Portable Washing Machine in RV: Everything You Should Know

The freedom of hitting the open road in an RV or camper comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is laundry.

To address the laundry-related challenges can portable washing machines be the solution for RVs or campers?

The short answer to that is:

Yes, you can use a portable washing machine in an RV or camper. These compact and lightweight machines are designed to save space and can be powered by either the RV’s electricity or a generator. They offer a convenient and cost-effective laundry solution for travelers, eliminating the need for frequent trips to laundromats.

Portable washing machines offer a convenient solution to this problem.

These machines are not only smaller and lighter than traditional washing machines but also incredibly versatile.

They can be powered by your RV’s electricity or even a generator, making them ideal for various settings.

In other words, a portable washing machine is a game-changer for those looking to save space and money on laundry while enjoying the RV lifestyle.

The Need and Benefits of Using a Portable Washing Machine in RV or Camper

Doing laundry becomes a necessary task when you’re on the move in an RV or camper.

Traditional solutions like laundromats can be both expensive and time-intensive.

That’s why a portable washing machine can be a game-changer, providing various advantages to simplify your mobile lifestyle.

Save Space

A key advantage of choosing a portable washing machine is its space-saving configuration.

In contrast to conventional washers, these portable appliances occupy very little area, enabling you to make better use of the available space in your RV.

Save Money

Regular visits to laundromats can become costly over time.

Choosing a portable washing machine offers a cost-effective solution to reduce laundry expenses over time.


A portable washing machine offers unparalleled convenience in an RV or camper by eliminating the need to visit laundromats.

You can easily wash your dirty clothes right in your own space, saving you both time and effort.

Its compact design fits well in limited spaces, making it an ideal solution for handling laundry while on the move.


Portable washing machines are not just convenient; they are also flexible.

Many models can run on a generator, allowing you to do laundry even when you’re off-grid.

This adaptability makes it easier to maintain clean clothes wherever you are, without being tied to the availability of traditional power sources or laundromats.

Types of Portable Washing Machines and Features

When it comes to portable washing machines, there’s a variety to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits.

Let’s take a quick look into the different types and what you should consider when making your choice.

Manual Washing Machines

These are the most basic types of portable washing machines and are often hand-cranked or foot-powered.


  • Energy efficiency: No electricity is needed.
  • Affordable: Generally cheaper than electric models.
  • Simple to use: No complicated settings.


  • Labor-intensive: Requires physical effort.
  • Limited capacity: Not ideal for large loads.

Electric Portable Washing Machines

These machines come in various forms, including mini twin tubs, single tub machines, and full-on twin tubs.


  • Convenient: Just plug and play.
  • Versatile: Comes with different settings and cycles.
  • Time-saving: Faster than manual options.


  • Power source needed: Requires electricity or a generator.
  • Higher cost: Generally more expensive than manual options.

Innovative Solutions

For those looking for something a bit different, there are innovative options like the Scrubba Wash Bag, a portable bag that allows you to wash clothes manually.


  • Ultra-portable: Can be folded and stored easily.
  • No power needed: Completely manual operation.


  • Limited capacity: Only suitable for small loads.
  • Physical effort required: You’ll need to put in some elbow grease.

Note: Some portable washing machines come with additional features like a spin cycle or a timer. Therefore, it’s important to consider what features are important to you when making your selection.

Also Read: How To Use a Scrubba Portable Clothes Washing Bag?

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Portable Washing Machine for RV or Camper

Choosing the ideal portable washing machine for your RV or camper isn’t about grabbing the first one in sight.

It’s crucial to weigh certain considerations to guarantee you’re making a well-informed choice.

Size and Weight

When selecting a portable washing machine for your RV or camper, size and weight are crucial factors.

Space is often limited, so a compact and lightweight unit is essential for easy storage and mobility.

The right size and weight ensure that the machine fits well in your living space without compromising other amenities.

Therefore, it’s extremely important that you properly measure the area where you plan to place the machine.

Also, compare the intended placement area with the dimensions of the washing machine you’re considering.

Also Read: Average Washing Machine Weight (With Examples)


The capacity of a portable washing machine is a key consideration for RV or camper use.

A machine with adequate capacity allows you to handle larger laundry loads, reducing the frequency of wash cycles.

Consider the size of your family and the amount of laundry you’ll be doing.

This is especially important when space and resources are limited, as it maximizes efficiency and convenience.

A larger capacity machine might be more convenient if you have a lot of clothes to wash, but it will also take up more space.

Also Read: How to calculate the washing machine capacity?

Energy Efficiency

Look for models that are energy-efficient to save on electricity costs, especially if you’re relying on your RV’s power or a generator.

Water Efficiency

Some models are designed to be water-efficient, which is particularly important if you’re relying on your RV’s fresh water tank.

Wash and Spin Cycle Options

Different machines offer various wash and spin cycle options.

If you have specific laundry needs, like delicate fabrics or heavy-duty cleaning, you might want a machine with more cycle options.

Portability Features

Look for features that enhance portability, such as wheels, handles, or a design that’s easy to pack and store.

Warranty and Customer Support

Consider the warranty and customer support options.

A good warranty can give you peace of mind, and responsive customer support can be invaluable if you run into any issues.


Last but not least, consider your budget. Prices can vary widely, so it’s important to find a machine that offers the features you need at a price you’re comfortable with.

Power Source

Last but not least, consider the power source.

Most electric portable washing machines require a standard electrical outlet, but some can also be powered by a generator.

Make sure to choose a machine that suits your power availability.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use a Portable Washing Machine in an RV Or Camper?

Using a portable washing machine in your RV or camper is a straightforward process, but there are some best practices to follow to ensure you get the best results.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started with using a portable washing machine in an RV.

Step 1: Choose the right location

The first step is to choose the right location for your portable washing machine.

Make sure the area is well-ventilated and has access to both a water supply and drainage system.

Step 2: Arrangements for water source

Next, you’ll need to fill the washing machine with water.

You can use tap water or water from your RV’s fresh water tank.

Ensure you follow the machine’s guidelines on how much water to add.

Step 3: Use Suitable Detergent

Once the machine is filled with water, it’s time to add detergent.

Always follow the directions on the detergent bottle to determine the correct amount.

Step 4: Washing Cycle

Place your clothes in the machine and select the appropriate washing cycle based on the type of fabric and level of dirtiness.

Step 5: Drainage arrangement is paramount

After the cycle is complete, you’ll need to drain the washing machine.

You can either drain the water into your RV’s gray water tank or into a bucket.

Step 6: Use Spin Cycle

If your portable washing machine has a spin cycle, use it to remove excess water from your clothes.

Doing this will make the drying process faster and more efficient.

Step 7: Drying – an important factor to consider

If the weather permits, you may either hang your clothing inside your RV or camper or use an outdoor clothesline.

Drying Options

After washing your clothes in a portable washing machine, the next step is drying them. In an RV or camper, you have several options for this.

Portable Spin Dryers

One of the quickest ways to dry your clothes is by using a portable spin dryer.

These machines are designed to remove as much water as possible from your clothes, making them easier and quicker to dry.

Drying Racks

If you prefer a more energy-efficient method, drying racks are a great option.

These can be set up inside your RV or outside if the weather is good. Additionally, they can be folded up for simple storage when not in use.


A traditional clothesline strung between trees or poles outside your RV can be an effective and energy-efficient way to dry clothes.

Simply remember to first check the weather prediction!

For those who have limited space, a retractable clothesline installed inside the shower can be a great space-saving solution.

You can extend it when you need to dry clothes and retract it when not in use.

Heated Airers

Electric heated airers can speed up the drying process and are especially useful in cold or humid climates.

And the best part is that they are foldable and can be easily stored when not in use.

Final Thoughts

Choosing and using a portable washing machine in your RV or camper doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

With a variety of options available, you can easily find a machine that fits your needs in terms of size, weight, and features.

The convenience of having a washing machine on the go can save you both time and money, eliminating frequent trips to the laundromat.

With a little planning and consideration, a portable washing machine can be a valuable addition to your RV lifestyle, offering both convenience and flexibility.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at) theportablelaundry.com.