Washing Clothes When Camping

Washing Clothes When Camping

Guide to Washing Clothes When Camping: Useful Tips and Tricks

Camping is a fantastic method to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. One thing that can make or break a camping trip, however, is the weather. Nobody will have much fun if it’s hot, humid, and buggy. One way to make sure you’re prepared for any kind of weather is to pack the right clothes. One of the most essential things to remember when packing clothing for camping is how to wash it!

The Best Ways to Clean Your Clothes While Camping

Sure, you could go a few days without washing your clothes. But let’s be honest – that’s not really the most pleasant way to spend your time outdoors. If you’re going to be camping for more than a few days, you’ll need strategies to wash your clothing so that you can feel (and smell) fresh and clean.

The Best Ways to Clean Your Clothes While Camping

One of the most efficient strategies is to use a solar-powered shower. Solar camp showers are great because they don’t require any electricity or fuel – they use the sun’s energy to heat up water. All you have to do is fill up the bag with water, hang it in the sun, and wait for it to heat up. Then, you can take a shower right at your campsite.

Another great way is by using a portable washing machine. They are battery-operated and come in a variety of sizes. They’re perfect for camping because they’re small and easy to transport. Plus, you can use them to wash your clothes in any water source – even a river or lake.

If you don’t have access to a solar camp shower or portable washing machine, you can always wash by hand. You need some biodegradable soap and a bucket of water. Simply fill up the bucket with water, add the soap, and start scrubbing away. It’s not the most fun way to wash your clothes, but it’ll get the job done.

Bring Quick-Dry Fabrics

One of the best ways to make washing easier is by bringing quick-dry fabrics. They are made from synthetic materials that dry quickly – perfect for camping. They are also great because they’re wrinkle-resistant and don’t require ironing.

Some of them include polyester, nylon, and spandex. These fabrics are lightweight, durable, and easy to care for. Plus, they’ll help you stay comfortable in any weather condition.

If you’re looking for quick-dry camp clothing, be sure to check out our selection of shirts, pants, and shorts. We have a variety of styles and colors to choose from – perfect for any camping trip.

Build Your Own Portable Camping Washing Machine

Build Your Own Portable Camping Washing Machine

If you’re really looking to save some space and weight in your suitcase, then consider building a portable washing machine. All you need is a large plastic container with a lid (a storage bin or cooler will work perfectly), a small amount of detergent, and some coins. Simply place your clothes in the container, add the detergent and coins (the coins help agitate the clothes), seal the lid tightly, and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Then, just open the lid and let your clothes soak in the soapy water for 15-20 minutes before draining the water and repeating the process with clean water to rinse. Voila! Your clothes are now clean AND you didn’t have to lug around a bulky washing machine.

Of course, this method is best suited for smaller items like socks and underwear. If you’re trying to wash a larger item like a shirt or pants, you might want to consider investing in a portable clothesline so you can hang them up to dry.

DIY trash bag washing machine

Here’s another hack for washing your clothes when camping that doesn’t require any special equipment – all you need is a trash bag! Place your filthy clothing in a trash bag, add a tiny quantity of laundry detergent and some water, seal the bag firmly, and then shake it up until your clothes are clean. Once they’re finished washing, just empty out the water, and rinse the bag with clean water (to get rid of any soap residue).

This method is great for small items, but can also be used for larger items like shirts and pants. Just be sure to not overstuff the bag so that your clothes have enough room to move around and get clean.

DIY plunger and bucket washing machine

If you don’t have a washing machine at your campsite, or if you’re just looking to save some money, you can easily wash by hand. All you need is a plunger and a bucket. Fill the bucket with water and detergent, then add your clothing. Put the plunger in the water and start agitating the water to create suds. Once your clothes are clean, rinse them in another bucket of clean water.

Portable washing machines

If you are car camping or have access to a vehicle, you may want to consider bringing along a portable washing machine. These can be found at most big box stores or online. They are great because they don’t require any electricity and can be used anywhere there is water. Fill them with water, then add your clothes and leave them to work.

Portable washing machines

Another option is using a solar shower bag. These bags are made of PVC and have a black bottom which helps absorb the sun’s heat. Solar shower bags can be hung from a tree or other object and will heat the water inside as it sits in the sun. This is a great way to wash clothes if you are camping in a remote area without access to electricity or running water.

One final option is to hand wash them in a basin or bucket. This is the most low-tech way to wash clothes but it will get the job done. Fill up your basin or bucket with water and add some soap. Then, simply scrub your clothes clean with your hands before rinsing them in clean water. Hang them up to dry and you’re all set!

Find a Laundromat or Laundry Service

While some people might think that they can get away with not washing their clothes while camping, this is definitely not the case. If you are planning on going camping, you should definitely look into finding a laundromat or laundry service in the area. This will ensure that your clothes are clean and fresh for the trip.

If you are unable to find a laundromat, there are still some ways. One way is to wash them in a sink or tub. Another way is to wash them in a river or stream. Either way, it is important to make sure that you rinse your clothes well after washing them. You don’t want to leave any soap residue on your clothes, as this can attract insects.

After your clothes are washed, you will need to dry them. One way to do this is to hang them up on a clothesline. If you don’t have a clothesline, you can also lay your clothes out in the sun to dry. Just make sure that you don’t put them in direct sunlight, as this can cause the colors to fade.

Hand washing with a pop-up bucket

The first step is to gather all of your dirty laundry. A good rule of thumb is to bring one change of clothes per day, plus an extra set in case you get dirty or wet. Once you have your pile of laundry, sort it into darks and lights. This will help prevent any bleeding colors from ruining your clothes.

Hand washing with a pop-up bucket

To wash by hand, start by filling a clean bucket with water. Add a small amount of biodegradable soap and stir until it’s mixed in well. Place your lightest items in the water first and work your way up to the heaviest fabrics. Gently swish each item around before squeezing out the excess water and setting it aside in a clean bowl or bucket. [1]

Use a Scrubba Wash Bag

If you don’t have a lot of space on your campsite for washing clothes or if you’re worried about making too much noise, then consider using a Scrubba wash bag. These bags are designed to clean clothes without the need for a lot of water or detergent. Simply add some water to the bag, along with your dirty clothes and a small amount of detergent. Then, use the built-in scrubber to clean your clothes.

Dispose Dirty Water Properly

Dirty water from washing your clothes should never be disposed of near your campsite, or anywhere else for that matter. The best way to get rid of it is to carry it away with you and dispose of it properly when you get home.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never wash your clothes in natural bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it can also spread diseases.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of camping, it might be worth investing in a portable washing machine. They’re not too expensive and they’ll make your life a lot easier. Just make sure you read the instructions carefully before using one!

Best Soaps to Use While Camping

If you’re out camping, it’s likely that you won’t have access to a washing machine. That doesn’t mean your clothes have to stay dirty, though! It is actually not that difficult, and with the right soap, it can be just as effective as using a machine.

There are a few different types of soap that are great for hand-washing clothes. One option is liquid laundry detergent. This can be easily stored in a small container and doesn’t require any mixing or measuring. Simply add a small amount of detergent to your wash water and scrub away! Another good option is bar soap. You can even find some that are specifically designed for hand-washing. Whichever type of soap you choose, make sure to look for one that is gentle and won’t damage your clothes.

What Not to Do When Washing Clothes Outside

When you’re roughing it in the wilderness, there are some things you just can’t avoid. Bugs, dirt, and sweat are all part and parcel of the camping experience. But that doesn’t mean your clothes have to suffer! With a little bit of planning and effort, you can keep your clothes clean and fresh throughout your trip. Here’s what not to do:

What Not to Do When Washing Clothes Outside

  • Don’t use soap meant for dishes or laundry. These will strip away the natural oils from your skin, leaving you feeling dry and itchy. Instead, opt for a biodegradable camp soap that’s specifically designed for washing clothes.
  • Don’t wash your clothes in stagnant water. This water is full of bacteria and other organisms that can cause skin irritation and infections. Instead, find a running stream or river where the water is constantly moving and clean your clothes in that.
  • Don’t forget to rinse your clothes thoroughly. Soap residue can attract dirt and grime, so make sure to rinse away all the soap before hanging your clothes up to dry. [2]

Keep Up With Your Hygiene When Camping

One of the worst parts about camping is having to sacrifice your hygiene for the sake of nature. But, there are ways to keep up with your hygiene even when you’re in the great outdoors! Here are some tips and tricks for keeping clean while camping:

  • Wash your face and hands regularly. This will help prevent dirt and bacteria from getting into your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Use biodegradable soap whenever possible. This will help reduce your impact on the environment.
  • If you can’t wash your hair every day, try using dry shampoo or baby powder to absorb excess oil and sweat.
  • Pack extra clothes so you always have something clean to change into.
  • Wash your clothes.

Drying your clothes when camping

One of the most difficult things about washing clothes when camping is drying them. If you’re used to using a dryer at home, then you’ll have to get creative when it comes to drying your clothes while camping. One option is to hang your wet clothes on a clothesline or over a chair. Another option is to lay your wet clothes on top of a towel or another piece of fabric. You can also try using a fan to help speed up the drying process.

If you’re washing clothes while camping, it’s essential to be prepared for the challenges that come with doing laundry in an outdoor setting. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to wash your clothes without any problems. So next time you go camping, don’t forget to pack your laundry bag!

Useful Tips on Washing Clothes When You’re Camping

Washing clothes while camping can be a bit of a pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Useful Tips on Washing Clothes When You’re Camping

Pack Dark Clothes

If you’re going to be doing any sort of laundry while camping, pack dark clothes. Dark clothes are less likely to show dirt and stains, so you won’t have to wash them as often.

And if you do get a stain on a dark shirt, don’t worry – it can usually be washed out with a little bit of soap and water.

So next time you’re packing for a camping trip, make sure to pack mostly dark clothes. Your laundry will thank you later.

Choose Your Detergents Carefully

When you are doing laundry while camping, you need to be really careful about the products that you use. Make sure that you read the labels on all of your detergents and soaps before using them. Avoid anything with fragrances or dyes, as these can attract wildlife or leave behind a strong scent that will linger in your clothing. You also want to steer clear of any harsh chemicals that could damage your clothes or irritate your skin. Instead, opt for gentle, biodegradable formulas that are designed for sensitive skin.

If you’re not sure what kind of detergent to use, ask someone at the camp store or another experienced camper for their recommendation. And always test out a small amount of any new detergent on a hidden area of your clothing before using it on your entire load. This will help you to avoid any unwanted surprises, like color bleeding or fabric damage.

Dispose of your Gray Water in a Proper Place

When you are camping, it is important to be mindful of your gray water. Gray water is the waste water that comes from washing your dishes and clothes. You should never dispose of your gray water in a place where people can see it or where it can contaminate the environment. The best way to dispose of gray water is to dig a hole away from your campsite and bury it. If you are unable to bury your gray water, you can also boil it before disposing of it.

Dispose of your Gray Water in a Proper Place

Bring Everything You Might Need to Dry Your Clothes

You’re going to want to bring clothespins, a drying rack, and a portable fan or two. You’ll also need some sort of container to catch the water as it drips off your clothes. A large storage bin will work perfectly for this. [3]

Drying your clothes in the sun is always an option, but if you’re camping in an area with lots of trees, you might not have that luxury. In that case, using a fan will help speed up the drying process.


What to use to wash clothes while camping?

There are a few options for washing clothes while camping. You can use a portable washing machine, hand wash your clothes in a sink or tub, or even wash your clothes in a river or lake.

If you’re using a portable washing machine, make sure to read the instructions carefully. Some machines require you to add water to the drum first, while others will automatically fill up with water when you start them. [4]

Handwashing is usually the best option when camping, as it doesn’t require any extra equipment. Simply fill up a sink or tub with warm water and laundry detergent, and soak your clothes for a few minutes before scrubbing them clean. If you’re washing in a river or lake, make sure to rinse your clothes thoroughly afterwards to remove any soap residue.

How do you wash clothes while backpacking?

Here are a few tips and tricks to make the process as easy as possible:

First things first, you’ll need to gather all of your dirty clothes. Try to keep them organized by separating them into light and dark loads.

Once you have a decent-sized pile of laundry, it’s time to start washing. You can do this by hand using a basin or bucket, or you can use a portable washing machine if you have one.

If you’re washing by hand, fill up your basin or bucket with clean water and add some soap. Swish the clothes around for a few minutes, then let them soak for a bit before scrubbing them clean. [5]

Once the clothes are clean, it’s time to rinse them off. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly to get all of the soap out.

Now it’s time to dry your clothes. You can do this by hanging them up on a clothesline or drying rack, or you can lay them out in the sun to dry.

How do you freshen clothes when camping?

One way to freshen your clothes when camping is by using a mixture of water and essential oils. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of water and soak your clothes in it for a few minutes. This will help to remove any bad odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean. Another way is by hanging them up outside in the sun for a few hours. The sunlight will help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the bad odor.

If you don’t have access to sunlight, you can also try hanging your clothes up near a fire. The smoke from the fire will help to freshen your clothes and remove any bad odors. Just be sure to keep an eye on your clothes so they don’t catch on fire!

How do you wash your clothes in the wilderness?

Washing your clothes when camping can be a bit of a challenge. There are a few different methods that you can use, and it really depends on what resources you have available to you.

If you have access to a river or stream, then washing your clothes in the water is a great option. You can either wash them by hand or use a camp laundry bag. If you’re using a camp laundry bag, make sure to put rocks in the bottom of the bag so that your clothes don’t float away!

Another option is to wash your clothes in a bucket. This method is great if you don’t have access to running water. Simply fill the bucket with water, add some soap, and wash your clothes in the water. You can then rinse them off in another bucket of clean water. [6]

Finally, you can also wash your clothes in a sink. This is probably the most convenient option if you’re camping near a bathroom or other source of running water. Just make sure to rinse your clothes well so that they don’t get too dirty!

Useful Video: Travel laundry- How to wash your clothes while traveling & camping


All in all, washing your clothes while camping can be a bit of a hassle. However, with a little bit of planning and the right supplies, it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully, this guide has given you some useful tips and tricks for getting your clothes clean while roughing it in the great outdoors. Thanks for reading!


  1. https://roofnest.com/blog/2021/08/11/the-best-ways-to-clean-your-clothes-while-camping/
  2. https://cosmoappliances.com/laundry-day-a-dos-and-donts-guide/
  3. https://www.smallcarcamp.com/how-to-wash-clothes-while-camping-how-not-to/
  4. https://www.takethetruck.com/blog/camping-washing-machine
  5. https://www.backpacker.com/skills/prof-hike-a-backpacker-s-guide-to-smart-personal-hygiene/
  6. https://www.rei.com/blog/camp/5-wilderness-hygiene-tips-feeling-fresh-backcountry