Showers And Laundry When Boondocking?

Q. You're my heroes !!! I love your site. I'm almost 65, recently widowed and still working full time. Hope to retire to your lifestyle by the end of next year. I'm curious, how do you handle showering and laundry? Thank you so much for the inspiration your site has given me.

Marianne's Reply Thanks for the compliments.
In answer to your questions:

Showers.... Aaaaahh I love my shower but while we're on the road, they do become a luxury. We're always looking for one and get one where we can but when we don't we are no less clean for it.

We also have an outside shower on the RV (actually more like a kitchen sink rinse hose) and we can take an outdoor shower whenever we have enough water and privacy. Still we tend not to use it that often.

We do find and use showers in various places - sometimes at a reasonably priced campground, some at parks where a pay shower (a dollar or two) is sometimes available even if you don't stay in the campground. Sometimes at public swimming pools and marinas. Truck stops have them too but we found that's usually quite expensive.

We appreciate a shower opportunity but, for the most part, our everyday clean comes the same way as our grandparents got it...with a sponge bath, which is really just a bucket of warm water, bar of soap, and a washcloth. Much less water used and probably gets you even cleaner than a shower does.

Of course, a hair wash is a separate occasion. We use bio-degradable shampoo so we can do this outside, and get by with a hair wash once every 5 to 7 days. We are in public (and together) all the time and have never had any complaints about it, so this must be 'good enough'.

Many RVs do, of course, have indoor showers. If you go shopping for one of those, remember that, showering wastes a lot of water and fills up the holding tanks pretty fast. We've met many RVers who boondock regularly that end up using their shower as a spare closet!

Laundry... Before our first extended trip, we actually looked for an old fashioned washboard and thought we'd be doing laundry by hand all the time, saving lots of money and stringing up the old clothesline in a campsite. Well, that lasted about one occasion and seems funny now to think back on it.

Laundromats can be found in every town, aren't that expensive, get your clothes much cleaner, with less water, time, and energy. It's just too much effort to wash things like jeans and get them clean enough, not to mention getting the soap rinsed out properly. And when you live outdoors, your clothes do get a little dirt attached to them.

We pack enough socks and underwear to last us 2 weeks. (They're small.) That means that, if necessary, we can go 2 weeks between laundromat stops and, especially if we're in more remote areas we can still wash a few of these items by hand if we need to stretch the time between stops even longer.

When we stop at a laundromat, the sheets are stripped off the bed and we use enough machines that everything gets washed at once and we're in and out in about an hour and half. Save a few dollars and use less soap by using the triple load washers. Most laundromats have them. I think they also do a superior job.

All this information and more about how we do it, is contained in my bonus ebook, Basic Boondocking, that comes free with any of my Frugal Shunpiker's Guides but I'm happy to answer your questions to make you realize that this lifestyle is "doable".

I hope you'll be able to follow your retirement dreams. There are more people than you would think who are out there doing it.


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May 11, 2015
In leiu of shower!
by: Cheryl

I have discovered the disposable adult washcloth (much larger than a baby wipe) while Dad was in a nursing home. They are amazing and 2 can usually do the entire body when showers not available. They a have fresh scent, do not bother my sensitive skin, and actually help me feel clean to start the day. They contain Vit. E, Aloe, and chamomile. The nurses claim they are much more sanitary than washcloth, soap, and water for patients needing bed baths and far easier to use. I even try to recycle some of them wiping bugs off outside areas of coach, muddy steps, etc. You can find a 5 pack case box (240) at Sam's Club reasonably priced.

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