Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wishy Washy RVer

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
One of the drudgeries of RVing is finding a decent place to do laundry. They are often expensive, poorly managed, dirty and/or busy. I think we should have a washer/dryer in our motorhome, but my husband thinks it’s a bad idea.

We share the laundry duty, but he thinks a machine will take up too much space and add too much weight for the convenience it will afford us. It just sounds so sensible to me.

Don’t you think the full-time lifestyle deserves a guaranteed, clean and personal machine to wash our clothing?  --Wishy Washy in Wilmington

Dear Wishy Washy:
I will agree that finding a clean, affordable laundromat on the road is a constant challenge. Most often you are better served using a commercial campground laundry that is used only by paying guests. If the park is highly rated, you will usually find the laundry facilities reasonable, clean and much less busy.

I have nothing against a washer/dryer combination installed in an RV. Many of them have a very small load capacity, and take a lot of time to cycle. It does allow you to work on the chore at your convenience and not let it all pile up for a trip to the mat.

These units will also suck your water tank dry, so if you are not hooked up to utilities you will find yourself needing fresh water and a dump much more often.

If you decide against an onboard unit, another thought is Googling the laundromat you plan to use. You will often find sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor rating such businesses. The problems with using machines that you find in public parks, such as state and local, can be frustrating. If it rains you will find wet campers throwing their dirty bags and tents into dryers. At fishing sites you may find your clothes come out smelling like the day's catch. 

If you come to an onboard agreement you should weigh the difference between a separate washer/dryer or a combination machine. They can usually be installed in a closet and your unit might even be plumbed for it if you check.

Another alternative is “The John Steinbeck Method.” If you read “Travels with Charley” you will discover that Steinbeck, one of our more prolific literary laundrymen, used a plastic garbage can hanging from bungies to do his wash. He would let the road do his agitating as he meandered across America. Wash all morning, add the rinse water at noon and hang and dry when he stopped. 

Not a bad idea and you save yourself about a grand in machine costs. 
--Keep Smilin’. Dr. R.V. Shrink


Unknown said...

My wife and I have a 34' 5th wheel, and I installed an apartment size stackable washer and dryer in a closet. I ran my drain pipe straight to the 3" drain, by-passing my holding tanks. We can only use it when we have a full hook up site but I don't have to worry about flooding the gray water tanks. It is heavy, but we compensated by removing a very heavy hide-a-way bed and a heavy recliner,replacing it with much lighter furniture. We love being able to wash and dry our clothes while sitting under our awning, enjoying camping. It's so nice not having to deal with the extra cost and hassle using public laundry facilities.
We're Ruff'n it right tonight.
Randy and Carolyn Stroud

Unknown said...

I would offer the comment that "combo" units are rather small, do a poor job of drying the clothing and sometimes (depending on the load) shake the entire RV when in the spin cycle. If I were to make a recommendation I would advise larger units if you have the space or just grin and bear the fact that you have to use a laundromat. If I were to have to purchase another RV (we bought our's used with a combo unit already onboard) I would prefer separate units.

Jann said...

We previously had a dryer/washer all in one unit which did not do a very good job. You could just fit one sheet at a time in it. The end result was one wrinkled sheet after the drying cycle ended. We used it as a dirty clothes hamper and used a laundry mat. We just purchased a 5th wheel that has a unit in it. Can't figure out what to do with it. It is heavy, takes up closet space so again putting dirty clothes in it. Want it out of there.

On the road with Chris and Charles said...

So now you give her unreasonable husband a dumb idea....I think he needs to do ALL the laundry. Bet he would change his mind in short order. You missed the mark this time, Dr Shrink!
Let the lady have a w/d. Mine is spinning now as I write this.

Talysen1 said...

We had a combo unit in the class a we owned before our current one. This one doesn't have one. I thought I would miss it, but no. I mean it's not like every minute of our day is booked solid! We are retired after all. Most times we use the rv park facilities, take turns, take a Kindle or phone for entertainment. Actually, I have met some very interesting and nice people. It goes quickly, 2-3 washers, 1-2 dryers. Every 2 weeks or so. The cost is negligible compared to weight, space, and time.

Anonymous said...

We have a combo unit. It only holds 8 pounds, takes 3 hours to "damp" dry a pair of jeans, and I find it to be harsh on the clothes. It requires a full hook-up site, and if you're at full hook-ups, chances are you are near a campground laundromat anyway. We only use it as a dirty clothes hamper. Plus they are a bit tricky to winterize. Stupid waste of space, I want it gone.

Too Many Cats said...

Splendide combo units that are VENTED do a great job with small light loads. Wash one load a day and it works our wonderfully. Unvented units do not dry well.

We take heavier loads like bedding a laundry facility.

We would not want a full time RV without on board washer/dryer for use when on full hookups.

Landmark Lady said...

We had a Pinnacle (13 lb capacity) Combo set installed and vented. I purchased two drying tripods to put under a screened canopy. I wash a couple of loads every few days. I hang items on coat hangers then onto the tripods. Other items I dry in the Pinnacle ( such as underclothes) or hang in the shower overnight. I find this works perfect for us. No long wash days and no using public machines that may have remnants of dog beds or infested laundry from previous users. I don't like public washers or hotel beds. We are very happy that we bought the Combo unit! Worth the peace of mind.

travelinggramma63 said...

We are fulltimers and have a 37 ft fiver....Our unit was already plumbed for a washer and drier but we opted not to have them installed due to concerns about additional weight and the fact that we had found that they are pretty inefficient. I do laundry about every 10 days and I can wash, dry, fold everything we own in 90 minutes. They problem with doing it at the RV park is there are usually only a few and that 90 minute time frame presupposes that I have access to 4 washers at the same time, which if done at an RV park, is pretty inconsiderate to take up all washers or driers at the same time. Also, with no washer and drier, we acquired more space in our closet. So, for me, I vote for the laundromat!

Jerry X Shea said...

This falls into "life style." My wife and I have been full timers for over 8 years. 365 days a year on the road. I gave up an 6 burner stove, double ovens - true "cooks kitchen" for a 3 burner, no oven, small microwave. My wife gave up a big double stack W&D - no W&D in our coach. Why - it's called RVing/camping. I have a great 3 burner BBQ, we carry 2 weeks of underware and clothing. Going to the laundry, in the RV park, is all part of RVing. We look forward to meeting people and talking about their experiences. The space in your RV/coach should not be waisted with a W&D.

Anonymous said...

I have a side by side standard washer and LP dryer. I would not be without it. My husband readily agreed to this because he dislikes laundromats as much as I do. Add to that, he was doing all the laundry while I was working. Unfortunately we could not stand the unitized washer/dryer we had up in the bus. So that one was given away and we bought a used set after a few years. Having an onboard washer/dryer was great for the times I needed to do laundry so I would have clean clothes to go to work in the next day. I figure anyone who thinks I should not have a washer/dryer in my bus is more than welcome to come do all my laundry on a regular basis. They can also do any other housework they choose.