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Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road!

Laundry might not be the most glamorous part of van life, but it’s essential for maintaining cleanliness and comfort on the road. Van dwellers face unique challenges when it comes to doing laundry, like limited space and water access. In this article, we’ll share practical tips and solutions for keeping your clothes clean and fresh during your van life adventures.

Plan Your Wardrobe Wisely

Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

Choose quick-drying and low-maintenance fabrics

When living in a van, selecting clothing made from low-maintenance materials can make a world of difference. Opt for fabrics like merino wool, polyester, or nylon, which dry quickly, wick moisture away, and often require less frequent washing. For example, merino wool socks and polyester athletic wear are perfect for van life because they’re easy to care for and dry quickly.

Opt for darker colors and patterns

Darker colors and patterns can help disguise dirt and stains, allowing you to go longer between washes. Instead of white or light-colored clothing, choose darker shades and eye-catching patterns that can hide minor imperfections. This way, you can still look fresh and stylish, even if your laundry day is a bit overdue.

Laundry On-the-Go Solutions

Use laundry detergent sheets or concentrated laundry soap

Traditional laundry detergents can be bulky and inconvenient for van life. Instead, consider laundry detergent sheets or concentrated laundry soap. These space-saving and eco-friendly alternatives are perfect for van dwellers. Brands like Tru Earth and Sheets Laundry Club offer detergent sheets, while Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a popular concentrated soap option.

Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

Portable washing machines and manual washing methods

When you don’t have access to a laundromat or campground facilities, portable washing machines or manual washing methods can save the day.

The Scrubba Wash Bag is a lightweight, portable option that doubles as a dry bag, while the Lavario Portable Clothes Washer is more robust and effective for larger loads. Alternatively, you can simply use a bucket or sink and some elbow grease to get your clothes clean.

Drying Clothes

Utilize portable clotheslines

Portable clotheslines are a godsend for van dwellers, as they provide a convenient way to dry your clothes without taking up much space. The Sea to Summit Lite Line and Gideon Retractable Clothesline is both durable and easy to set up, making laundry day a breeze.

Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

Consider alternative drying methods

If you don’t have access to an outdoor drying space, get creative with drying clothes inside your van. Use hangers, hooks, or bungee cords to hang your clothes, or speed up the drying process by laying them on a microfiber towel, which absorbs excess moisture.

Keeping Clothes Fresh Between Washes

Spot cleaning and stain removal

Accidents happen, and sometimes your clothes need a quick touch-up. Learn how to spot, clean, and remove stains while on the road, and keep a portable stain remover like the Tide To Go pen or a small bottle of Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover handy for emergencies.

Odor control and prevention

To keep your van smelling fresh, invest in odor-eliminating products like activated charcoal bags or fabric refresher sprays. Prevent odors by ensuring proper ventilation and storing dirty clothes separately from clean ones.

Van Life Laundry Tips: Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

Utilizing Public Laundry Facilities

Finding laundromats or campground laundry facilities

Planning your route to include stops with public laundry facilities can make laundry day much more manageable. Apps like iOverlander can help you locate nearby laundromats or campgrounds with laundry facilities.

We find when travelling, most good campgrounds will provide some sort of laundry washing facilities, but its best to call or email ahead just to be sure.

Making the most of your time

While waiting for your laundry to finish, use the downtime to restock supplies, update your travel journal (or Insta), or explore the local area. You can also use this time to connect with other van dwellers or travelers and exchange tips and stories about life on the road.


Keeping your clothes clean and fresh during van life doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By planning your wardrobe wisely, utilizing space-saving laundry solutions, and taking advantage of public laundry facilities, you can maintain a comfortable and clean living space in your van. Remember, cleanliness is an essential part of self-care, and with these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle laundry day, no matter where your journey takes you.

Frequently Asked Questions

The frequency of laundry days will depend on your personal preferences, access to laundry facilities, and the size of your wardrobe. Many van dwellers find that doing laundry every 1-2 weeks works well, but you may need to adjust based on your circumstances and activities.

While there aren’t many solar-powered dryers specifically designed for van life, you can use solar energy to dry your clothes by hanging them on a clothesline in direct sunlight. The sun’s rays will naturally dry your clothes and help reduce energy consumption.

Drying clothes inside your van are generally safe as long as you ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew. Crack open a window or use a vent fan to help circulate the air inside your van when drying clothes indoors.

For delicate clothing items, you can use gentle, no-rinse laundry detergents like Soak or Eucalan. Wash the delicate items by hand in a bucket or sink with cold water and the no-rinse detergent, then gently squeeze out the excess water and lay the garments flat to dry on a clean towel or mesh drying rack.

To minimize your environmental impact while doing laundry in van life, consider using biodegradable or eco-friendly detergents, such as those from Dropps or Seventh Generation. Wash clothes with cold water whenever possible, as it uses less energy. Additionally, dry your clothes using natural sunlight and air, and avoid over washing your clothes to reduce water consumption.


  • Augustus

    Augustus, an intrepid traveler and RV enthusiast, has journeyed across North America, Europe, and Australia, turning his passion for adventure into a life's mission. His love for exploring began in his childhood, with local hikes and camping trips igniting a deep connection with nature. This connection now shines through in his popular travel blog, where he shares not just tips but personal stories, captivating a community of fellow wanderers. His travels are further enriched by his partnership with Zaara, his wife and travel companion, together exploring remote landscapes and diverse cultures. Augustus is also a skilled photographer, capturing the beauty of nature and the essence of his nomadic lifestyle in each shot. His life story is a mosaic of breathtaking experiences, a testament to the beauty of following one’s passions and embracing the unknown, inspiring others to explore the world with the same fervor.

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