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Washing Clothes when Camping


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When you have been on the road travelling for some time or away camping for a few weeks it comes time when you have to do laundry, sheets and towels.  A number of caravan tourist parks have washing machines and dryers you can use for a fee but you may like to do your own washing and hang it on a line.  Laundromats are another option to do your clothes washing and drying but it can be expensive.

There is the do-it-yourself ‘hand wash’ of dirty clothes where you can simply use some washing powder, water and a bucket.  Others place their clothes with water and suds in a sealed container on the draw bar or ‘A’ frame of the caravan or trailer and let the motion of the road slosh the clothes whilst others use various clothes washing devices that are available.

When choosing washing powder or a laundry liquid look for one that is environmentally friendly.  For example, Planet Ark and Aware laundry washing powders are, phosphate free, readily biodegradable and available from Coles, Woolworths and Safeway stores.

Now let’s look at some portable laundry or clothes washing devices available.


What are the best ways to wash clothes when camping?

Manual Portable Clothes Washing Devices

Magic Wash Portable Washing Machine – this compact portable hand operated washing machine which washes up to a 2.5 kg load is ideal for boating and camping.  The Magic Wash machine measures 400 x 450 x 380 mm and is made of plastic except for a metal insert in the winder handle and the screw in the pressure seal lid.  It cannot be used to wring or dry the clothes.

Wonder Wash Portable Laundry Machine – except for the stainless steel lid this laundry device is made out of plastic so there is nothing to rust.  The dimensions are 305 x 305 x 405 mm (12” long, 12” wide and 16” high).  You operate the device by turning the handle for 2-3 minutes per load.


Handi-Wash Portable Washing Machine

The Handi-Wash comes in two models that is one as a complete unit of a purpose built bucket with a lid and combination cap/pourer and the other is the Handi-Wash agitator and handle.  The manufacturer states ‘There are 42 strategically placed holes in the agitator. As you pump and twist the handle, the clothes start to tumble and spin. The holes in the agitator force oxygen through the washing cycle working in conjunction with your laundry detergent to speed up the wash cycle and drive out stains’.

Hand operated portable washing machines will generally come with instructions for one turn every second or one turn every 90 seconds recommended for cottons.  Although the manual washing machines are simple to operate some users have reported these to be a tiresome way of doing the washing. 

Portable clothes washing devices are available from camping and caravan accessory stores, on-line camping stores and eBay.


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