Planning the big lap of Australia and wanting to avoid paying for washing your clothes on the road? You’re on the right page – our lap of Australia has no end date and we wanted to save money any way we could (after all, how do you budget for indefinite!)
Today we’re going to cover how we avoid laundromats on our lap of Australia and how we do our camping laundry.
We have a couple of money-saving goals for our lap of Australia to help the budget:
- We won’t pay for water
- We won’t use laundromats to wash our clothes (unless we have to)
- Off-grid, cheap or free camps are our first picks
There are so many little things to consider before packing up your life to explore this country. What vehicle, what set up, will you have a shower or toilet, what direction…
The list goes on and on.
Trust me when I say, it is so very worth the long tedious journey to get to the life you dream of! And once you’ve left the house, you have all the time in the world to decompress after the stressful years, months and weeks leading up to the big lap of Australia.
So, let’s get into how we avoid laundromats on our lap of Australia – who wants that reoccurring cost anyway!
How We Found The Perfect Camping Laundry Washing Machine
As with every little step while planning your lap of Australia, this wasn’t a quick google search and buy the “one”. We watched YouTube videos, read online reviews for different products, scrolled Facebook pages (the best in my experience was Planning a Lap of Australia – Hints and Tips).
And boy can I tell you, there are A LOT of options – you have automatic machines, twin tubs, manual machines, wash bags, buckets that agitate while you’re driving.. where do you even start?
Not only do you have all those variants, there are also different brands, sizes and styles of them…
For us, we had to be realistic. In our camper trailer, our space was limited, we only have one 100L water tank and we’re running off a 12v system.
This immediately removed the automatic machines from our list (as convenient as they are, they do use a lot of water and power). Plus the washing bags are really small, so we were left with a bucket or a range of manual spinner machines..
For a couple of reasons, we went with the Manual Spin Washing Machine from Outback Equipment.
Firstly, the YouTube video seemed pretty easy to use, it was on the cheaper side and an added bonus you can spin dry your clothes in this little beauty (no elbow grease required to wring out the clothes!)
Not gonna lie, they do look an awful lot like a giant salad spinner you’d pick up at your local grocery store.
Now that we’ve run through the options, let’s get into the pros and cons of our machine compared to the other options on the market:
The Pros Of Our Manual Spin Washing Machine
- It’s super light
- Uses no power
- No hand-wringing clothes
- A rinse cycle is not necessary with wool wash if your in a low dirt/dust area
- No additional cost for washing your clothes
- It takes about 3 minutes in total
The Cons Of Our Manual Washing Machine
- Only fits a small amount of clothing (definitely not sheets – we do this by hand in a pop-up laundry tub)
- Won’t remove stains
- A lot of hand work spinning the machine (can confirm if we let the washing back up over a week, the shoulder does hurt)
- For the above reasoning, you do have to be onto your laundry
How We Wash Our Clothes
Firstly you’ll need water, detergent (we use wool wash as it’s cost effective and it’s not necessary to rinse the clothing), the washing machine and most importantly, your dirty laundry.
Add your detergent, fill the tub with water to about halfway and add your clothes. I find scrubbing the clothes as you pop them in helps a lot.
Once your items have been added, pop the lid on and use the handle to spin for 90 seconds (we do 45 seconds in one direction and the remaining in the other direction).
Drain the water into a bucket and dispose of once complete.
Note, if you’re in a high dirt area, do this process again without the detergent to rinse the clothes (you can use less water).
Once drained again, leave the hose open and spin until next to no water comes out. We also have a makeshift clothes line with rope that we tie between tree’s.
Also, if you would prefer not to use wool wash, use your normal washing detergent but a rinse cycle is necessary.
Now this process isn’t incredible. Stains won’t shift, but it does the job for us.
Alternative Items To Avoid Laundromats
If you have mains power you can opt for an automatic washing machine with a lot less effort than our device. However they also use more water and power so if you’re off grid camping it might put you in a sticky situation with your batteries and/or water supply.
Some people also opt to use a bucket with a plunger, or just leave the closed bucket on the back of the vehicle while travelling.
There are many options available and each option will suit everyone differently.
Our Final Thoughts: How We Avoid Laundromats On Our Lap Of Australia
As mentioned previously, our washing process isn’t fool proof.
In heavy dirt/dust areas we do complete a second rinse cycle and some times this still doesn’t remove the dirt. I’m going to be honest though, we’re so used to being outside now we kinda just go “yep that’s clean enough” and in the drawer it goes!
Do we ever use a typical washing machine? Yes, if a campsite offers one for no additional cost (we’ve experienced this once so far – shout out to River Run Farm Camping at Antigua, Queensland) or when we visit family or during our care taking job.
100 times over we would prefer a normal washing machine.
However, this saves us the time and expense of going to a laundromat to wash our clothes. We can wash every couple of days between adventures with no wait time at a public laundromat.
During a long rain period, we did camp at the one and only caravan park we’ve visited so far on our lap of Australia. This was purely for the facilities and the washing machine. This cost us $12 to wash our clothes.
Would we do it again? Definitely in long periods of rain (probably not the caravan park bit – they are perfect for some travellers but we prefer open rugged camp sites).
Five months into our lap of Australia and we’re still using our manual washing machine with no need for a replacement, so we feel pretty confident in saying this works for long term travel on the road.
We hope we’ve assisted you with your planning process with sharing our experience on how we avoid laundromats on our lap of Australia.
Let us know in the comments below if you use a different alternative to save money on the road.