This post will give you six tips for using the campground laundry while either camping or living fulltime on the road.
Before we lived in our RV fulltime, I had never used a laundromat. Even in college, I either did my laundry in the dorm or at my sorority house. So when we decided to go fulltime, I wondered what it would be like to leave my super clean and cheery laundry room in my house for a campground laundry.
I had preconceived notions about campground laundry rooms- dark, dirty, and not a place I’d like to spend time. Our first fifth-wheel came with a washer and dryer hookup, but since we weren’t sure how long we’d be on the road, we didn’t want to invest in one.
Over the last seven months, I’ve learned that not all campground laundry rooms are the same. While some are incredibly large with multiple sized washers and dryers and others have coin and credit card machines, a few have been so gross I’ve waited until the next stop to do laundry.
Be warned, however. Not all campgrounds HAVE laundry rooms, nor are they always in working order. Check in advance if you must have a campground laundry room.
How Many Loads Do I Do?
Each week I have about four to six loads of laundry. Typically, a load for Tim and me, one load for the kids, all of our sheets, and one or two loads of towels (we always have so many towels). Every other week, I wash all the blankets and might throw the pillows and comforters in the big dryer if one is available.
How Much Does Campground Laundry Cost?
Campground laundry costs can vary, but I’ve found the average to be about $2.00 for a load of wash (usually 25 minutes) and 25¢ for 10 minutes in the dryer. I prefer the dryers that cost by the minute rather than a set time. The worst is when your time is up, but your clothes are still slightly damp.
All the campgrounds we have been to have commercial washers and dryers, so you can wash and dry much larger loads than you would at home. Some have extra-large dryers. These are great for blankets, comforters, rugs (if they allow for it), and combining multiple loads.
I spend about $20 per week on laundry. It does seem expensive, and I’m always harping on everyone to wear their clothes twice, but we do spend most of our time outside. Clothes get wet and dirty or worse, smell like a campfire. I wash everything immediately after a night around the campfire. I have a weekly laundry budget, and if we find a campground with cheaper laundry, I’ll more than likely do laundry twice at that campground. I take advantage of the lower price and won’t have to do laundry at the next stop.
Do I Need Quarters?
Most campground laundry rooms will have a coin machine, or the front desk will have rolls of quarters. We save all the quarters we get in change, and I make sure we have at least $20 cash on hand each week. Some fancy RV resorts take credit cards. Usually, you’ll pay more per load, but I love these and wish more campgrounds offered them.
How to Sort
To save time and so I’m not a space hog (don’t be a space hog), I sort all my laundry before heading to the campground laundry room. Blue Ikea bags work well for this. Back home, I’d sort by color. Now I sort by weight. All jeans, sweatshirts, socks, and sweatpants go in one load. Workout gear, Kyle’s shorts and t-shirts, underwear, and other lightweight clothes in another. All towels wash together, and all sheets wash together. I use color catchers to combine multiple colors; however, if I know something is going to bleed, I wash that separately or by hand. If the laundry room has a large dryer, I combine wash loads and save time and money.
Do I Wait in the Laundry Room?
The reason I prefer doing campground laundry rather than going to a laundromat is convenience. I rarely wait in the laundry room for my laundry; I’ve never felt like someone might take off with my stuff. If you do leave the laundry room, SET A TIMER! Show up a few minutes before your load finishes, especially if it’s a busy laundry room. That being said, don’t be a nasty laundry person. Give a mom a break and wait a minute or two after the cycle buzzer goes off. Her kid might be having a major meltdown in the RV.
Most campground laundry will have a table for folding. Whether that is a big enough table for multiple people is out for debate. I like to fold my laundry in the laundry room, so it doesn’t get wrinkled (I miss my iron.) If wrinkles don’t bother you, go ahead, take your laundry back to the RV, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get your fold on. Otherwise, use the little laundry trolley to put your dry clothes in and fold away at the table. If it’s crowded, place your folded laundry immediately in your basket and off the table, so others have room.
Six Tips for Using the Campground Laundry:
- Use Ikea bags to haul laundry back and forth. They fold up for space-saving storage and can also be used for groceries, beach days, etc.
- Invest in a Costco carry-all cart. This cart is fantastic when you have to walk across the campground with multiple bags of laundry.
- Sort your loads before heading to the campground laundry. This will save you time and space.
- Use liquid detergent. I’ve found most campground laundry rooms prefer you to use liquid over pods.
- Make sure to have color catchers so you can sort by weight and not by color.
- Always have $20 cash on hand for laundry days and save those quarters!
Campground laundry doesn’t have to be a hassle. The way I see it, I can complete multiple loads of laundry in a relatively short amount of time so we can get out and explore.
Let me know if you use the campground laundry and how you feel about it below.