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Best way to do laundry while boondocking?

mlts22
Explorer
Explorer
When boondocking, I use a five gallon bucket from Lowe's, a plunger, and a decent liquid soap.

I end up washing the clothes, pouring the wastewater through a strainer in my bathtub (so it goes into the gray tank), then filling up and doing a rinse, that water either goes into the gray tank, or gets used to flush the toilet with.

For drying, if the weather is cold, I use a drying rack above a floor furnace vent. If the weather is hot, I position the clothes in the same place, and aim a fan at them since it is by the A/C dump vent. If the weather isn't either extreme, the clothes go into the bathroom and I use the vent fan in there for air circulation.

By chance, does anyone have some decent tips for doing laundry while well away off the beaten path?
21 REPLIES 21

wbwood
Explorer
Explorer
I saw someone using one of these in a video to ring out the clothes..

Brian
2013 Thor Chateau 31L

Naio
Explorer
Explorer
WishWeWereCamping wrote:
To disallow drying lines is totally lowlife, in my opinion ;).


Agreed!
3/4 timing in a DIY van conversion. Backroads, mountains, boondocking, sometimes big cities for a change of pace.

bka0721
Explorer
Explorer
WishWeWereCamping wrote:
bka0721 wrote:
Secure your clothes line well, because the weight of the wet clothes and the wind blowing them can be a weighty issue. Spread them out and pin to clothes line. After a while, go out and reverse top to bottom (for those that didn’t hang clothes with their mom or dad as a kid). You’ll be surprised how fast this works. Plus, in dry and warm areas you can hang your clothes after dark and have things dry before the sun comes up. This is a good way of drying your clothes if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or your location.
With clothes washed the old fashioned way, it will certainly leave you with a sense of accomplishment and smelling a lot better than if you had not.b
You have this down to a science. I'm am truly impressed. We hang everything out at home, only use the dryer when it's been raining for over a week. I dislike using Laundromats, it seems that even though we thoroughly check the washers/dryers before use, some alien article of clothing appears in our finished product and that really creeps me out.

What really makes me sad is when we camp at a place where they won't let you put out drying lines. We don't frequent places like that if we don't have to. To disallow drying lines is totally lowlife, in my opinion ;).

Thanks. I’ve been doing this for many years, so it has become a routine.

That is terrible that you are not able to dry your clothes. Are you not able to dry at night (after everyone goes to bed) and gather things before dawn? I did this last year at Lost Dutchman State Park’s campground and no one saw my clothes drying on the line. Since I pull a trailer for my toys, I have it set up for clothes lines too and dry clothes in there, as well.


FULLTIMEWANABE wrote:
Sorry I'm not very good with creating a link 😞http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71oVETm6RdL._SL1500_.jpg Available on Amazon from $12 to $21. Most Boondocking RVers are saying they love it, gives the upper torso a workout and doesn't take long.

Sorry I'm not very good with creating a link 😞
The boondockers I know like keeping things simple. They tend to be more of the D.I.Y. crowd. Plus getting something at your grocery store or Big Box for less than $5 is a winning combination. It is nothing but a toilet plunger with a few holes cut into it. Actually a 2X4 will do the same thing.

b
08 F550-4X4-CC-6.4L Dsl-206"WB GVWR17,950#
09 Lance 1191
1,560wSolar~10-6vGC2-1,160AmpH~Tri-Star-Two(2)60/MPPT~Xantrex 2000W
300wSolar~2-6vAGM-300AmpH~Tri-Star45/MPPT~Xantrex 1500W
16 BMW R1200GSW Adventure
16 KTM 500 EXC
06 Honda CRF450X
09 Haulmark Trlr

WishWeWereCampi
Explorer
Explorer
add this at the front of the link [ url] and this at the end [ /url] omit the spaces

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71oVETm6RdL._SL1500_.jpg

FULLTIMEWANABE
Explorer
Explorer
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71oVETm6RdL._SL1500_.jpg Available on Amazon from $12 to $21. Most Boondocking RVers are saying they love it, gives the upper torso a workout and doesn't take long.

Sorry I'm not very good with creating a link 😞
It Takes No More Effort To Aim High Than To Aim Low - Reach For The Stars

WishWeWereCampi
Explorer
Explorer
bka0721 wrote:
The boondocking I do, I am hours away from a town that would have a laundromat, plus I don’t really want to go into town to do this task when I carry everything I need with me. Like has been stated before, I carry extra clothes to do the long distance before washing them.

But, when the time comes and water is available, stream, lake, pond and my favorite a windmill with a stock pond, I just whip up my own washer water. It just needs a bit of filtering. No tadpoles, minnows, bugs and sticks in my laundry water! Explained below.

All one needs, is biodegradable water, a plunger with 1” holes drilled out of it, three buckets, a hamper and adequate clothes line and pins. (Please, please do not wash clothes in streams, lakes or ponds and certainly don’t dump your spent laundry water into them. Dump them 200 ft. from any water source onto the ground. No, it makes no difference if the soap you used is biodegradable. Love your earth and your earth will love you.)

Start with 4 five gallon buckets, if you are carrying water up from a water source. You will need 3 to wash and 1 to carry the water up from the water source. Having a DC power sump pump works, if you have one. But, be aware that this is in conflict with water laws with most western states. But, in most cases no one is going to complain for this type of water use. Just be aware of the fact that water is important to land owners in the west.

Get one of the buckets out and carry some water up from the stream, lake and or pond. Take an empty bucket and insert a well-worn pillow case. Pour the water into the empty bucket now wearing the pillow case. (You can see this is my outside shower bucket too, with shower nozzle attached. You can see my Shower stand shadow as well as my shower mats. So everything I have with me, has multiple uses.)





Pull out the Pillow Case slowly out and be sure to note which side in the side you insert into the empty bucket. (I use the seam side for the side I pour into) Insert it into the newly empty bucket and pour the just filled bucket into newly Pillow Case Cladded bucket and repeat until you feel everything looks clean enough to start washing your clothes! (to clean the pillow case, turn it inside out and shake)




One with soap and the other two will get soapy soon enough. Then just rotate the buckets. The middle bucket becomes the first bucket and the first bucket is emptied and filled again with clean water, as does the final rinse bucket. Do it enough times and you’ll catch on how this works.

I had a wooden handle plunger but a friend borrowed it and didn’t bring it back. Just get a toilet plunger, drill out some holes with a hole saw bit. Then get after the clothes in the first bucket. Don’t over fill with clothes! Room with water will get your clothes cleaner. Set the clothes into the 2nd bucket and let soak while you hammer on another set in the 1st bucket. Plunge the clothes in the 2nd bucket, wring out the clothes and set into rinse bucket. Plunge the final Rinse Bucket Clothes and pull out and wring out and place in hamper. Repeat process until all your clothes are in the hamper and you are out of water.




Secure your clothes line well, because the weight of the wet clothes and the wind blowing them can be a weighty issue. Spread them out and pin to clothes line. After a while, go out and reverse top to bottom (for those that didn’t hang clothes with their mom or dad as a kid). You’ll be surprised how fast this works. Plus, in dry and warm areas you can hang your clothes after dark and have things dry before the sun comes up. This is a good way of drying your clothes if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or your location.




With clothes washed the old fashioned way, it will certainly leave you with a sense of accomplishment and smelling a lot better than if you had not.

b


You have this down to a science. I'm am truly impressed. We hang everything out at home, only use the dryer when it's been raining for over a week. I dislike using Laundromats, it seems that even though we thoroughly check the washers/dryers before use, some alien article of clothing appears in our finished product and that really creeps me out.

What really makes me sad is when we camp at a place where they won't let you put out drying lines. We don't frequent places like that if we don't have to. To disallow drying lines is totally lowlife, in my opinion ;).

RamblinManGA
Explorer
Explorer
Hi from AZ. . . we found this at Amazon, works well with 5 gal bucketMobileWasher - Hand Operating Washing Machine - Perfect for Camping, Dorms, Emergencies and more regards, Craig
Formerly 'Seahawk09'

bka0721
Explorer
Explorer
Ooops I forgot to add the pics of the buckets I use for laundry.




Naio wrote:
I have trouble with my hands, so wringing is out of the question. I've thought about getting one of those roller


Yes, they are still available, if you can find them at a 2nd hand store or estate sale. They do have them for sale at Amazon.com

Clothes Wringer Clicky
08 F550-4X4-CC-6.4L Dsl-206"WB GVWR17,950#
09 Lance 1191
1,560wSolar~10-6vGC2-1,160AmpH~Tri-Star-Two(2)60/MPPT~Xantrex 2000W
300wSolar~2-6vAGM-300AmpH~Tri-Star45/MPPT~Xantrex 1500W
16 BMW R1200GSW Adventure
16 KTM 500 EXC
06 Honda CRF450X
09 Haulmark Trlr

Naio
Explorer
Explorer
I have trouble with my hands, so wringing is out of the question. I've thought about getting one of those roller wringers... they still sell them, for example for janitors to use on mops.

But so far I have just carried about 20 pairs of undies (they don't take up much space!) and worn my clothes for multiple days if the weather is cool, before putting them in the 'dirty' bag. I can get through two weeks or three, that way.
3/4 timing in a DIY van conversion. Backroads, mountains, boondocking, sometimes big cities for a change of pace.

wbwood
Explorer
Explorer
I like the mobile washer plunger idea and a 5 gallon bucket...
Brian
2013 Thor Chateau 31L

bka0721
Explorer
Explorer
The boondocking I do, I am hours away from a town that would have a laundromat, plus I don’t really want to go into town to do this task when I carry everything I need with me. Like has been stated before, I carry extra clothes to do the long distance before washing them.

But, when the time comes and water is available, stream, lake, pond and my favorite a windmill with a stock pond, I just whip up my own washer water. It just needs a bit of filtering. No tadpoles, minnows, bugs and sticks in my laundry water! Explained below.

All one needs, is biodegradable water, a plunger with 1” holes drilled out of it, three buckets, a hamper and adequate clothes line and pins. (Please, please do not wash clothes in streams, lakes or ponds and certainly don’t dump your spent laundry water into them. Dump them 200 ft. from any water source onto the ground. No, it makes no difference if the soap you used is biodegradable. Love your earth and your earth will love you.)

Start with 4 five gallon buckets, if you are carrying water up from a water source. You will need 3 to wash and 1 to carry the water up from the water source. Having a DC power sump pump works, if you have one. But, be aware that this is in conflict with water laws with most western states. But, in most cases no one is going to complain for this type of water use. Just be aware of the fact that water is important to land owners in the west.

Get one of the buckets out and carry some water up from the stream, lake and or pond. Take an empty bucket and insert a well-worn pillow case. Pour the water into the empty bucket now wearing the pillow case. (You can see this is my outside shower bucket too, with shower nozzle attached. You can see my Shower stand shadow as well as my shower mats. So everything I have with me, has multiple uses.)





Pull out the Pillow Case slowly out and be sure to note which side in the side you insert into the empty bucket. (I use the seam side for the side I pour into) Insert it into the newly empty bucket and pour the just filled bucket into newly Pillow Case Cladded bucket and repeat until you feel everything looks clean enough to start washing your clothes! (to clean the pillow case, turn it inside out and shake)




One with soap and the other two will get soapy soon enough. Then just rotate the buckets. The middle bucket becomes the first bucket and the first bucket is emptied and filled again with clean water, as does the final rinse bucket. Do it enough times and you’ll catch on how this works.

I had a wooden handle plunger but a friend borrowed it and didn’t bring it back. Just get a toilet plunger, drill out some holes with a hole saw bit. Then get after the clothes in the first bucket. Don’t over fill with clothes! Room with water will get your clothes cleaner. Set the clothes into the 2nd bucket and let soak while you hammer on another set in the 1st bucket. Plunge the clothes in the 2nd bucket, wring out the clothes and set into rinse bucket. Plunge the final Rinse Bucket Clothes and pull out and wring out and place in hamper. Repeat process until all your clothes are in the hamper and you are out of water.




Secure your clothes line well, because the weight of the wet clothes and the wind blowing them can be a weighty issue. Spread them out and pin to clothes line. After a while, go out and reverse top to bottom (for those that didn’t hang clothes with their mom or dad as a kid). You’ll be surprised how fast this works. Plus, in dry and warm areas you can hang your clothes after dark and have things dry before the sun comes up. This is a good way of drying your clothes if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or your location.




With clothes washed the old fashioned way, it will certainly leave you with a sense of accomplishment and smelling a lot better than if you had not.

b
08 F550-4X4-CC-6.4L Dsl-206"WB GVWR17,950#
09 Lance 1191
1,560wSolar~10-6vGC2-1,160AmpH~Tri-Star-Two(2)60/MPPT~Xantrex 2000W
300wSolar~2-6vAGM-300AmpH~Tri-Star45/MPPT~Xantrex 1500W
16 BMW R1200GSW Adventure
16 KTM 500 EXC
06 Honda CRF450X
09 Haulmark Trlr

SuzzeeeQ2012
Explorer
Explorer
Laundromat 🙂


it's pretty easy I don't even do this at home. Once a week, or even longer, we do ALL of it at one time. I get help (not at home lol) and it's done in 2 hours. love doing it that way.
1997 HR Endeavor Turbo Diesel

Gjac
Explorer
Explorer
Over the last 10 years my washing has evolved. I travel in "universal" shorts and sandals. I usually go for a swim at the end of the days activities and just hang these up to dry. Most are Coolmax from my running days or nylon and they dry fast. I have the same kind of T shirts if I have to go into town or some other tourist place. I generate almost 0 laundry. We used to backpack when younger. My wife is another story. She wants to do bedding and her laundry once a week, my water is usually low by then an my batteries are down to 50%. So now we just go to a camp site with electric and laundry, dump tanks, fill FW, do laundry and bring batteries back to 100% SOC. By next morning we leave.

2gypsies1
Explorer
Explorer
mlts22 wrote:


I end up washing the clothes, pouring the wastewater through a strainer in my bathtub (so it goes into the gray tank), then filling up and doing a rinse, that water either goes into the gray tank, or gets used to flush the toilet with.



So...you put all the water in the grey tank. Then what?

You might carry more underwear to get you through for a week or two and then go to the laundramat. You'll need groceries anyway so make it in one trip and you'll be done for another couple weeks.
Full-Timed for 16 Years
.... Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 40' 2004 Newmar Dutch Star Motorhome
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

Golden_HVAC
Explorer
Explorer
What I did while boondocking and living full time in my RV is have 3 weeks worth of clothes. It made it kinda nice, I could fit everything into 3 large washing machines at the laundrymat, and do all the clothes in about 2.5 hours. And because the front loading washers lock, and nobody can harm your clothes, it gave me time to grocery shopping while waiting for the washer to finish.

It does not take that much space to have three weeks worth of socks and underwear, and 25 or so t-shirts. I would wear my jeans a couple of days. .. Shorts normally got 2-3 days, until they got dirty.

Good luck,

Fred.
Money can't buy happiness but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a

Porsche or Country Coach!



If there's a WILL, I want to be in it!



I havn't been everywhere, but it's on my list.

Kangen.com Alkaline water

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