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10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks

| Updated Feb 27, 2022

Campers don't always agree on campground laundry etiquette. So, we tuned in on a conversation to determine a consensus. Here is what RVers say…

Laundry facilities are one of the most desirable amenities in a campground. After all, we pack as light as we can when camping yet get dirtier than normal.

Many people enjoy using laundry facilities even when they have their washer and dryer in their rig. They may not have access to full hook-ups, or using the facilities is simply much more convenient because you can get more done at once.

It can also cut down on the wear and tear of your washer and dryer, extending their life on your camping adventures. 

While having laundry facilities at your campground can be convenient, it is usually a small space that has to be shared by many. Proper campground laundry etiquette ensures all campers can enjoy the facilities right along with you. 

The following is what you can expect at campground laundry facilities followed by camping laundry etiquette. I have also included tips and tricks to make the most out of your camping laundry day. 

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What to Expect at Campground Laundry Rooms

Campground Laundry Etiquette
Campground Laundry Etiquette

Many campgrounds don't offer laundry facilities. This is certainly something to consider when booking your places to stay. For the campgrounds that do offer facilities, you can usually expect a small area with a couple of machines available to use. 

Remember that luxury RV resorts and vast campgrounds or camping clubs may accommodate campers with more extensive facilities. You can always contact the campground to ask. 

You may find one type of machine in the laundry room, like single separated washers and dryers. Or, there may be washer/dryer combinations that can accommodate smaller loads and larger machines that can wash your bedding and rugs. 

While some places may offer a complimentary wash and dry, you can expect that most will have machines you must pay to use. Some locations may still have devices that accept coins. Others will accept debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, or reloadable payment cards. 

Campground Laundry Etiquette: What RVers Say

People have different ideas about what is okay and not okay. There was a recent post in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group on this very topic and it has well over 100 comments. There was some respectful clashing of opinions but the general consensus seems to be as follows.

I will note, however, that there was one clear thing we could all agree on: be respectful of others’ time and belongings. 

1. Stay With Your Laundry

Campground Laundry Etiquette
Stay with your Laundry.

There is nothing worse than someone using a machine and forgetting their laundry. If that person's you, it means someone either has to wait on your or they may opt to handle your clothing. That can be awkward and they may not handle it with the same care as you would. 

If you have to start a load and leave, set a timer on your cell phone to remind you to come back 5 minutes before it’s done.

Or, a better alternative is to bring a book or work with you that you can complete while the laundry is being washed.  

Be considerate of utilizing the machine. You probably don’t want to handle other people’s clothing, just like they don’t want to handle yours. 

2. Be Mindful of What You Wash

Campground Laundry Etiquette
Pre-wash with a hose or take to a full laundromat instead of the campground machine.

Do you have pretty filthy items? If you hiked through mud or want to wash a pet bed that is covered in hair, consider taking it to a laundromat instead. 

Things like mud, sand, pet hair, and grease can leave residue and debris in the machine. They can also cause a mess around the machines. 

If must wash the item, then carefully clean out the machine before the next person uses it. If possible, shake and hose off the items outside before using the machines.

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10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks 1
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3. Treat the Machine Like It Is Your Own

When using a campground washing machine, treat it like it's your own. If you would not wash that soiled garment at home, don’t do it at a campground. 

This can help ensure that the machines keep running smoothly and that facilities can stay open at campgrounds. If machines get abused, over time there will be fewer campgrounds offering laundry facilities. 

4. Clean Up After Yourself

Campground Laundry Etiquette
Clean up after yourself.

Most campground laundry rooms don’t have someone on duty to clean up after residents. Make sure that you wipe up after yourself. 

If you spill detergent, clean it up. Or, if you open a garment that drops sand onto the floor, sweep it up. If everyone cleans up their messes, it will be an excellent space for all guests to enjoy. 

Another good rule of thumb is to check inside the machine. You may find paper remnants or dog hair that you didn’t realize you had washed. 

Wipe the machine out with a damp cloth when you are done. That way, you can leave the machine cleaner for the next guest. 

When you use a dryer, be sure to empty the lint when you are done using the machine. 

Tips and Tricks for Doing Laundry at a Campground

The following tips and tricks are things that you can do to make using camping laundry facilities a little easier. 

1. Collapsible Bins or Foldable Bags

When carrying laundry from one place to another, many folks use collapsible bins or bags. They are great because they keep your soiled laundry in one place. But then they can be closed up into a small size and stored easily in your rig when not in use. 

Ikea is a great place to get these items. They have both collapsible laundry bins and large reusable bags that are good choices for laundry. 

This actually reminds me that one of the most common RV interior design complaints is not having a dedicated space in the RV for dirty laundry. That's why these collapsible bins come in handy.

2. Go Lighter

Instead of carrying a large detergent bottle with you, put some in a smaller bag or container. That way, you are not carrying heavy items with you. 

Ziplock bags work great to hold powder detergent. For bleach, look for the small bottles sold at the store. 

The individual laundry detergent pacs are a nifty option, too.

3. Bring the Right Form of Payment

Before you go to do your laundry, check out what form of payment you need. That can save you a trip with all of your dirty laundry!

Another good tip is always to bring back your quarters or form of payment when you go to pick up your clothes. That way, if there’s still one damp load, you can quickly start it again without wasting time. 

4. Consider Using a Wagon

Campground Laundry Etiquette
A collapsible wagon is a great way to move your laundry.

A collapsible wagon is a great way to take your laundry down to the facilities. You can easily place two pop-up hampers side by side in a wagon, along with your detergent, bleach, and form of payment.

5. Set a Timer

I mentioned this earlier but it’s worth saying again. If you leave while your laundry is in the machines, always set a timer!

No matter how good your memory is, we all get distracted. So, set a timer on your phone or watch for at least 5 minutes before your load should be done. 

6. Fold Your Laundry in the Laundry Room

Another great tip when using a laundry facility is to utilize the folding table they have in the room. 

Pull out your laundry and fold it right then and there. That way, you can bring back laundry that is ready to be put away right away. You won’t get pulled away to do a different task and then realize hours later that you never folded your laundry. 

Your Say in Campground Laundry Etiquette

Join the conversation! Please share your thoughts on campground laundry etiquette in the comments below or in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group.

What About the Florida Keys?

10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks 2

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10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks 3

Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-02-28

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

13 Responses to “10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks”

October 16, 2022at11:53 am, ed shapiro said:

how about the camper who uses all the machines available. Most campgrounds have 3-4 machines use 2 and leave one for me!!!!


March 04, 2022at8:26 am, Mike Bain said:

I have an idea. What about using those vacuum seal bags for winter and summer clothing? This isn’t technically a laundry topic, but I’ve used those bags in my sticks and bricks for big blankets. The only downside is you need a vacuum, but what about using the vacuums they have at the carwash places? You might get some laughs and funny looks, but I think it would be a great idea to stash your out-of-season clothing! And yes, the bags actually do work as long as you get a really good seal on the slide-locks.



March 11, 2022at8:21 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Those vacuum bags are pretty amazing space savers. Thanks for sharing, Mike! Team RV Lifestyle


March 01, 2022at11:33 am, Karen Kael said:

Some of us react to the perfumes in laundry products, and they can cause respiratory problems and lung damage. I would so appreciate it if everyone would use “free and clear” or “fragrance free” products and skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Earth Breeze has a fragrance free version of their sheets. The perfumes don’t dissipate, and we have to carefully wipe out the machines with alcohol before using them. Thank you!


March 27, 2023at6:42 pm, Fran Marti said:

I totally agree! There is an American Disability Act ADA/504 recognizing allergy and sensitivities to fragrances as a disability. This should be respected in public places!
I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity because of MS and we are going on the road for one year. Our RV does not have a wash machine. I am wondering if there is somewhere a list of RV camps with laundry facilities including at least one washer and one dryer reserved for fragrance-free laundry products. I can even not o inside one of these laundry facilities as the toxic smell makes me sick.


March 01, 2022at5:22 am, Joyce Bates said:

Instead of those bulky laundry detergent bottles, try Earth Breeze Laundry Sheets. They are individual sheets that dissolve in the washer that the military uses. They usually get clothes cleaner than the traditional detergent and take up very little room.


March 11, 2022at8:20 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Sounds like a good space saving option. Thanks for sharing, Joyce! Team RV Lifestyle


February 28, 2022at9:40 am, Lee D’Anna said:

An even better detergent option are laundry sheets. They take up less room than pods and are more eco-friendly. There are several brands available (we use ‘Sheets’ out of North Carolina). We use these at home and on the road.


March 03, 2022at12:59 am, jamie webber said:

I use these and they are great! They take up so much less room and are better for the environment. I started using them when living on a sailboat and I had very limited room and way less room for trash and big plastic bottles in a boat. Now they transferred over to our RV. And they are so much lighter to carry to a laundry room instead of a big plastic jugs


March 11, 2022at8:19 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Good information! Thanks for sharing this, Lee — Team RV Lifestyle


February 28, 2022at9:14 am, Bev Parkison said:

All great advice! I might add to please be mindful of pet hair and washing pet items in campground facilities. Some campers don’t like pet hair and/or are allergic to it. I’ve learned to take a rag and always wipe out the washer before placing my items in there. Often times it is filled with pet hair or dirt, sand etc. And please don’t take your dog to the laundry room! Not everyone enjoys stepping over your dog to do their laundry. This happened at a park in Gulf Shores AL despite signs stating “no pets”. Of course common courtesy is appropriate in the laundry room and for camping in general.


March 11, 2022at8:18 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Good tips about the pet hair. Thanks for sharing, Bev! Team RV Lifestyle


February 28, 2022at9:03 am, Karen Lewis said:

Do most laundromats allow use of the pods? I know when they first came out there was some debate about whether they were good for your machine.


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