Washing laundry while living on the road is handled quite simply, but it’s much less often than when we were in a house. I used to wash clothes quite obsessively with at least five loads of laundry a week. Now I wash one load approximately every two weeks.

My preferred method is still the washing machine. We often wash at friends’ houses. Those who know us offer their machine very soon after we pull up for a visit. This is a great help, as it means that I can hang the clothes to dry on a line while still enjoying a visit.

Washing hanging on the line, November 2012
While the washing is drying in the sun at a friend's house, I can enjoy a chat and a cuppa.

Laundromats (“laundrettes” here in Tasmania) are our stand-by option, but when visiting those we also have to pay for drying so we can drive away with our clothes ready to put away. Camp-ground machines cost about $4 to wash a load and the same to dry, which doesn’t seem too much to me for our occasional use.

When we’re camping more remotely and there’s washing that needs to be done, I do it by hand. This doesn’t have to be an onerous process — I’m just trying to get the stink out of the undies and the dirt from the clothes. Sometimes I go through our laundry tub and pick out all the smalls to wash by hand.

Washing the clothes by hand, December 2012
If the washing load is small, I can do it by hand in a bucket. If I have a bigger amount, I use one of our laundry tubs and agitate the clothes by dancing on them.

I like to dry clothes with the sun and the wind. There are fold-up clothes lines that can travel easily, but I prefer to have something less conventional.

Drying clothes in the sun, January 2013
A gifted wooden railing makes a perfect drying rack for our clothes when mounted on the front of the bus.

Drying clothes in the wind, December 2012
I hang our large collection of underwear together to dry.

We have been travelling with a long clothes line that I could tie up between trees, but I have yet to use it. We also have a small amount of drying space inside the bus, and this gets used for drying towels and wet swimmers when we drive on from a location.

I know families who live on the road who travel with a washing machine. To use it, they need to plug in to a location with power and water. I’m not sure where the waste-water from a travelling washing machine goes, but perhaps it’s simply discarded onto the lawn below the caravan or motorhome.

For the amount of space we have, the amount of washing we generate, and the lifestyle we lead, I’m really happy with washing by hand, at friends’ and paying for washing machines when necessary. It’s a good life — on the road, and life’s too short to spend so much time on laundry!