’s nearby that use larger machines, and sometimes have lower per/load pricing? Check it out.


Clothes Washing/Drying Tools and Tips:

You also find out that the different campgrounds have different restrictions on drying clothes at your camper, from “not allowed at all” to allowing small specific clothes hanging devices. Here are some types of Washing and Drying devices favored by many Campers:

1- Built-In Washer/Dryer – Many of the larger and newer RV’s and Campers have a built-in unit, generally a combination unit, that can wash and dry a small load of clothes. I have one, and have talked to others that have them and there is a general consensus that they are excellent for washing a couple of sets of clothes/underwear/socks every 2-3 days to avoid using the campground laundry, but eventually those linens and towels will demand you use a laundry with a full-size machine.

You also have to keep in mind that the washer will use a significant amount of your water, and visibly raise the level in your Gray-Water Tank. And, the Dryer pretty much demands a 50-Amp service at your site. So, even though we own and use our Washer/Dryer, we still use the Campground Laundry, only less often than without owning one.

2- Clothes Line – There are still some Campgrounds that let you use a clothes line, but the vast majority do not. If you are allowed; run a line from your Camper/RV to a tree, but avoid driving nails in the trees. This really upsets the Campground owners, so do not do this. It is unnecessary really, as you can easily wrap a Bungee around the tree, and tie your line to it.

3- Clothes Stands – Some Campgrounds will allow you to use one of those free-standing Clothes Stands. You know the ones that accordion out, and stand alone allowing several wood or plastic bars that towels, and other laundry can hang on to dry.

4- Ladder Clothes Board – Some RV owners use a cantilevered clothesbar that hangs on the rear ladder (see Fig-4). This is one of the most popular choices by RV’ers; easy to build, easy to attach, uses minimal drying space, and stores easily in

your RV.







Essentially it is a plank of wood, generally 4 foot long, by ½ inch thick, by 6-inches wide. To make one;


  • Measure the distance between the ladder braces of your RV ladder,
  • Cut 2 notches on opposite edges of on end of the board spaced to fit the 2 ladder braces,
  • Start at the opposite end of the board and drill a row of 3/8-inch holes spaced 2-inches apart, 1-inch from the edge, down the lower edge of the board for clothes hangers.

5- Ladder clothes Hanger – There are several commercial versions of accordion-type extendable clothes hanging bars that bolt to your RV ladder. They cost $50-$80 and are found in your local RV accessory stores. They are easy to use, and store easily in your RV, and they are accepted by most Campgrounds.

6- AUTO Dryer – One thing my wife and I do is utilize the residual heat inside our Auto. We have a Jeep Wrangler TOAD and it has a roll bar. We buy those cheap plastic hangers you get at department stores in bundles.

And seeing as we almost exclusively wear T-Shirts and Polo Shirts while traveling and Camping, we wash these at the Laundry, and then hang them on the plastic hangers. We then hang these on a part of the roll bar in the rear seat, and drive back to our site. These clothes will generally dry in 4-6 hours on a sunny day inside a closed car.

I know most tow cars do not have roll bars, but you can pick up one of those extendable bars for travelers to hang clothes in the rear. These are relatively cheap and save a lot on dryer costs.

7- Other: - Traveling around the USA we have seen many other ingenious and sometimes stupid contraptions for drying clothes in Campgrounds. The ones listed here are pretty good, but I wonder about some of the multi-jointed, sliding parts, inter-latching contraptions made of plastic plumbing pipes. One , easily had over $100 in pipe, elbows, metal screw-in eyelets and cords, and was enormous. Do what is right for you.