RV Washer: A Must-Have Appliance for Your Travel Adventures

Naomi O'Colman

Updated on:

RV Washer

Looking to keep your home-on-wheels as spick and span as your wanderlust spirit? Say hello to the ultimate guide on the RV washers!

We’ve scoured the market, suds-tested the contenders, and emerged with sparkling insights to simplify your decision.

Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a weekend road-tripper, this guide is your compass to laundry liberation on the open road.

Let’s roll into clean adventures!

Table of Contents

Top RV Washer Brands and Models

Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub – Compact & Budget RV Washer

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The Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine is a great option for those who live in small spaces or need a secondary washing machine for light loads. It is easy to operate and has a variety of features that make it a convenient choice for laundry day.

Key features of the Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine:

  • Portable and lightweight, making it easy to move around.
  • Suitable for small spaces, such as apartments, dorms, and RVs.
  • Can wash up to 20 lbs of clothes at a time.
  • Has two wash cycles: wash and spin.
  • Comes with a drain hose and inlet hoses for easy water connection.
  • Has a top lid for safe spin drying.
  • Affordable price.

The Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine is a great option for those who are looking for a small, affordable, and easy-to-use washing machine. It is perfect for light loads and is perfect for people who live in small spaces or need a secondary washing machine.

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Equator Advanced Appliances EZ 4400N – #1 RV Washer

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The Equator 4400N Combo Washer Dryer is a compact, all-in-one appliance that combines the functionality of a washer and dryer into a single unit. It is perfect for small spaces, such as RVs, apartments, or dorm rooms.

The 4400N has a large 13 lb. load capacity and features a variety of energy-saving and time-saving features. It is also very quiet, making it ideal for use in small spaces or at night.

Key Features

  • Compact and portable design
  • Large 13 lb. load capacity
  • Energy-efficient and time-saving features
  • Quiet operation
  • Winterize function for RV usage
  • Easy to operate control panel

The Equator 4400N Combo Washer Dryer is a great option for people who live in small spaces or need a portable appliance. It is also a good choice for people who are looking for an energy-efficient and quiet appliance.

However, it is important to note that the 4400N is more expensive than some other combo washer dryers and may not be powerful enough for large loads of laundry.

The Equator 4400N is a good value for the price and is a great option for people who are looking for a compact, all-in-one laundry appliance.

What is a RV Washer?

An RV washer is a compact washing machine designed specifically for use in recreational vehicles (RVs) and campers. These machines are designed to provide a convenient and space-efficient solution for washing clothes while on the road or at a campsite.

Benefits of Having an RV Washer


One of the primary benefits of having an RV washer is the convenience it offers. Instead of having to search for laundromats or other facilities, you can do your laundry right in your RV, saving you time and effort.


RV washers are designed to be compact and space-efficient, which is essential in the limited space of an RV. They are usually smaller than regular household washing machines, making them a practical choice for RV living.

Cost Savings

Over time, having an RV washer can save you money, especially if you frequently stay at campgrounds with laundry facilities that charge for each load. With your own washer, you can avoid these fees and potentially recoup your investment.


Doing laundry in the comfort of your own RV provides a level of privacy that you might not get at a public laundromat. You can wash your clothes whenever you need to without worrying about sharing space with others.

Control over Cleanliness

With your own RV washer, you have control over the cleanliness of the machine and the detergents used. This can be particularly important for those with sensitive skin or allergies.


Having an RV washer allows you to travel more spontaneously, as you won’t have to plan your route around laundry facilities. This added flexibility can enhance your overall travel experience.

Emergency Situations

In cases where you’re traveling to remote areas or encountering unexpected situations, having an RV washer can be a real asset. You won’t have to worry about finding a place to do laundry in such circumstances.

Environmental Impact

RV washers typically use less water compared to traditional household washing machines, which can be beneficial for conserving resources, especially if you’re staying at campsites with limited water availability.

Long-Term Travel

If you’re embarking on an extended RV journey, having the convenience of an onboard washer can make life on the road more comfortable and enjoyable.

RV washers come in various types, such as portable units, combination washer-dryer units, and compact top-loading or front-loading machines. The specific benefits you experience will depend on the type of RV washer you choose and your individual travel and lifestyle preferences.

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Types of RV Washers: Exploring Your Options

Type of RV Washer Description Pros Cons
Portable Compact Washers Small, standalone units. Requires manual fill and drain. Portability, lightweight, easy to store Manual operation, need water source and drain
Built-in RV Washers Permanently installed within RV. Similar to household units. Convenience, automated, seamless Requires installation space, plumbing hookup
Combination Washer-Dryers Offers washing and drying functions in one unit. Space-saving, all-in-one solution Longer drying times, potential complexity
Hand-Cranked Washers Manual operation with hand crank or lever. No electricity needed, portable Labor-intensive, manual agitation

Portable Compact Washers

These are small, standalone washing machines that you can place inside your RV when needed. They are typically lightweight and can be easily moved and stored when not in use. Portable compact washers usually have a manual fill and drain system, and they require access to a water source and a sink or drain for the wastewater.

Built-in RV Washers

Built-in RV washers are designed to be permanently installed within the RV. They are integrated into the RV’s plumbing system and provide a more seamless and convenient laundry solution. These washers may be top-loading or front-loading, similar to household washing machines, and they usually require a dedicated space with proper hookups.

Combination Washer-Dryers

Combination units offer both washing and drying functions in a single appliance. They are a space-saving solution for RVs that eliminates the need for a separate dryer. These units can automatically transition from washing to drying without manual intervention, but keep in mind that the drying process may take longer compared to a standalone dryer.

Hand-Cranked Washers

Hand-cranked or manual washers are a low-tech option for RV laundry. They don’t require electricity or plumbing connections. Instead, you manually agitate the clothes using a hand crank or lever. These washers are typically compact and lightweight, making them suitable for boondocking or off-grid camping.

Each type of RV washer has its own advantages and considerations:

  • Portability: Portable compact washers and hand-cranked washers are the most portable options, suitable for RVers who want a lightweight and easily storable solution.
  • Convenience: Built-in RV washers and combination washer-dryers offer greater convenience and automation, as they integrate into the RV’s infrastructure and may have advanced features.
  • Space: Combination washer-dryers can save space by combining two functions into one unit, while built-in washers may require more installation space.
  • Power and Water Usage: Consider the power source and water requirements of the washer type you choose. Some RVs may have limited electrical capacity or water supply, which can affect your choice.
  • Cost: The cost varies depending on the type and features of the washer. Portable options are generally more affordable, while built-in units and combination washer-dryers may have a higher upfront cost.

When choosing an RV washer, it’s important to assess your specific needs, available space, power sources, and water supply to determine the best fit for your RV lifestyle.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an RV Washer

Size and Space Constraints

  • Consider the available space in your RV for the washer. Measure the area where you plan to install or store it.
  • Choose a washer that fits comfortably within the allocated space without obstructing walkways or other essential RV functions.
  • Portable compact washers are ideal for tight spaces, while built-in units may require more room but offer a seamless integration.

Water and Energy Efficiency:

  • Look for RV washers that are designed to be water-efficient. RVs often have limited freshwater tanks, so conserving water is crucial.
  • Choose energy-efficient models to minimize power consumption, especially if you’re running the washer on battery power or a generator.
  • Check for Energy Star certification or similar ratings that indicate high efficiency.
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Washing Capacity

  • Consider the amount of laundry you typically do and choose a washer with an appropriate washing capacity.
  • Keep in mind that larger capacity units may require more space and use more resources.

Installation and Compatibility

  • Built-in washers and combination washer-dryers require proper installation and compatible plumbing connections.
  • Ensure that your RV’s plumbing and electrical systems can support the washer you’re considering. Consult your RV manufacturer’s guidelines.

Noise Levels and Vibration

  • Noise and vibration can be important considerations in the confined space of an RV.
  • Look for models with quiet operation and vibration reduction features to enhance your comfort while using the washer.

Washing Programs and Features

  • Different washers offer various washing programs and features. Consider your laundry needs and preferences.
  • Look for customizable settings, such as wash cycles, water temperature, and spin speed, to tailor the washing process to your clothes.
  • Some models may offer special cycles for delicate items, heavy loads, or quick washes.

Drying Capability (for Combination Units)

  • If you’re considering a combination washer-dryer, assess the drying capability. Note that drying times may be longer compared to standalone dryers.
  • Ensure the drying process is efficient and that clothes are adequately dried.

Maintenance and Durability

  • Research the durability and reliability of the washer model. Read reviews from other RVers to gauge its performance over time.
  • Consider ease of maintenance, including cleaning filters, emptying lint traps, and addressing potential issues.

Power Source and Voltage:

  • Verify that the washer’s power requirements match your RV’s electrical system.
  • Some washers may operate on standard 120-volt outlets, while others might require 240 volts or a specific adapter.

Budget and Long-Term Value

  • Set a budget for your RV washer purchase, considering the upfront cost, potential installation fees, and any required accessories.
  • Balance your budget with the features, quality, and long-term value the washer provides.

User Reviews and Recommendations

  • Research user reviews, ratings, and recommendations for specific RV washer models.
  • Hearing from other RVers who have used the same model can provide valuable insights into its performance and suitability for your needs.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose an RV washer that aligns with your requirements and enhances your RV lifestyle.

Installation and Maintenance Tips for Your RV Washer

Proper Electrical and Plumbing Setup

  • Read the Manual: Always start by reading the manufacturer’s installation instructions and guidelines specific to your RV washer model.
  • Electrical Requirements: Ensure your RV’s electrical system can handle the washer’s power requirements. If needed, consult a professional electrician to ensure proper wiring and outlets.
  • Plumbing Connections: If you’re installing a built-in washer, connect it to the RV’s water supply and drain system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Consider using flexible hoses to accommodate movement and vibrations.
  • Leveling: Level the washer properly to prevent excessive vibrations during operation. Adjust the feet or use leveling blocks to ensure stability.
  • Secure Placement: Securely anchor the washer to prevent shifting or movement during transit. This is especially important for portable washers.

Cleaning and Maintenance Routine

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the interior of the washer drum and the detergent dispenser regularly. Wipe down the exterior and control panel as needed.
  • Lint Filter and Drain Pump: Clean the lint filter and drain pump to prevent clogs and improve washing efficiency. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for frequency.
  • Use Proper Detergent: Use detergents specifically designed for high-efficiency (HE) washers. Avoid overloading the washer with detergent to prevent excessive sudsing.
  • Monthly Maintenance: Run a maintenance cycle with an empty load and hot water to help clean the interior components.
  • Prevent Mold and Odors: Leave the washer door or lid open when not in use to allow air circulation and prevent mold growth and odors.
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Dealing with Common Issues

  • Vibration and Noise: If the washer vibrates excessively or makes loud noises, check for proper leveling and anchoring. Balance the load to distribute clothes evenly.
  • Leaks: Inspect hoses and connections for leaks regularly. Tighten any loose connections and replace damaged hoses promptly.
  • Clogs and Draining Issues: If the washer doesn’t drain properly, check for clogs in the drain hose or pump. Clear any debris to restore proper drainage.
  • Error Codes: Familiarize yourself with the washer’s error codes and troubleshooting information in the manual. Address issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Professional Assistance: If you encounter complex issues or are unsure about troubleshooting, seek assistance from a qualified RV technician or appliance repair professional.
  • Warranty and Service: Keep track of your warranty period and manufacturer contact information. If you experience major problems, contact the manufacturer or an authorized service center.

Making the Most of Your RV Washer: Laundry Hacks

Water-Saving Techniques

  • Adjust Load Sizes: Avoid washing small loads that use up unnecessary water. Aim to wash larger loads to maximize water efficiency.
  • Use Cold Water: Whenever possible, opt for cold water wash cycles. This not only conserves energy but also reduces the demand on your RV’s water heater.
  • Pre-Treat Stains: Treat stains before washing to minimize the need for extra cycles or rewashing, saving both water and energy.
  • Collect Gray Water: Consider using a gray water collection system to capture the water used for rinsing clothes. This water can be repurposed for tasks like flushing toilets or watering plants.

Choosing the Right Detergents

  • High-Efficiency Detergents: Opt for high-efficiency (HE) detergents designed for use in front-loading and top-loading HE washers. These detergents produce fewer suds, which is essential for RV washers.
  • Concentrated Detergents: Concentrated detergents are compact and require less space, making them ideal for RV living. They also usually require smaller doses per load.
  • Eco-Friendly Options: Consider using environmentally friendly and biodegradable detergents to minimize the impact on the environment.

Maximizing Load Efficiency

  • Sort Clothes Efficiently: Sort laundry by color and fabric type to optimize wash cycles. This reduces the need for separate loads and saves water.
  • Combine Loads: If you have multiple loads of similar colors or fabrics, consider combining them to make the most of each wash cycle.
  • Multi-Task Washing: Wash items like dish towels, cleaning rags, and small rugs along with your clothes to maximize each load.
  • Pre-Soak When Necessary: If you have heavily soiled items, pre-soak them before washing to improve cleaning efficiency.
  • Air Dry Whenever Possible: Take advantage of natural air drying when the weather permits. This reduces the need for using the dryer function of combination units and saves energy.

Eco-Friendly Laundry Solutions for RV Travelers

Using Biodegradable Detergents

  • Choose Eco-Friendly Brands: Opt for biodegradable and environmentally-friendly laundry detergents. Look for products labeled as “biodegradable,” “plant-based,” or “eco-friendly.”
  • Phosphate-Free Detergents: Select detergents that are free of phosphates and other harmful chemicals. These detergents are better for the environment and reduce the negative impact on water systems.
  • Low-Suds Formulas: Use low-suds or HE (high-efficiency) detergents to minimize the amount of excess foam and suds generated during the wash cycle. This is especially important for RV washers with limited water capacity.
  • Proper Dosage: Follow the recommended dosage instructions on the detergent packaging. Using too much detergent can lead to more suds and potential issues with rinsing.

Harnessing Solar Power for Washing

  • Solar-Powered Washers: Some RVers have set up solar-powered washing systems, where they use solar panels to generate electricity for their washer’s operation. This reduces reliance on traditional power sources.
  • Solar Water Heating: Utilize solar water heaters to warm the water needed for laundry. This can reduce the energy consumption associated with heating water using traditional methods.
  • Time Laundry with Sunlight: Time your laundry cycles to coincide with sunny days. This way, you can take advantage of available sunlight to power your RV’s electrical systems, including the washer.
  • Invest in Portable Solar Panels: Consider investing in portable solar panels that you can set up at your campsite to charge your RV’s batteries and power your appliances, including the washer.
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Expert Advice on Extending the Lifespan of Your RV Washer

Regular Inspections and Servicing

  • Scheduled Maintenance: Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Regular servicing can help identify and address potential issues before they escalate.
  • Inspect Hoses and Connections: Periodically check hoses, water inlet, and drain connections for leaks, cracks, or signs of wear. Replace any damaged components promptly.
  • Clean Lint Filters and Drains: Regularly clean lint filters, drain pumps, and other components that can become clogged. Clogs can strain the washer’s motor and lead to malfunctions.
  • Check Seals and Gaskets: Inspect door seals and gaskets for signs of mold, mildew, or wear. Keeping these components clean and dry can prevent leaks and prolong their lifespan.

Avoiding Overloading and Imbalanced Loads

  • Follow Load Guidelines: Abide by the manufacturer’s recommended load capacity for your RV washer. Overloading can strain the motor and other components, leading to premature wear.
  • Balance Loads: Ensure you distribute clothes evenly in the drum to prevent imbalanced loads. Imbalance can cause excessive vibration, potentially damaging the washer’s internal mechanisms.
  • Separate Heavily Soiled Items: Wash heavily soiled items separately or in smaller loads. This prevents excessive strain on the washer and ensures thorough cleaning.
  • Use Correct Cycle Settings: Select appropriate wash cycles and settings for the type of fabric and level of dirtiness. Using the correct settings helps avoid unnecessary wear on the machine.
  • Inspect and Tighten Bolts: Periodically check and tighten any bolts, nuts, or fasteners on the washer. Vibrations during operation can loosen these connections over time.
  • Transportation and Storage: If your RV washer is portable, secure it properly during transportation to prevent shifting and potential damage. When not in use, store it in a secure location to prevent damage from jostling during travel.

Common Misconceptions about RV Washer

Misconception: All RV Washers are the Same

One of the most significant misconceptions is that all RV washers are identical. In reality, there are various types of RV washers, including portable compact washers, built-in units, combination washer-dryers, and hand-cranked washers, each with its own features and benefits.

Misconception: RV Washers are as Powerful as Household Washers

Some people assume that RV washers can handle the same size of loads and level of cleaning power as household washing machines. RV washers are typically smaller and may have lower capacity and power, so it’s important to adjust your expectations accordingly.

Misconception: RV Washers Use the Same Amount of Water as Home Washers

RV washers are designed to be more water-efficient due to the limited freshwater supply in an RV. Some people mistakenly think that RV washers use the same amount of water as standard home washers, which isn’t the case.

Misconception: Portable Washers are Less Effective: While portable washers may be smaller and have manual fill and drain systems, they can still effectively clean your clothes. Many modern portable washers offer efficient cleaning cycles, making them a viable option for RV travelers.

Misconception: Combination Washer-Dryers Dry Clothes Quickly: Combination washer-dryers can dry clothes, but the drying process usually takes longer compared to standalone dryers. Some people assume that these units provide rapid drying, which can lead to disappointment if expectations aren’t managed.

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Misconception: RV Washers Don’t Need Maintenance: All appliances require maintenance, and RV washers are no exception. Some RVers might believe that these compact units are maintenance-free, but regular cleaning, filter checks, and servicing are essential for their proper function and longevity.

Misconception: RV Washers are Costly to Operate: While there are upfront costs associated with purchasing and installing RV washers, they can save money over time by reducing or eliminating the need to use laundromats or campground facilities. Proper usage and conservation practices can also help manage costs.

Misconception: RV Washers Can Handle Any Type of Fabric: RV washers may have limited washing programs compared to household machines. It’s important to check the washer’s capabilities and follow care instructions for different fabrics to avoid damaging delicate items.

RV Washer – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use a regular household washer in my RV?

While it’s technically possible, regular household washers are not designed for the specific needs and constraints of RVs. They are larger, heavier, and often require more water and power than an RV can provide. It’s recommended to use a washer specifically designed for RVs to ensure proper operation and efficiency.

2. How much water does an RV washer typically use?

The water usage of an RV washer varies depending on the model and type. Portable compact washers generally use around 5 to 15 gallons per load, while built-in models and combination washer-dryers might use slightly more. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for water usage to avoid straining your RV’s water supply.

3. Do combination washer-dryers perform well?

Combination washer-dryers can perform well for washing clothes, but the drying process may take longer compared to standalone dryers. Some users find the drying efficiency of combination units to be lower than traditional dryers, so managing expectations is important.

4. Can I install an RV washer myself?

Installation requirements vary based on the type of RV washer and your RV’s setup. Portable units might be easier to set up, while built-in units and combination units may require plumbing and electrical expertise. It’s recommended to follow manufacturer instructions and, if needed, consult with professionals for proper installation.

5. Are there any space-saving alternatives to traditional RV washers?

Yes, portable compact washers and hand-cranked washers are space-saving alternatives to built-in or combination units. These options are designed to be more compact and easily storable.

6. Can I use campground water hookups for my RV washer?

Yes, you can use campground water hookups for your RV washer, but make sure your RV’s plumbing is properly set up to connect the washer to the campground’s water supply.

7. What should I do if my RV washer doesn’t drain properly?

Check for clogs in the drain hose, pump, or lint filter. Make sure the hose isn’t kinked or obstructed. If the problem persists, consult your RV washer’s manual or consider seeking professional assistance.

8. How can I prevent mold and odors in my RV washer?

To prevent mold and odors, leave the washer door or lid open when not in use to allow air circulation. Clean the drum, detergent dispenser, and door seal regularly, and avoid leaving damp clothes in the washer for extended periods.

9. Are there any special detergents I need to use?

It’s recommended to use high-efficiency (HE) and environmentally-friendly detergents in your RV washer. These detergents produce fewer suds and are better suited for the washer’s water-saving capabilities.

10. Can I use my RV washer while driving?

It’s generally not recommended to use your RV washer while driving. The vibrations and movements while the vehicle is in motion could damage the washer or create a safety hazard. It’s best to use the washer when the RV is parked and stable.

In conclusion, having an RV washer can significantly enhance your travel experience. It offers convenience, cost savings, and flexibility, allowing you to do laundry on your terms.

From portable compact units to built-in options, there’s a washer to fit every RV lifestyle. Remember, proper maintenance and mindful usage are key to maximizing its lifespan.

Explore eco-friendly practices, choose biodegradable detergents, and harness solar power for a greener journey.

By making the most of your RV washer and dispelling common misconceptions, you’ll enjoy clean clothes and added comfort on your road adventures. Happy travels and happy laundering!