Doing Laundry by Hand in an RV

If your RV is too small for a washing machine, if it doesn’t have the necessary amperage, or if you boondock a lot, you may choose to hand launder your clothes. Washing laundry by hand might sound like a lot of work, but it is very easy to do with the right tools, and it will save you a small fortune at the laundromat.

To effectively and easily do laundry by hand, you need a Wonder Wash and a spin dryer, both available from The Laundry Alternative.

The Wonder Wash launders clothes by pressurizing the interior of the drum, much like a pressure cooker. It launders a load of clothes in about five minutes as cleanly as does a washing machine in an average half-hour cycle.

A spin dryer will wring the clothes out for you to the point of dampness, and then it will only take a short while for the clothes to dry completely on a clothesline or drying rack.

Setting Up the Laundry Station

The ideal setup is outdoors. Place a picnic table near both an electrical outlet and a source of water, preferably hot, such as an outdoor shower. Set up a drying rack or clothesline nearby.

Because of greywater dumping laws, it is preferable to dump the water into a bucket for transfer to the sewer system instead of dumping directly on the ground.

Not all RV parks will allow you to do laundry outside for aesthetic reasons. An alternative could be to wash and spin in the shower and then set up a drying rack between the dinette seats for drying.

Washing Clothes With a Wonder Wash

  • Pre-treat stains as normal.
  • Loosely pile the laundry into the drum to no more than three-quarters full. The capacity is about two pairs of jeans, two towels, five shirts, and a full load of underthings.
  • Add no more than one tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent. More will create suds that will need several rinses, increasing your workload.
  • Fill the drum with water to cover the clothes. Hot water is best, but cold water will do; it just requires more spinning.
  • Put on the lid and tighten it to pressurize.
  • Spin the drum for about one minute.
  • Release the lid and put it in the drain tube. Allow the water to drain, then remove the tub.
  • Fill the drum with clean water to rinse and repeat the above steps, or put the clothes in a basin of fresh water and agitate them.
  • When laundering white items, you can add bleach to the rinse water, then do an additional rinse cycle.

Drying Clothes With a Spin Dryer

  • The spin dryer will not effectively wring out a full load of heavy laundry. As a rule of thumb, plan on two spin cycles for every load.
  • Set up the spin dryer on a steady flat surface with the hose near a drain.
  • Transfer wet clothes to the spin dryer; do not pack tightly.
  • Insert the stabilizing disc.
  • Latch the lid.
  • Set the timer up to 5 minutes, depending on how wet the clothes are. Underwear only needs about a minute, while a towel could need a full 5 minutes.
  • The spin dryer will dance in place; monitor it closely so that it does not fall off the surface. You may wish to keep a guiding hand on the hose so that it does not jump up and spray the surrounding area.
  • Once the spin dryer has come to a complete stop, unlatch the lid, remove the stabilizing disc, and take out the clothes. Give them a gentle shake.
  • Hang the clothes on a line or a drying rack. If indoor conditions are damp, a radiant heater will help speed up the drying process.

Thanks to modern technology, washing laundry by hand is a quick and easy viable solution RVers without washing machines or who are looking to save money in any way they can.