Clothes washing on the road

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 12:13
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We are planning a 1yr trip around Oz with 2 young kids, however using caravan park washing machines can add up to a large expense. How do other people cope with clothes washing without spending a small fortune?
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Reply By: 410 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 12:23

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 12:23
Hi Mark
We have a w/ machine in our van and the wife loves it , with 5 of us it is great. If you can't fit it in the van, i have seen people carry it in the back of the car and set it up at the parks.
Richard
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:09

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:09
Hi Seabreeze,

How are you travelling. Washing machines now seem to be common in caravans. If tenting or using a camper trailer there are other options.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:11

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:11
Forgot to mention, the red search button in the top RH corner will give you alot of answers as this topic has been discussed many times. I just put in "washing clothes" and a lot of hits came up.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:52

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:52
Have you seen these 12/240 washing machines, no experience with one but thet are affordable at about $200.

http://www.snowys.com.au/Portable-Toilets-Showers/Portable-Washing-Machines/Portable-Washing-Machines.aspx?c=5&sc=38&id=2843
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:50

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:50
Err, No, it's not 12/240 volt. It's 240 volt only but .... "240 V AC operation or can be used with a DC to AC power inverter". Slight difference.
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Reply By: baz&pud (tassie) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:01

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:01
Not that we do it so much now, but used to use a 20 litre plastic container with, (depending on the size of the wash) two/three litres water, soap, and place on roof racks, travel several ks, stop tip water out, ring cloths and place back in container with fresh water, travel several ks, clothes washed, ring and hang out to dry.
Great way for socks, nickers etc.
Cheers
Baz
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:04

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 14:04
Agree with Baz although I wear jocks NOT nickers.
Fab.
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:14

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:14
For a little bit of dosh get youself one of these
then get a smal 300 watt inverter plus one of these
Combined they are great items for a family.
We have both and would not be without them now.

Cheers Dodg.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:00

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:00
G'day Dodger,

That little washing machine looks great for the price and size is good too.

If you can do a little bit of washing often it'd be good.
We often use the bucket while driving for the things that need doing and it works good.

Steve
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Reply By: rooster350 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:14

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:14
We bought one of the twin tub washers of ebay...great little machine
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Reply By: Polaris - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:21

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 21:21
We use one of these ... Twin tub.

Bought ours from Top Buy
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 16:32

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 16:32
I'd also like to add to this conversation the suggestion that you'll find yourself less likely to be as particular about the washing as you are at home and you won't need as many clothes. The kids cannot stay clean for 2 seconds, so don't bother. Aim for grey t-shirts and dark boardies etc and let them re-wear the same clothes for a week. 3 sets in rotation will get you 3 weeks! They can swim in the ocean in their dusty shorts to freshen them up but the kids socks are the worst - they get totally ruined no matter what you do so only make them wear them when you have to (ie. when hiking in boots). Best thing is to let them live in thongs, they'll toughen up.

For adults, aim to wash out your smalls daily and use the Chinese laundry concept to avoid a pile building up (even string them up in the back of the car when driving). Select light-weight, anti-crease clothing for the trip, and avoid difficult to wash/heavy clothing. Cargo style pants that have zip-off legs to make shorts are ideal, merino-wool thermal t-shirts are invaluable as they seem odor-resistant so can be reworn for days, and you must have polartec jackets. These fabrics are easy to hand-wash in a tub or bucket and don't hold water so very quick to dry so you can avoid the machine. Also use Tek Towels - much easier to wash/dry. All these technical fabrics are expensive initially but well worth it and we've found they outlast cotton and nylon clothing anyway.

Have fun planning your trip!
Michelle Martin
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I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

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Reply By: CSeaJay - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:01

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:01
Mark,

Your original post is about saving money by not using caravan park machines.
One can probably wash 8 kg in these machines, at a reasonably low cost. And if it breaks down, you simply use the one next to it ;-)

Most replies are about spending circa $200 on another system. Then add the inconvenience of the space it takes and the like.

I would suggest that if I was in your shoes I'd happily feed the van park machines the coins they require. You don't mention your space availability (caravan/trailer/tenting) but either way space is usually a premium on all but large vans.

Cheers, I am envious about your year-long adventure! Enjoy.
CJ
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:19

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:19
Good points CJ, added to Michelle's sensible comments about not being too fussy about clothing. On a recent 8 week trip we (two of us) spent about $50 on laundry, but that was without doing much hand washing. If you do small items by hand and just use the laundry for larger items - sheets, towels, jeans etc and assuming you dont feel the need to change sheets too often then I think you could keep the laundry cost to quite reasonable limits.
If you are hand washing get a plumbers plunger and cut 3 of 2cm holes in the flexible plunger bit. This makes an excellent washing plunger to use in a bucket that can get clothes really clean without too much effort.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Rebecca H - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 06:26

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 06:26
I camp a lot with my kids and unfortunately they are the type of kids that go through a lot of clothes. For older kids reusing clothes over and over is the go but if they are as young and as messy as mine you will still have a substantial amount of washing. My 18 month old likes to paint himself with food every chance he gets and I have a 4 year old who is still having a lot of 'accidents'. We have a washing machine in the van for this next trip but in the past have used a big bucket with I ring seal. Put small clothes and detergent in and the agitation of the water when driving does a pretty good job. The big stuff can then be done at parks and laundromats. It can be a bit pricey at times but a lot cheaper than installing a washing machine in van or car :)
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Follow Up By: Rebecca H - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 06:27

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 06:27
"o ring seal" (typo)
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 09:07

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 09:07
I agree that if you only use CP laundries or laundromats for linen and towels the cost over a long trip is reasonable - probably around $3 a week and even less as you get less fussy! (Take light weight dark coloured sheets and small towels so a lot fits in a load!) Especially with a family I think you could find better things to do with the space and weight than cart around a washing machine. The CP laundry option should cost less than the cheapest machine for a year long trip.
Otherwise the bucket or similar with a secure lid that washes as you go or uses a plunger in camp (kids can help!) deals easily with Tshirts and underwear etc. In a CP hot water and large tubs are usually available free if you prefer.
You will get less fussy as you go! Just take the minimum of easy to wash clothing in dark colours and enjoy the break from trying to maintain impossible standards! Lynne
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Reply By: Aussie Arthur - Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013 at 21:06

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013 at 21:06
We use a bucket with a lid and put the clothes in and put Nappy San in there, when travelling the movement stirs up the contents and washes the cloths, we have found with Nappy San you don't have to rinse the clothes out, when you get to the next nite stop, you wring out the clothes and hang them up, works for us!! But as mentioned you can do a small load every day and reuse clothes that are not real dirty, I guess that would depend on the weather.
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