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Whether you’re off for a weekend away or planning a longer-term trip, you’ll always want your van to feel comfy and sweet smelling.

Keeping clothes and bedding fresh and clean is a vital part of this. But without quite the same standard of home appliances, how can you go about doing your laundry while on the road. Read on to find out some tips and tricks to help make van life laundry a breeze.

While you’re keeping your van spic and span, why not take the time to protect it both inside and out with straightforward campervan insurance?


The great laundry challenge

Life in a campervan can present some stiff challenges when it comes to washing clothes and bedding. These include:

  • Limited fresh water – If you don’t have a water hook-up at a campsite you’ll soon get through your supply of fresh water if you wash anything but the smallest of items.
  • Lack of space – Space is always at a premium in a campervan. So it’s unlikely you’ve got room for a washer and dryer!
  • Lack of power – Laundry appliances can drain a huge amount of electrical power. Even the most efficient campervan power system is probably not capable of meeting these demands. However, there are some inventive hand-powered washers on the market if you look around.
  • Drying clothes – Often the most difficult part of the process. Drying them indoors is a no-no if you want to avoid condensation, and that unpleasant damp smell that gets everywhere is unlikely to please your campmates.

A person folding clothes on a bed

Tips and tricks for van laundry

Campervan owners are an innovative bunch who are always coming up with handy hints on how to make the most of van life. We’ve rounded up some of the best advice we’ve found from owners on campervan forums below.


Storing dirty clothes

Storage is always an important consideration in campervans so where can you put all the dirty clothing in the lead up to washday? The best advice is to store them in an airtight bag and make sure it’s closed tight!

This will keep any smells under control and reduce the chance of mold developing on damp clothes between washing. After all, you don’t want your muddy hiking gear to become the predominant smell in your home on wheels.


A trip to the local laundrette

Perhaps the most popular place to do your laundry is at campsite laundry facilities or in a nearby town’s laundrette.

If you’re on a long trip then these are great for washing and drying larger items like duvets or jeans.

They’re also pretty handy on rainy days, too! A full load will usually cost around £5 to wash and £3 to dry. So, while it’s not the cheapest it’s probably the most hassle-free for larger loads. While waiting for your laundry to be done, why not try out 8 things to do on a rainy day in your motorhome to pass some time.

A launderette with many washing machines

Handwashing hints

Handwashing your clothes in your van’s sink is a great solution for smaller items such as socks.

It’s probably the best option for those travelling for short periods who just want to freshen up some essential items. It’ll also save on money and fresh water. However, make sure you use environmentally friendly detergent even if you do have grey waste.

It’s not only better for the environment but also kinder to your skin.


Perfectly portable washing machines

No, we aren’t talking about the kind of power-hungry appliance you find in your bricks and mortar home. Instead take a look at some of the great off-grid washing machines now available.

While they do require more effort, it's only a few minutes once or twice a week and it’s a very rewarding task. Indeed, you might actually end up saving a whole bunch of cash, a lot of trips to the laundrette and also add to your trip’s eco-credentials.

One of the most highly rated is the Scrubba which is essentially a sealable bag with an integrated washboard. However, whatever machine you choose they aren’t well suited to larger items.

Whatever pieces of camping equipment you take with you on holiday, call Motorhome Protect to check whether it’s covered by your campervan insurance. Whether through damage or loss or theft, a lot can happen even on the shortest of trips.


Sustainable solutions

Doing the laundry can be detrimental to the environment if you’re not careful. If doing your laundry on a campsite, dispose of grey water in their facilities.

When wild camping or living off grid, you’ll have to dispose of grey water in a safe place (at least 100 metres from any water source).

Scatter the water rather than pouring it and always use a biodegradable detergent. There are many eco-friendly detergents on the market, but you can also make them yourself using natural ingredients.

There are plenty of recipes on the internet, have a go and see which one you prefer!

A clothes line with socks hanging up to dry

Solving the drying dilemma

Unless you’re using a laundrette, drying your clothes when you live in a van is the biggest headache of van-life laundry.

Bringing wet or even damp clothes inside the vehicle is always a bad idea because of the condensation it inevitably leads to.

Avoid this by first squeezing out enough water from your clothes before hanging them out to dry in the sun and wind.

Unfortunately our damp climate can make this almost impossible! Perhaps invest in a clothes wringer or drying kit – this could be a lightweight towel which you wrap around each item of clothing individually before twisting dry.


Van protection from Motorhome Protect

Successful van living will always require an emphasis on the practicalities of life on the road. So, in preparation for heading back out there, make sure you’ve got the right campervan insurance for your requirements.

The knowledgeable team at Motorhome Protect will be certain to find you the best policy suited to your particular vehicle, needs and budget.

Campervan insurance policies arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:

  • Unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the European Union
  • Cover of camping personal effects for up to £3,500
  • Up to 6 months to complete a self-build conversion
  • Cover for campervans with a value up to £150,000
  • Unlimited mileage cover

Call Motorhome Protect today for a quick quote.

Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.