Monday, January 20, 2014

How do your wash your clothes?

I recently got back from a three week trip to Europe and only took two sets of clothes in one small carry on piece of luggage. Traveling so lightly requires a lot of hand washing in various sinks in different countries and washing out items actually becomes a nightly ritual. The same holds true for teardrop camping. Because our teardrop trailer closets are so small, we carry very little clothing and on longer trips, we have to do a fair amount of hand washing along with taking our clothes to a laundry facility.

If we're traveling for a few weeks, we usually take our clothes to a laundry facility every week. However, I do try to wash out underwear, socks, dish towels, T-shirts and tank tops every night and hang them up to dry on our camping clothesline that is strung up between two trees. We keep the clothesline, the clothes pins and some packets of laundry soap in the storage area under the bed, but I will sometimes just wash with Dr. Bronner's soap or even just biodegradable dish soap. Washing usually takes place with water from a spigot or even a river or stream in our regular dishwashing containers. We dump our used water in a campground toilet or a utility sink and never on the ground.

This inexpensive clothesline allows you to hang up clothes without the use of pins. Just shove the edges of the clothes into the twisted sections of the bungee.

Since we usually camp in the desert, high desert or the mountains of the West, our clothes dry quickly in the sun and wind, so we can take them down and wear them again in just a few hours. Unlike some hyper-controlled or HOA areas where people live, it doesn't seem to be much of a faux pas to hang your clothes up outside on a clothesline at a campground. We have yet to run into a campground that doesn't let you hang up your clothes to dry.

If we ever need to dry some clothes while on the road (like our swimsuits after bathing in a hot spring), we leave the clothes on the teardrop trailer bed and then drive with the teardrop windows up, letting the wind and sun come in through the screens as we tow the trailer down the road.

* Several Tiny Yellow Teardrop readers responded to this post with some ingenious ideas for washing clothes on the road. Thank you NetDep and AnetaCuse!

The Scrubba Wash Bag is a little pricey at nearly $70, but this Australian designed washing bag with a built in washing board can probably be taken on any kind of trip...not just a teardrop camping trip. It's very portable and the design is so fun. The Scrubba also donates some of its proceeds to the World Vision Emergency and Preparedness Fund and the Charity:Water fund.

The portable 14 inch Laundry POD washes clothes like a salad spinner. It lets you do a small load of laundry with no electricity. It's designed to fit under sinks, so it could probably fit into a small storage area in a trailer.

The Wonder Wash is a little bit larger than the POD, but I have seen it being used by many tiny house dwellers. It may be too unwieldy for teardrop camping, but could work for people who camp in larger trailers.


  1. This is a pretty cool post too...

    And this thing looks amazing - might want to see if they will get you one to review?

    Great post!! Tons of info and can't wait to get back at it -- time off and good weather...never enough of either!!! ;-)

    1. That's a great post and a great blog, too. Okay, I love that little Scrubba bag. I may have to contact them. Great tip!

  2. We were thinking of doing laundry the Steinbeck way - stick it into a kayaking dry bag with water and detergent and hit the road to have it churn using vehicle's motion. Then rinse, wring and hang. In the meantime, I found some other inspiring ideas, if links are allowed here, although they might take up too much space:

    1. I love all these ideas so much. I'm going to include them in the post. :-)