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How To Do Laundry, Showers, and Dump in an RV

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For all your gray water, black water, and cleaning needs, here’s your guide to doing laundry, showering, and dumping while living the Full Time RV lifestyle.

Is Installing A Washer Dryer Hybrid an Option?

While this won’t work for most RVs, if you are endowed with a larger rig, and one with the ample connections (electrical outlet, hot and cold water connections, and an exhaust port), a small washer dryer hybrid machine might be exactly what you need. While these things can be heavy, loud, and will wrinkle clothes, in terms of convenience they’re unparalleled.

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Find Laundromats

The far more likely thing you’ll end up doing while living in an RV, is going to traditional laundromats to wash your clothes. This can be frustrating but it comes part and parcel with the package of getting to live in such a small, mobile home. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to find laundromats through a simple google search. 

Consider Sewer Hook Ups

One of the easiest ways you can save money at campgrounds is by choosing to forgo sewer hookups at your campsite. Sites without sewer hook ups normally run you 5-15 dollars cheaper, thus some people will forgo this ammenty. However, for full timers, this is generally speaking, not worth the headache. Without sewer hook ups, you’ll be left hamstrung in your ability to do dishes, go to the bathroom, and especially shower.

Valves Open While in Your Site

One rookie mistake we see lots of RVers do is that they keep their sewer valves closed while they’re in their sites. This is understandable (some people are terrified that they’re site will get stinked up), however isn’t recommended because your sinks could get back up. 

Ensure Campgrounds Have (Good) Shower Facilities

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This one may seem redundant, especially if you have spacious RV and sewer hook ups, but if you don’t, then finding campgrounds with nice shower amenities can really take the edge off. It’s important to keep in mind though, cheaper campgrounds often have crummy showers. For most this won’t be a dealbreaker, but it’s an important thing to consider.

Take Short Showers if Need Be

If you find yourself without sewer hook ups, and without a campground that has shower facilities, you could always just use your RV’s shower. Of course, with how small RV holding tanks you, you’ll want to make it a fast shower, but it is an option that is available to you. 

Use a Solar Shower While Off Grid

Something else you can consider is using a solar shower bag and washing outside. This will only work during the summer, and if you’re willing to take a shower in a bathing suit, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Here’s the solar shower we use:

As a Last Resort, Jump Into a Lake

As a last resort, you can also get clean by diving into a nearby lake, although my family will also make rivers work as well. Lakes and rivers can be very cold, even in the middle of summer, and you can’t use soap will in them, but if you simply can’t stand how dirty you are, then you’ll likely find it worth it. Plus, there are a multitude of benefits when it comes to swimming in lakes.

Dump Black Water First

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Another tip I want to share when it comes to sewer, is that whenever you have to dump at a campground’s communal dump, is make sure you dump black water (piss and poo), before dumping gray water (showers and sinks). What’s the difference, you ask. The difference, is that when you have to put your sewer tubes away, the gray water will have washed away every single bit of of your black water, making it somewhat less gross to handle.

Clean Out Sewer Tube

Before you put that sewer tube away though, you should give it a good rinsing. Most dump stations have water connections that you can connect a hose to and thuse clean out your tubing before you pack it away. 

Wash With a Little Soap

If you’re still terrified of handling your sewer tubes, then you can always go the extra mile and use some soap whenever you hose down the interior. Most people don’t do this, but it’s important that you get used to handling your dumping, because you’re going to be doing it a lot while living in an RV.

I hope that this has shed a little light on some of the small details of RV living, and that you’re now more prepared than ever to get the inconvenient things out of the way, so that you can enjoy more of the fun things about RV living.

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