Sunday, March 26, 2023


Yes, RVers need to follow proper campground laundromat etiquette

Woweee! Who’d ever think that a conversation about laundering clothes could elicit such strong emotions? Yep, a recent campfire discussion focused on RV campground laundromats and laundromat etiquette. It was quite a conversation!


Beth began, “I made several trips to the campground laundromat today and my laundry still isn’t done! I forgot my quarters back in our RV. So I put my basket of dirty clothes on top of a washer to ‘reserve it’ while I went back to get the money. When I returned to the laundry room, my basket of dirty clothes was sitting on the floor and the washer I’d ‘reserved’ was in use. I think that’s rude!”

Cliff frowned. “I didn’t know you could ‘reserve’ a washer or dryer.”

“Who was using the washer? Could you have mentioned something to them?” Shelia wanted to know.

“That’s just it,” Beth complained. “There was no one there! Someone moved my basket to the floor, put their clothes into the washer, and left!”

Campground laundry facilities

One of the benefits of camping in a campground is that many places offer a laundry facility that you can use during your stay. The downside? Often the etiquette guidelines for using the campground laundromat are not posted. Other times people simply ignore the posted rules.

Use your RV’s washer and dryer

“What gripes me,” Cliff muttered, “are the people who have washers and dryers right inside their rigs, yet they use the campground’s laundromat!”

Shelia countered, “Hey if you had three active boys, you’d understand. My RV’s washer/dryer combo would take forever to get everything laundered. I refuse to spend my camping time doing laundry all day. I’m here to hike, fish, and relax with my family.”

RV washers and dryers

I’m not sure I agree completely with Shelia, but I see her point. Folks who have the combo washer/dryer have told me the same thing about how long it can take to do even one small load. The upside to having a combo machine is that it saves space in the RV. That’s why RV manufacturers install them rather than separate washer and dryer appliances.


“What about the people who do two weeks of laundry at one time?” Beth wanted to know. “Then they fill every machine! No one else can do laundry because there are no machines available!”

“The thing is,” Shelia said, “You don’t know their situation. Maybe they’ve been boondocking. They have a right to use the laundry, too.”

“Well, I don’t think it’s polite,” Beth insisted.

Old and worn out

Dave chimed in, “Well my rig doesn’t have a washer or a dryer so I’m stuck using the campground’s laundry facility. I wish they kept more of their machines in working condition. Two of my shirts came out of the washer with tar or something on ‘em.”

“It might not be the washer,” Beth suggested. “I’ve seen people stick their grimiest clothes in, and not clean the machine afterwards. I’m talking mud, grease, you name it.”

“Well, two of the three dryers have had ‘out of order’ signs on them for over a week,” Dave claimed. “I’ve had to dry my jeans outside, and that seems to bug my neighbor.” He rolled his eyes.

Sheila said, “Be sure to write a review about the nonworking dryers on the campground’s website. It may not help you, but maybe the campground will do a better job maintaining their washers and dryers for the next campers.”

Nice amenity

“I love that the campground has a laundry facility,” Beth said. “It’s a good amenity to offer RVers. I just wish RVers were a little more polite.”

Basic etiquette for campground laundromats

RV campground laundromats are an important perk for many RVers. That’s why it’s important to know and follow a few rules as you launder and dry your clothes.

  • Sit. Stay. These aren’t doggie commands. (Well, actually they are. But here they’re meant for doggie’s owners.) Don’t leave your clothes inside a machine. Stay with your laundry instead. Take a book, magazine, cell phone, or a friend with you to help pass the time. As an alternative, set an alarm to alert you several minutes before your laundry is finished. Be there when your clothes are done so that you can promptly remove them. Then other campers can use the machine.
  • Don’t be selfish. Many smaller campgrounds have maybe two or three washers and dryers. Be courteous. If someone else needs a machine, share.
  • Keep filthy clothing away. If you wouldn’t wash that really hairy dog bed in your washer at home, do not wash it in the CG’s machine. Same goes for other very greasy, filthy clothing.
  • Do not overload. Use the CG machines like you use your own at home. If a load is too large, take some pieces out. Smaller loads will dry more quickly, anyway.
  • Clean machines. If a tissue or piece of paper is accidentally washed with a load of your clothing, wipe out the washer. That way, the next person won’t have to deal with it. Always clean out the dryer lint trap when finished, too. (A wet wipe or clean, damp cloth will quickly clean the machine with a simple swipe.)
  • Use proper payment methods. If the CG laundry appliances accept coins as payment, be sure to use the correct coins. For example, keep those Canadian quarters separate!
  • Keep laundry room clean. If you spill detergent or liquid softener, wipe it up right away. Put the dryer sheets you’ve used into the waste basket. If beach sand from your towel spills onto the floor, sweep it up. (Most facilities in smaller CGs do not have someone hired to clean the laundry room daily. It’s up to the campers to make sure they leave the facilities cleaner than they found them.)
  • Tell management. Report nonworking machines to the front desk or campground manager. S/he may not be aware of broken or nonworking machines.

Can you think of other laundromat etiquette to include on this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Most recent Around the Campfire:



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25 days ago

I guess I should go back to the laundry title. No body out there has to worry about me and washers-dryers. I always pack too much of everything, clothes included.
I just can’t change my ways. I usually wear one pair of shorts for a week or more. I change my socks etc. unless I’m sitting in hot springs and for a few days.
I do understand all you other folks, but it isn’t much different from facilities in cities, some folks are courteous, others are (fill in the blanks)……sadly…….

25 days ago

Basket on the washer means it’s hers?
Reminds me of a stay at Kalaloch (sp) NFS park on the wa. coast. Pulled in got a spot, put my ticket in the required slot for payment.
There was a cardboard box on the picnic table. Sure enough some idiot pounds on our door and says it’s his campsite.
There was much more, but I’ll leave it at that….
What a world……..
Oh and the ranger was busted for stealing cash from the campers later….

1 month ago

The campground I lived at for the better part of two years had machines that used an app to pay…it was wonderful. I knew if there were machines available before I headed to the building, I had a timer I could look at to know how much more time was on the machine, and if I thought the dryer needed more time, I could add it without going there. It spoiled me. But when I needed to wash large loads, comforters or dog beds I went to the one in town.

1 month ago

Friends think we are nuts, but we actually like going the public laundromats when travelling. We do look at online ratings, and prefer those with an attendant. We have never had to wait for a washer or dryer. We actually like talking to the locals — have met some interesting people and gotten some great suggestions on places to eat and see while in town. Just one more adventure!

1 month ago

Hhmmm. This discusion sounds strangely like the ones about campground courtesy. Could it be the same culprits in each case?

Darla VanAlphen
1 month ago

I never leave laundry unattended. In college I had a load dumped on floor and one stolen. I bring plenty of change, detergent and reading material. Yes, I am one who uses 2-3 loads at a time,but I go very early when it’s cool and less crowded . I believe in first come first serve. There’s been many times when I they are full and I come back another day. Like I said wait your turn.

1 month ago

Here’s a rule I didn’t see mentioned in the comments–well maybe the “don’t be selfish” rule, which makes sense. But several campground/RV park laundry rooms have signs saying “Don’t use more than 2 washers/dryers at a time” so that units are available for other campers. That makes sense if it’s a busy day with many folks in the laundromat. But it does NOT make sense if you’re the only person in the room and you have 4 loads to do. Why not do all 4 loads while nobody’s in there, so I can have all of them finished before the next user arrives? If I do two loads at a time, I’m there twice as long. And so is the next person who comes in with 4 loads, when I could have been finished before their arrival! Campgrounds need to rethink the logic of this policy.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jake

And if I come in 2 minutes after your 4 loads have started, I am supposed to wait but you could not?

At least the laundries who post “rules” try to remind users to think about other customers. Those who don’t have rules likely don’t want to have to enforce them.

1 month ago

For those frustrated with RV’er’s who have washer/dryers in their rig but use the campground laundromat, remember that a number of campgrounds have rules forbidding using the RV washer/dryer at their campsite. Speculation abounds about the reasoning for this rule… is it due to the campground’s limited capacity septic system? Water concerns? Do they just want the profit from using their on-site coin operated laundromat? Nobody fully knows. But it does mean RVers will have to take their laundry to the laundromat, so don’t judge! 🙂

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Both our previous motorhome and the current one have a stacked washer and dryer. I use them whenever possible. The washer in RV #1 was broken for a time and I did laundry at the campground laundromat. I set an alarm on my watch so that I didn’t have to sit with the laundry, but would not leave finished wash (or dried clothes) in the washer (dryer) after the cycle ended. A few other times we were at the factory service center getting work done (including fixing the washer) and only had electricity. I used the service center’s laundromat and, again, set an alarm to try to be polite to other users.

1 month ago

I like the “sit-stay” rule. Last time I was in a laundromat, 7 of the 16 dryers were out of order, and 5 were sitting with dry clothes waiting to be picked up. (I observed this as I was loading my laundry into a washer.) The person using the 5 dryers didn’t appear until 15 minutes after my wash load was done! Luckily, another dryer had become available. Personally, I wouldn’t leave my laundry.

Travato john
1 month ago

Just goes to show you sense is not common. Go into town to a bigger laundromat. It’s a lot easier.

1 month ago
Reply to  Travato john

We agree! We go into a commercial laundromat, usually in town, and do upwards of 2 weeks of clothing very quickly. We never leave the laundromat with stuff in the process – catch up on reading, texting, route planning, etc. Still occasionally see many of the same problems, washers and dryers out of order, grossly dirty machines, etc. However, many of these places have attendants who make change if needed, provide interesting conversations related to the local area and more!

1 month ago

I go to regular city laundromats. But irregardless, people are generally pigs when rules aren’t enforced by a person who is there. Like the saying goes “you can’t fix stupid”.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

For probably 95% of the users, you only need one rule, treat the park laundromat as if it was your own stick & brick laundry facility with one washer and one dryer. (the other 5% might have an abused – and likely malfunctioning – home laundry). Otherwise go to a commercial laundromat.

1 month ago

I love the campgrounds that use a laundry app. That way I can see from my campsite when washers and dryers are available, and no scrounging for quarters.

Thanks for the reminder about cleaning the floors up after myself. I don’t wash dog beds, but I do wash dog blankets and sweaters. I’ll shake them out outside first to avoid the film of dog hair on the floor. I always wipe the drum when I’m done in case any stray hair is left behind.

Marie Beschen
1 month ago

I’m lucky, my husband likes to do the laundry and does it well. He uses that time as his “time away” – takes a book to read and gives him some quiet time. Being f/t, 24/7, it’s a nice little break for us!

Danny Cram
1 month ago

A commercial facility is usually just a few miles away….and usually a bit cheaper than the campground. With 15 or 20 washers they don’t care if you use 5 of them.
As for the rude and uncaring people that abuse the machine’s there is no fix for that…at least at a larger facility you can just find another.

Teri Sprosty
1 month ago

Just a quick tip: wipe the dryer lint screen with the used fabric softener sheet after your load is completed. It makes that task efficient and easy.

1 month ago

We have a washer/dryer combo in our 5th wheel and use it exclusively when we have FHU’s. It’s slow, but there is only two of us, so we can start a load and go about whatever we want to do and fold when we come back. If we do not have sewer hook-up, we rough it and will go to town and use a commercial laundromat. We have yet to use campground laundry facilities.

1 month ago

Wash our clothes in the same washers that some inconsiderate dog owner did the dog’s bedding and rugs? No thanks, don’t want that hair or smell. That is why wife insisted on her own W/D.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

We stayed at a facility that had two washers and two dryers. One dryer had a sign on it that stated it was like Las Vegas. It might work, and it might not. C’mon, take a chance. I applauded the owner for his honesty. We actually got it to work. That was several years ago and I’m hoping it’s been fixed by now.

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