Portable Washing Machines save time and money when you are full-time motorhoming, giving you control over where and when you wash your clothes, whether you’re in the middle of a city without a launderette or a quiet forest without hook-ups.
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of portable washing machines, how they work with motorhomes, and our top picks of portable washing machines.
Why are Portable Mini Washing Machines Necessary for Full-time Motorhoming?
When you’re out on the road full-time, laundrettes can be hard to find, especially in unfamiliar cities. When camping, not all campgrounds have amenities like washing machines, and if they do, the cost of using them can add up, or they may be difficult to book due to all the other campers using them as well. This makes having your own washing machine necessary.
Having your own washing machine is perfect for full-time motorhoming when you want to be able to wash your clothes and wild camp in the middle of nowhere for weeks at a time. And after a long day of hiking, it will be a huge peace of mind to be able to simply wash them, hang them to dry, and have fresh-smelling clothes ready for your next hike.
What Are the Disadvantages Of Using A Portable Washing Machine?
Here are some of the most common disadvantages with using a portable washing machine:
- Small Load Size: It will be difficult to do a large or full-size load of laundry like you would with a traditional, full-size washer. Most machines can only handle a few clothes at a time, so it is something to be aware of before you go out and purchase one.
- Their Size is Large to Carry: In a motorhome or camper where every inch counts, having a portable washing machine can be difficult to fit and store, which might mean that other items have to be shuffled around or removed to make space for a portable washing machine.
- Manual Machines Require Effort: Some machines are electrical, but a lot of them are manual, meaning that you have to pump the machine yourself to operate it and wash your clothes. This can become tiring as it’s not like an electrical machine that can be set and forgotten.
- Bring Extra Water: As water is necessary for the machine to work, extra water (beyond your normal drinking and using water) will need to be brought along and stored to ensure you always have enough water on hand to keep your clothes clean.
- Disposing of is an Environmental Issue: Soapy water is harmful to the environment, so all of the soap and dirty water needs to be dumped somewhere, ideally at a dump station or a public restroom.
- Air Drying Takes Time: Although washing is relatively quick, you will need to account for the time they need to dry, as most washers don’t come with a dryer. This process can cause laundry to be split into smaller loads to account for the drying space needed, and the drying time can take longer, especially in humid environments.
How Do I Use a Manual Portable Washing Machine?
Here is the step-by-step process on how to use a portable washing machine:
- Load your laundry: For the most part, you will be doing small loads with a portable washer. Your machine’s instruction manual should have instructions on how much it can hold.
- Place the Clothes in the Washing Basin: Loads can be separated by colour and fabric type. Liquid detergent is easily soluble and tends to work well with portable washing machines. Optionally, a small amount of liquid fabric softener can be added to help soften the clothes.
- Fill the washbasin: This can be filled with warm water by either using a hose attached to a sink or water station or pouring water from your own water containers.
- Pump: Activate the spin cycle by pumping or spinning the washer at least 10 times.
- Rest: Allow clothes to soak for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Pump a Second Time: Cycle the clothes with the pump or spin action another 10 times.
- Change the Water: Release the warm water and fill the basin with cold water.
- Pump: Spin or pump the washer at least 10 more times.
- Remove: Wring out your clothes and remove them from the washer.
- Dry your clothes: Depending on if you have a portable dryer, you can transfer the clothes there and have them dry in the dryer. Alternatively, you can air-dry the clothes by placing them on a drying rack or clothesline. However, keep in mind that air drying takes time, especially on cloudy or humid days.
- Drain the washer: This should be drained into a designated drainage station or public washroom as soapy water is harmful to the environment.
To use less water, consider skipping the water wash cycle and go straight to washing everything in cold water.
How do I Dry Clothes That Have Been Washed in a Portable Washer?
Always refer to the weather forecast before drying your clothes, and if necessary, have a backup plan if it begins to rain, or postpone laundry until the next day. You can consider drying your clothes in a tent or motorhome but there will be dripping water and extra humidity that may be a hassle to deal with.
Along with a Portable Laundry Machine, What Other Items Do I Need?
Here are a few other items you will need along with a portable laundry machine:
- Liquid detergent.
- Liquid fabric softener.
- Clothes pegs.
- Drying rack.
What Are the Top 2 Best Portable Washing Machines I Can Use in My Motorhome?
Portable washing machines can be invaluable for motorhomes that travel full-time, keeping in mind that when you wash and where you wash can play an important role, such as avoiding rainy laundry days and draining your soapy water in the right place.
Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel 🙂 – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube
You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)
If you’d like to follow more of our adventures or keep up to date with our travel hints and tips, please join our Facebook group, we’d love to connect with you all! –https://www.facebook.com/groups/309295536220437
Also, if you have Pinterest, please give us a follow for your van life travel inspiration! – https://pin.it/770Cq1Q
I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!